Over the past few months, I have focused on issues that affect ethnic communities under the National Government.
These include the rise in the ethnic unemployment rate, the 90-day ‘fire-at-will’ law and reduced access to union support and migrants who are required to wait two years before receiving a student allowance and student loan.
I recently called on the Government to better represent our diverse community.
Labour’s vision for the future is about creating fairness at work with increasing incomes, better jobs and helping hard-working families get ahead.
Under the National Government, the latest ‘Household Labour Force Survey’ for the June quarter showed that unemployment amongst ethnic communities soared from 10.9% in 2009 to 13.8%
The average New Zealand worker is worse off by more than $50 a week, compared to an average Australian worker since the 2008 election in New Zealand.
These statistics are not good and I believe it is vital that ethnic communities are supported in establishing and maintaining their businesses and securing long-term employment so that families can look towards a brighter future.
National introduced the 90-Day ‘Fire-at-will’ law, stripped workers off their rights for meal breaks and scrapped the Pay Equity Unit.
It will soon announce an attack on the ‘Holidays Act’ and is about to remove the right of workers to have access to union representation
Ethnic and migrant communities deserve to be consulted before taking workers’ rights away from them. With increasing diversity in our workplaces, it is important that the views of migrants are taken into account before making decisions.
For example, there is potential for some employers to exploit international students, who are allowed to work 20 hours a week, by offering them the minimum wage and then getting rid of them at their will.
I also believe that everyone has a right to education.
I do not agree that migrants have to wait two years before receiving a student allowance and student loan. Many families have young adults eager to study to help brighten their future.
I was disappointed that the Government did no acknowledge Asian and Ethnic representation in its ‘Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Bill.’
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson asked only the Maori and Pacific Island sectors to be involved on the Arts Council Committee.
I have asked the Minister to make changes to the Bill and make Arts Council Committee more diverse, representing various ethnic communities.
This is the kind of initiative the Government should be using to improve representation for ethnic people.
Dr Ashraf Choudhary is Member of Parliament on Labour List and the Party’s Associate Spokesman for Ethnic Affairs. The above article is exclusive to Indian Newslink (c)
Labour Leader Phil Goff and his Party will
Ø Create a high-wage, high-skill, job-rich economy
Ø Grow skills and smart business
Ø Help hard-working families get ahead
Ø Have fair employment laws
Ø Increase the minimum wage
Ø Improve protection for wage and salary earners
Ø Ensure Kiwis own our future.