Ethnic Affairs office officially launched

  • George Hawkins
Ethnic Affairs

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Ethnic Affairs Minister George Hawkins today formally launched the Office of Ethnic Affairs at a function at Parliament.

The office, which opened at the start of the year, is responsible for providing policy advice to the government and keeping ethnic communities informed on issues relevant to them.

Helen Clark and George Hawkins said the Labour-Alliance Government was the first to appoint a Minister for Ethnic Affairs.

"By appointing a Minister for Ethnic Affairs and establishing a stand-alone government agency, we have demonstrated a commitment to our growing ethnic communities.

"The government has put significant resources into initiatives for ethnic communities.

"Projects include a sum of $674,000 for piloting support services to help new migrants settle in New Zealand, more than $560 000 into refugee resettlement support, an $11.8 million package to retrain overseas doctors and a $6.6 million increase in English as a Second Language (ESOL) funding over the next four years.

"We are working to ensure opportunities exists for all New Zealanders whether they were born in this country or have decided to make New Zealand their home," Helen Clark and George Hawkins said.