Multiculturalism smells so good!

The other weekend I was at the local night market under Glenfield mall. For those who haven’t experienced it, it’s hard to describe. There are dozens of food stalls from a massive array of ethnic and cultural groups – Chinese, Japanese, Hungarian, French, kiwi BBQ, American hot dogs and donuts, Spanish churros are the ones I can remember. The smell was amazing (although sometimes a little confusing) and the hum from the crowd showed that the food was excellent too.

It reminded me how lucky we are to live in a country where we have so many options. Where else can you get such a wide range of groups in one place?

Our multicultural country is one we should be proud of and encourage.

Nearly a month ago, UnitedFuture launched our ethnic affairs and immigration policy. It’s progressive and fair, it acknowledges that we are multicultural (for the better).

We have an amazing country, why would we not want to share it with others.

See the website for details, but here’s a quick summary of the points that grab my attention;

  • Retain and reform the Office of the Race Relations Commissioner
  • Provide better training to NGOs, health providers, and Government agencies to help them interact with ethnic communities in culturally appropriate ways.
  • Increase the current refugee quota to 1,000.
  • Work with all ethnic communities to develop initiatives and programmes better support the elderly in ethnic communities.
  • Increase resources for ESOL programmes to ensure that our newest residents can participate fully in education and life in New Zealand.
  • Establish a one-stop Business Development Agency to help migrants in setting up their own businesses.
  • Ensure that advice and information is available to businesses to support them in hiring migrants to fill skill shortages, and support migrants with workshops and training to learn about the Kiwi work environment.

When I head back to the night market this weekend to try something else, I’ll remember how lucky we are to have such a rich and varied country.

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