Housing, employment worst for bigotry
"I go to places now when I'm the only person born in New Zealand"HELEN HARVEY
Employment and housing are the main areas of discrimination for new migrants, the Race Relations Commissioner said.
Dame Susan Devoy was in New Plymouth yesterday speaking to 100 people at a breakfast organised by the New Plymouth Soroptimists.
After breakfast she told the Taranaki Daily News one in four people in New Zealand were born overseas.
"I go to places now when I'm the only person born in New Zealand. Of course what it looks like in Auckland looks different in New Plymouth, so a one size fits all approach doesn't fit."
Work is one of the biggest issues, she said.
"A lot come to New Zealand with work already, but we continue to see complaints coming into the Human Rights Commission about employment."
Most of the complaints were from the Asian community, which included the Indian subcontinent, followed by Maori and Pacific, she said.
It starts at the recruitment process, through to the interview.
"And many don't have the ability to complain, so they suffer in silence."
And Maori and Pacific and some migrant groups are over represented in negative housing and education stats, she said.
Housing is another area where problems occur, particularly in Christchurch where the rebuild has seen a massive influx of migrant workers. "In those situations racial discrimination occurs. If you have 50 people lining up to rent your house migrants are often put at the end of the queue."
What's really critical is to acknowledge that racism exists and actually putting in plans to address it, she said.
"We need to look at diversity as an opportunity and all opportunities present challenges. We have fine race relations in New Zealand, but it is by no means perfect."
New Plymouth Soroptimists president Judith Bennett said the breakfast would raise about $3000, which would go towards educational scholarships for women and counselling for vulnerable Taranaki children.
All of the food was donated, members did the work and any expenses were offset by the raffle, she said.
- Taranaki Daily News
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