Statistics New Zealand recently reported their findings which told us that a quarter of New Zealand's population could be Asian in 20 years' time. This gave statistical evidence of what we see around us daily -the changing face of New Zealand.
In response to these findings by a respected agency -the government of the day, hopelessly out of touch with reality and clearly unwelcoming of migrants select committee dominated by government MPs went ahead and recommended that the legislative process should not proceed and the bill that would have required all primary and intermediate schools to offer the second language from among ten priority languages should stop.
It was another change of position from this government, as they had previously supported this bill initiated by former National M.P Nikki Kaye. This provided another disappointing example of how this government does not want to embrace wholeheartedly the diversity and enrichment of societal culture that migrants bring to the country.
Why cannot the children of law-abiding immigrants who make positive contributions to the economy be allowed to learn the native language of their culture? Is it not the purpose of language to make us well-rounded individuals?
Ethnic languages make us aware of our roots and help us better understand the origins of our existence in today's globalized world.
This government has already made it very clear that they are not welcoming of immigrants and their contributions to this country through their recently announced ill-thought of immigration policy. Now cancelling the provisions for children to learn and study second language tuition from among ten priority languages is further proof that immigrants and their culture and language have no priority in the long-term planning for this government. This Labour government provides more example of how power can make parties arrogant and forget what they claimed they stood for till very recently.
In many ways, this decision is typical of the Labour government. They are an inward-looking regime that has no plans for the future of this country. When residents of the country stuck overseas have no idea of when can they hope to return to New Zealand and reunite with their families, let alone people on work, open and student visas; how can families expect that their bundles of joy will be able to be multilingual in languages of their choice? Is it the job of governments to felicitate and not to dictate? In this case, the choice of languages a child can hope to learn at School.
Migrants are leaving a strong impression and proving to be big achievers in all walks of Kiwi life. Whether it be business, academics, or sport -they are adding significant value to these fields. In return, this government has clearly demonstrated that moving forward, new immigrants and people in the country on student and work visas will find it next to impossible to make this country their home; and for their children to learn languages that would have helped them form strong and culturally significant ties with their country of origin. A diverse country that welcomes hardworking people with skills who want to stay connected to their roots -unfortunately, this does not look like a possibility till 2023, when people will have a vote to express their voice at the elections.
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