Office of Indian Consul in Auckland raises questions

Veer Khar

With almost 80% of Kiwi Indians residing in Auckland, we indeed need the extension of the ‘High Commission of India’ office in Auckland.

This is not only to facilitate some basic services but also to receive various delegations when required.

People of Indian origin in Auckland have been raising this issue with India’s External Affairs Ministry in Delhi and with various diplomats who have served as High Commissioners in New Zealand over many years.

Finally, the eagle seems to have landed.

There are Consul Offices of many countries in Auckland and in many cases, the post of Honorary Consul has been thrusted onto a person of high integrity, a role model, an achiever with a clean image.

Scrutiny begins

Indian Government, hopefully after due diligence, has appointed an Honorary Consul in Auckland and community welcomes the move.

To ensure that the current scam-less Indian governance continues abroad, a magnifying glass scrutiny from the wider stakeholders has also started.

It is imperative on the holder of this esteemed office to stay above board.

All of us want to be part of the rising India in the true sense.

Conflict of interest

It is unfortunate that the very first move to locate the office in Onehunga in the same office as Indian Weekender does not pass the test of staying clear of conflicts of interest – even though a perceived one.

Is this not tilting the bias towards the Consul’s owned and operated weekly?

The Indian Diaspora in New Zealand is blessed with a much better organised setup as compared to many other countries.

Associations ignored

The New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) and its branches have a history of nearly 100 years.

Today, there are massive setups in Auckland Central and Auckland South that could have facilitated the office of the Honorary Consul in a public domain with adequate parking and more appropriate location.

Even a request to this effect was put forward well in advance.

But it seems that the old tendency of bureaucracy to pay no heed and value friendship above duty prevailed.

But it will need a shakeup.

A correction in time is highly warranted.

Veer Khar is the Immediate Past President of Manukau Indian Association, renamed last year as Indian Association of New Zealand.

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