Immigration policy review by the New Zealand Productivity Commission underlining a potential change to relationship with Māori is a welcome step, Pancha Narayanan, President of New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils says.
The Government has asked the Commission to review the immigration system of the country. Earlier, the Government announced "once-in-a generation reset" of the immigration system mid-May 2021.
“We applaud this new effort to relationship building with Māori within the immigration system,” he adds.
“We provided an 8-point proviso to the New Zealand Government in 2020. Among other recommendations, we emphasised the recognition of Huarahi Hou (A new pathway to Te Tiriti based multicultural communities) as the mainstream approach to welcoming migrants and former refugees in Aotearoa, this includes:
- Integration of tikanga Māori and whakawhanaungatanga (building relationships) within Aotearoa’s settlement strategy for migrants and former refugees.
- Local Government New Zealand to develop Treaty-based multicultural strategies, and implementation plans with all city and district councils.
“The review of immigration policy must also consider the need to also create space for non-Western models of understanding and science in Aotearoa’s social welfare, academic and health spheres.” Pancha Narayanan said.
“Multicultural New Zealand as a peak body in New Zealand has been calling for this change since its inception in 1989. We have always emphasised stronger relationship with tangata whenua. This announcement about the review of Immigration Policy demonstrates that the united wisdom of the 24 Multicultural Councils has finally been vindicated.” Pancha Narayanan said.
Multicultural New Zealand’s 60 plus touch points around the country are known to pack a punch bigger than their weight for community well-being and social connections.
On the 17th of April 2021, on their Hikoi to Waitangi by nearly 50 rangatira (community leaders) from this network made the resolution to go public that it is a serious concern that this successful and durable community-based network that forms the foundation of a cultural infrastructure for New Zealand remains seriously underfunded and under-resourced. This leadership hui unanimously agreed that the situation continues to underline the underwhelming settlement outcomes in communities around the country