Census proves need for immigrant help in Southland

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2013

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Venture Southland will use the latest census data to back up its wrangle with Immigration New Zealand.

Enterprise and strategic projects group manager Steve Canny vented his anger at a proposed settlement support restructuring during a Venture Southland joint committee meeting this week.

A national review of the Settlement Support programme would have a fulltime, Southland-based settlement co-ordinator replaced with a national, face-to-face settlement information service, eight retention specialists throughout the country, phone and email support.

2013 Census data released this week shows Southland has become more ethnically diverse.

Mr Canny plans to show an alternative regional partnership model to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment when a representative comes to Southland.

It was not known when that would be.

At this week's joint committee meeting, the region's mayors offered letters of support for the alternative proposal.

Venture Southland enterprise services manager Alistair Adam said the census results made it clear there were more migrants in the city and Southland region.

Venture Southland had been trying to educate about the trend for the past five years and it was good to have it validated, he said. However, integration, mostly in rural areas, would still be a challenge for migrants, especially if the restructuring went ahead.

Migrants needed to feel part of the community and to be supported, he said.

The census data showed the growth in migrants was spread across the urban and rural areas.

"It will be a challenge for just one person to cover such a large geographical area and it is important for immigration to recognise this." 

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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