Multicultural New Zealand (MNZ), the oldest pan-ethnic organisation, with 25 regional multicultural councils around the country, strongly condemns the recent calls made for the abolition of demographic ministries.
MNZ does not support the existence of any population-based ministry being made an election issue. MNZ President Pancha Narayanan observes “I see no purpose outside of politics, to push down a ministry that has enhanced our awareness and understandings of many of the people in New Zealand.” MNZ’s view is that remarks like this are intentional vote-grabbing tactics and do not hold much weight behind them.
MNZ was the first community-based organisation in New Zealand to call for a Ministry for Ethnic Communities, since 1989. Forecasts by credible economists anticipate close to 100,000 immigrants per year for the next several years as New Zealand fills employment gaps in several industries. This means community groups and the country’s social infrastructure will be strained and overstretched. Government partnerships with reliable community groups will be more necessary than ever.
On the contrary, MNZ calls for the Ministry for Ethnic Communities to be further enhanced, empowered and better funded. “We expect the Ministry to be founded on Tiriti-based multicultural values,” says Narayanan. “And to build trusting relationships with senior community organisations as the basis of their operations and strategy.”
MNZ has always called religious matters to be dealt with separately from a population-based ministry. Apart from this MNZ will be pushing for the continuation of an enhanced and empowered Ministry for Ethnic Communities. This year’s incoming government can expect to see this sentiment as part of MNZ’s proviso later this year.
MNZ as a community organisation with reach of up to 750,000 people on relevant issues, recognises the value of community-government partnership and therefore sees the benefit of a well-resourced and empowered ministry. Contributions made by ethnic communities to New Zealand's social, cultural, and economic prosperity are vast and growing. "Instead of abolishing the Ministry for Ethnic Communities, we ought to be working towards strengthening its mandate and resources,” Narayanan says. “Ensuring that all New Zealanders can flourish in a society that celebrates diversity, fosters inclusion, and upholds the principles of fairness and equality without fear of discrimination.”