30 June 2008
The Maori Party leader says indigenous people should be involved in forming immigration policy
Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party, addressed the Annual General Meeting for the Ethnic Councils in Wellington on Saturday about immigration policy. Ms Turia believes the Government needs to develop systems for Maori people to help immigrants and refugees settle in to the country and develop positive relationships.
"We need to develop systems for [Maori families and tribes] to help immigrants and refugees in their adjustment to Aotearoa (New Zealand). It was also about developing and valuing reciprocal relationships between Maori and other peoples who call Aotearoa home," she said.
The party leader believes Kaitiakitanga, or guardianship of the welfare of land and people, would benefit from the development of relationships between the Maori people, Pasifika peoples, and overseas immigrants. The welfare of the land is a direct responsibility of the indigenous peoples and New Zealand immigrants, and all cultures need to secure a positive and sustainable future.
"It is about being fluent in who we are – our cultural strength, our cultural heritage, our cultural diversity," said Ms Turia.
Currently, the New Zealand Government is campaigning for more skilled workers to emigrate to New Zealand. Local governments are also applying for an increased quota for workers on temporary visas and working holiday visas to fill the seasonal labour shortages.