Ethnic communities deserve more than tokenism

Published: Wed 6 Dec 2006 11:35 AM
Pansy Wong MP
National Party Ethnic Affairs Spokeswoman
6 December 2006
Ethnic communities deserve more than tokenism
National Party Ethnic Affairs spokeswoman Pansy Wong welcomes the latest statistics from the 2006 Census which show that the ethnic population is now at more than 10%.
“Ethnic communities enrich our society. They bring vibrancy, diversity, enterprise and expertise to our culture.
“These figures confirm the trends we’ve seen over the past few years and are a warning to Labour that it needs to engage with our ethnic communities. That means more than visiting festivals and eating the food.
“The changing shape of our communities requires constant maintenance rather than lip service.
“Labour likes to tell everyone they take ‘ethnic perspectives’ into account but that’s a sham. This lofty, idealistic term means nothing because it isn’t translated into the day-to-day workings of the Labour Government.”
Mrs Wong says this week’s report showing high levels of pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases among international students should ring alarm bells among policy-makers.
“The code of pastoral care has been a dog’s breakfast. It took far too long, and far too big a drop in international student earnings for Labour to wake up and smell the coffee. These kids deserved better.”
Mrs Wong says New Zealand is crying out for the skills that new migrants can bring, but once in the country they’re largely forgotten by Labour.
“The Labour Government sees all ethnic communities as recent migrants which explains the one-size fits all approach and the confusion surrounding the roles of Migrant Settlement Services and Office of Ethnic Affairs.
“These latest census figures send the message loud and clear to Labour that our ethnic communities should be taken more seriously.”

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