Wellington based Federation of Multicultural Councils has said that the growing ethnic diversity warranted re-establishment of Ethnic Affairs Ministry.
The Federation’s case would be strengthened with the Census figures released last fortnight revealing the high growth of Asian population.
According to Statistics New Zealand, the total number of persons identified as Asian rose by 11.8% to reach 471,711 as per the latest Census (2013).
Federation President Tayo Agunlejika said that the continuing increase in the number of New Zealanders of Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and other ethnicity emphasises the need to upgrade the Office of Ethnic Affairs to a full Ministry with increased resources.
“The support for ethnic communities at the Government level should increase to ensure effective settlement, integration and participation of migrants from outside Europe and the Pacific and to let the voice of New Zealand’s growing ethnic communities be heard loud and clear in Government,” he said.
Mr Agunlejika said that ethnic communities now account for about 15% of the population. Asian New Zealanders have seen the fastest growth, increasing from 6.6% in 2001 to 9.2% in 2006 and 11.8% in 2013.
“We have argued for some time that ethnic communities deserve greater attention and support from the Government and that the Office of Ethnic Affairs currently has insufficient status and resources for this purpose,
“An Ethnic Affairs Ministry should not only be a strong advocate within the Government for ethnic communities but also have the resources to support our communities to maintain their cultures and languages, and to engage with the wider community and government”, he said.