Thursday, August 11, 2022

Milestone year for ethnic communities ministry

The Ministry for Ethnic Communities marked its first anniversary on 1 July.

Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Priyanca Radhakrishnan said the creation of the Ministry meant ethnic communities finally have a Chief Executive whose sole focus is representing their concerns and aspirations at the “top tables” of the public service.

“This brings the voices of these diverse communities and their lived experiences to the fore of decision making processes,” said Minister Radhakrishnan.

“Led by Chief Executive Mervin Singham, the Ministry has focused on areas that ethnic communities told us were important. These include employment, government services that are responsive to the needs of ethnic communities, financial support for community initiatives and the response to COVID-19.”

During its first year, the Ministry established a Graduate Programme that has seen skilled graduates from ethnic communities placed in policy roles across government agencies.

This has provided them with a meaningful first employment opportunity and enhanced diversity in policy making and the design of government services, the Minister said.

“I am committed to improving ethnic representation on public sector boards. The Ministry’s Nominations Service maintains a database of qualified, ethnically diverse people who are seeking an appointment to a public sector board. The Ministry is now working with other partners such as the Super Diversity Institute and Leadership NZ to expand this pool of ethnic nominees and help us create a sustainable pipeline of diverse governance candidates for appointment to state sector boards.”

“Following a substantial increase in funding, in the year to date, the Ethnic Communities Development Fund disbursed $4.2 million in support of 310 community projects and initiatives that helped celebrate different cultures and strengthened social cohesion.

“The Ministry’s work to support the government’s response to COVID-19 included working with the Ministry of Health to implement a vaccine roll out for and led by ethnic communities. This included supporting communities with translated material, running a series of community hui and commissioning a media campaign in ten languages. In addition, the Ministry administered $4 million in funding for community initiatives to support efforts to increase vaccination within their communities.

“The Ministry has had a successful first year and this is just the beginning. There is a lot more to do. This Government wants to create a more cohesive Aotearoa New Zealand where everyone feels safe, valued, heard and can participate fully,” said Ms Radhakrishnan.

“The work of the Ministry will help take us there.”

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