Next steps in Government’s ongoing work with March 15 survivors

The shuhada (martyrs), families, survivors and all those affected by the terrorist attack on two Christchurch Mosques are being acknowledged as the second anniversary approaches.

An official remembrance service will take place this Saturday March 13 in Christchurch.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the victims, survivors, families and all those affected by the horrific attack,” Lead Coordination Minister for the Government’s response to the Royal Commission Andrew Little says.

“We are also taking this opportunity to share details of the Government’s ongoing commitment to working with the victims and those affected,” Andrew Little said.

As part of that, Andrew Little and Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, have completed the first round of 33 hui with Muslim, pan-ethnic and multi-faith communities across New Zealand.

“We are thankful to all those who took part in the hui and offered their time, insights and feedback and we will continue to engage with communities and groups as this work progresses,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan says.

Communities’ priorities expressed at many of the hui included:

  • The education sector plays a critical role in contributing to a socially cohesive New Zealand
  • There are continued concerns over the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s finding that no individual or specific Government agency was at fault for the terrorist attack
  • Safety within New Zealand for those from Muslim and other ethnic communities remains a concern
  • The Government needs to be accountable and responsive to communities
  • The media can perpetuate negative stereotypes towards ethnic and faith communities, and this should be addressed
  • Hate speech, hate crime and hate incidents are experienced by many within the community, and legislative reform is an important tool for change
  • Many face barriers in accessing services and discrimination in securing employment
  • Any response needs to be inclusive of all-of-society, and these conversations need to be wider than just within Muslim and other ethnic communities
  • There needs to be continued culturally sensitive health and wellbeing support for communities
  • The Government needs to work in partnership with community organisations to effect true change
  • The public service needs to be committed to diversity and inclusion, and ensure that ethnic and faith voices are heard in policy development

A full summary of the feedback has been published on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website, fulfilling a commitment for early report back to those who attended the hui.

Andrew Little and Priyanca Radhakrishnan have today outlined four initiatives as part of progress made following the release of the Royal Commission’s report in December.

Royal Commission of Inquiry Ethnic and Faith Community Engagement Response Fund

The Government will continue to support communities with the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry Ethnic and Faith Community Engagement Response Fund to help minority ethnic and faith communities engage with Government to inform the Government’s response to the Royal Commission.

This new fund will receive $1 million over three years and will prioritise funding for groups most directly affected by the attack.

The fund can be used to support individual initiatives, as well as building long-term capability within communities.

“A key message to come out of the hui was the need for government to recognise that community representative groups involved in engagement are usually non-profit with unpaid voluntary staff. This fund is about addressing the disparity in resources between community groups and the state. It will support communities to have representatives that can engage as we implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations,” Andrew Little said.

Implementation Oversight Advisory Group

The Implementation Oversight Advisory Group will be a partner in the Government’s response by ensuring timely, effective and accountable implementation of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission’s Report.

Nominations open on March 15 via the DPMC website.

Collective Impact Board

The Collective Impact Board will enable affected whānau of March 15 to guide and advise on services to support their long-term recovery needs. This is in line with recommendations 25 and 26 of the Royal Commission’s report and reflects feedback from the community.

Nominations open to affected whānau for the Collective Impact Board on March 15.

Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme

The Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme will create employment opportunities for graduates and build the diversity of knowledge and experience within the public sector.

This new programme will provide a pathway into the Public Service for skilled graduates from ethnic communities, with the added benefit of bringing broader cultural competency across the Public Sector.

Applications are open now until March 25 for the first intake of the Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme.

Extending the Safer Communities Fund

The Government has extended the Safer Communities Fund, with $3.255 million available to provide a broader range of communities with funding to upgrade and implement security measures intended to reduce the risk of a potential attack and increase their feeling of safety.

Applications are open until May 5.

“The Government’s response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry is a long-term programme of work,” Andrew Little says.

“We are committed to strengthening social cohesion and ensuring that New Zealand is fair and safe for all.”

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