Wellington, May 21, 2019
The Government’s Wellbeing Budget is investing in New Zealand’s long-term future by supporting the Office of Ethnic Communities in promoting social cohesion, inclusiveness and diversity, Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa has said.
“The Government is committed to the wellbeing of New Zealand’s ethnic communities, and we are providing ongoing support to our Muslim families and brothers and sisters in the wake of the 15 March terror attacks,” she said, speaking at Iftar currently being held in Parliament Buildings in Wellington.
Keeping communities connected
Ms Salesa said that it is crucial for ethnically diverse and multi-faith communities to be connected, engaged and supported – and know that New Zealand continues to be a peaceful country.
“The Wellbeing Budget provides $9.4 million over four years to strengthen our ethnic communities. This follows an additional $1.8 million for the ethnic communities portfolio announced in April,” she said.
Ms Salesa said that funding will support ethnic communities to develop and lead their own initiatives and that an increase in grant funding will help programmes that promote leadership, culture and connectedness.
Office of Ethnic Communities
“In the last nine years, the Office of Ethnic Communities (OEC) has been limited in doing its role. We are changing that by giving the OEC the resources it needs to perform even better than before. The Office currently has 22 staff members across New Zealand. This new funding will support 15 additional staff across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch,” she said.
Ms Salesa said that the boost in staffing resources will improve the ability of the OEC to proactively address issues affecting ethnic communities throughout New Zealand.
It also protects the vital link between ethnic communities and the Government.
“The OEC has a broad range of responsibilities. Among other things, it holds local and national meetings with ethnic communities on topics ranging from improving safety, preventing crime, countering racism and discrimination. This initiative is an important part of achieving the Government’s plan to build healthier, safer and more connected communities,” Ms Salesa said.
The OEC is a conduit between the Government and New Zealand’s ethnic communities. It provides on-the-ground culturally appropriate support to ethnic communities nationally.
It provides policy advice to the Government informed by its community engagement team, which work closely with communities on-the-ground.