A virtual meeting with the Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities

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Discuss, ask and seek clarifications from Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Venkat Raman
Auckland, October 17, 2021

‘Indians Living in Auckland,’ a popular Facebook Group, has organised an online meeting with Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan live on Facebook (and possibly on YouTube) on Friday, October 22, 2021 from 11 am to 11.45 am.

This meeting is being supported by Indian Newslink and hence would also be available on Indian Newslink Facebook Page and Indian Newslink YouTube Channel.

About Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Ms Radhakrishnan is the first-ever person of Indian origin to become a Minister of the Crown in New Zealand. She is also one of the two persons of Indian origin to be elected to Parliament- the other being Dr Gaurav Sharma from Hamilton West), also from Labour Party, in the general election held on October 17, 2020.

Ms Radhakrishnan was elected from the Maungakiekie, a constituency at which she was a List MP (Labour) from 2017 to 2020. She is also Minister for Community and Voluntary Sector and Minister for Youth and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment.

A postgraduate (Master) in Development Studies from Victoria University of Wellington, she worked as a Policy Advisor to former Labour MP (who is the current Mayor of Auckland) Phil Goff, apart from having worked with diverse communities across New Zealand.

She is committed to ensuring that their voices are heard in Parliament and that they are supported to thrive.

The Indian government honoured her with a ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award,’ which was presented to her (on behalf of President Ram Nath Kovind) by India’s High Commissioner at the India Independence Day ceremony held in Auckland on August 15, 2021.

India’s High Commissioner presenting the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award’ to Priyanca Radhakrishnan in Auckland on August 15, 2021 (Photo from Facebook)

Equal Opportunity for all

For her, politics is about choices. She believes that decision-making should be community-led and should lead to better outcomes for everyone, not just a privileged few.

Ms Radhakrishnan strongly believes that everyone, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or socio-economic status, should have the opportunity to live with dignity. That means equitable access to affordable housing, quality education and decent, secure work. It also means that everyone should feel safe both in their homes and on the streets.

Until her appointment as Minister, Ms Radhakrishnan was a Member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network, National Council of Women (Auckland) and UN Women.

She was a Member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee and Deputy Chair of the Social Services & Community Select Committee of Parliament.

Governor-General Patsy Reddy (Right) with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) and Priyanca Radhakrishnan at the Swearing-In Ceremony held at the Government House in Wellington on November 6, 2020
(New Zealand Herald Photo by Mark Mitchell)

About Indians Living In Auckland

Indians Living In Auckland is the largest grouping of the members of the Indian community in Auckland with more than 47,500 members. Munish Bhatt, Rashna Tata and Nitin Suri who are among the moderators, said that in organising the discussion, the Group hopes to foster a discussion on the government’s One-off Pathway to Residency 2021, Covid-19, Border re-opening, Auckland Lockdown, and Vaccination, among others.

“We will shortly provide a link for participants to register. However, we request all participants not to raise political and religious issues, party politics and sensitive matters. Questions should be submitted to the moderators in advance within the time that will be notified with the link. Since the time with the Minister is limited, we will try and cover all the issues that may be raised,” they said.

Participants will also have an opportunity to interact with the Minister and the moderators but they must keep their microphones muted at all times until they are invited to speak, they said.

One-Off Pathway to Residency 2021 Programme

The One-Off Residency Programme announced by Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi on September 30, 2021 was the result of intense work by Immigration New Zealand, with inputs from a few ministers and ministries who are directly connected to migrant communities. The views of the Ministry of Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities was central to the shaping of the ‘Pathway,’ since a majority of the applicants would be from ethnic communities. Ms Radhakrishnan should therefore be credited with the creation of the ‘One-Off Pathway to Residence 2021 Programme, which will benefit about 165,000 people.

Most importantly, the Residency Programme will provide certainty to employers and encourage retention of skills, apart from attracting new talent.

Other issues for discussion

Among the other issues that are of abiding interest for the Indian community are the prospects of the opening of New Zealand’s borders for overseas travel especially during the ensuing holiday season, the possibility of self-isolation upon return rather than being assigned to a MIQ facility, the possibility of visits by relatives and friends from India and other countries and the Vaccination Programme of the New Zealand government.

“Members of our Group and others joining the discussion would be interested in information relating to the New Zealand government’s Vaccination Programme; in particular, the total number of persons fully vaccinated, the percentage, the number of persons who have received the second dose and the number waiting for the first and second doses, along with the details for the Indian community,” the moderators said.

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