Kiwi Indian Policy Forum in Auckland on March 15
More than seven years ago, members of the Indian community in New Zealand felt that despite being significant partners in the country’s progress, they were being sidelined without a single representative in Parliament.
Today, we have three of them, representing two sides of the political spectrum. We would have been happier to see at least one person from Labour making it to the debating chamber. We hope that this will happen in 2017 (Indian Newslink, February 15, 2015).
However, is this what we sought – mere numbers – or do we want something more?
Are we satisfied with our politicians and aspirants to merely attend social events and gleefully post on to their social websites?
We as community should hold them accountable; make them understand from us the real issues, and listen to our views on how to tackle them. Armed with such information, they could be more effective by carrying them to their Party caucuses and through them to the House.
Discussions with the community will provide background information on policies and programmes, which in turn will help our lawmakers to be more effective.
Indian immigrants from India, Fiji, South Asia, Africa and elsewhere have entered a new phase of settlement in New Zealand. From being farmers, factory workers and small corner shop owners, they today excel as doctors, medical specialists, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, social scientists, and IT specialists.
However, it is still a huge struggle for many of them to break through the barriers of uneven playing fields. Why do we see a young Kiwi Indian, with a master’s degree in structural engineering, doing a graveyard shift in a supermarket or petrol station?
True, many of us have done well but should we not lift the lot of our fellow Indians and ensure that they have at least equal opportunities?
Let us meet, discuss some of these issues and help our politicians to draw up an agenda so that they can at least make honest attempts to ensure that the goals and aspirations of our people can be fulfilled if given the appropriate avenues.
The ‘Kiwi Indian Policy Forum,’ comprising Presidents of all Kiwi Indian organisations,
community stalwarts, life members of the New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA), Chairpersons of committees, intelligentsia panel, Kiwi Indian MPs and the steering committee of facilitators is ready to set the vision of empowerment.
The Forum also aims to set targets for community organisations and outline the answerability and feedback process for support systems namely the government, the relevant High Commissions and funding agencies.
A meeting of the Forum will be held on Sunday, March 15, 2015 at Ellerslie Event Centre, 80 Ascot Avenue, Remuera, Auckland at 5 pm.
Veer Khar is the President of the Manukau Indian Association and the Chairperson of the Subcommittee organising the Forum.
Those interested in attending the Forum should call him on 022-1971916 on or before 5 pm on March 14, 2015. Email: email@example.com
Political Reflection: File photo of the ‘Political Conclave’ held in Auckland on July 28, 2014 with Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Judith Collins, Phil Goff (all sitting MPs) and former MP Dr Rajen Prasad.