Ardern pledges to end discrimination

“But we are looking for long-term solutions”
Venkat Raman
Auckland, May 26, 2018
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has pledged to enhance ‘Inclusion’ as one of the priorities of her government and promote the concept of ‘true diversity.’
Inaugurating the first ‘Safer Communities Ministerial Forum at the AUT South Campus in Manukau, Auckland about about an hour ago, she said that ending all forms of discrimination, family violence and family harm in our homes and bullying in our schools and work places is also being addressed as immediate issues of attention.

Greatest Asset

“Diversity is our greatest asset. We are celebrated globally for promoting multiculturalism and for fostering peace, harmony and tolerance,” she said.

However, Ms Ardern warned against complacency, saying that ‘there is a lot of work to do.’

“We must work together to get rid of all forms of discrimination and violence. We need to revisit our Criminal Justice System. My government is addressing all issues to improve our country as truly inclusive.

“Therefore, this Ministerial Forum is very significant,” Ms Arden said.

Changing Demography
Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa, who is hosting the Forum with the Office of Ethnic Communities, New Zealand Police and the Justice Ministry, emphasised the importance of dialogue against the changing demography of New Zealand.

“The population of ethnic communities is rising rapidly and according to estimates, they will account for more than 22% of all New Zealanders. We need to prepare ourselves for the changes coming over the years” she said.

Ms Salesa said that as well as social inclusion, it is important to make our homes, offices and public place.

Criminal Justice Reform

Justice Minister Andrew Little said that it was time to consider changes to the justice system.

“Are long-term sentences and punitive measures really working? Statistics tell us that 37% of those prison have mental issues, 47% have some kind of addiction and more than 77% were themselves victims of crime. And yet we have done nothing to find solutions to these” he said.
Me Little said that his Ministry was working at finding solutions to the long-neglected drivers of crime with other law-enforcing authorities, ministries and the public.

We will be conducting a ‘Criminal Justice Forum’ in August this year, but did not elaborate.

The Forum is currently hearing speeches by main panelists including Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon, New Zealand Indian Central Association President Bhikhu Bhana, Otara/Papatoetoe Local Board Member and former Labour MP Dr Ashraf Chaudhary and Hamilton based Chartered Accountant and community leader Anjum Rahman.

Labour MP Raymond Huo is the Panel Chairman.

The day-long Forum will later listen to two panels discussing ‘Small Business Crime Prevention’ and ‘Partnership between New Zealand Police and Communities.’

Earlier, Ms Ardern and other Ministers and officials were accorded a traditional welcome at which Salvation Army National Director Gregory Fortuin.

Photo Caption:
1. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking at the Forum
2. Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa
3. Justice Minister Andrew Little
4. Main Panelists (from left) Raymond Ho, Anjum Rahman, Dr Ashraf Choudhary, Bhikhu Bhana and Meng Foon 5. Gregory Fortuin

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa

Justice Minister Andrew Little

Gregory Fortuin

Many thanks.
Best wishes and regards
Venkat.

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