The New Zealand government has announced a raft of initiatives in its response to the recommendations to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Terrorist Attack on the mosque in Christchurch last year.
In a joint statement by various ministers, the government said these actions will “promote inclusion for all New Zealanders while recognising and responding to the value [that] diversity brings to our communities”.
Among the new initiatives will be: the creation of a Ministry for Ethnic Communities and the establishment of an Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme; establishing a National Centre of Excellence to focus on diversity, social cohesion, and preventing and countering violent extremism; starting a New Zealand Police programme Te Raranga (The Weave) to respond to hate crime and hate incidents; strengthening the capacity of the Human Rights Commission; and Implementing early intervention to prevent terrorism and violent extremism through the MultiiAgency Coordination and Intervention Programme.
Assistance for victims’ families
There will also be additional assistance for the families of the 51 people killed at the mosque and others affected by the attack.
“Some groups within our communities are not able to access the same opportunities as others, and experience discrimination, racism and risks to their safety. This Government is committed to ensuring all people feel safe, that they belong, are valued and can contribute,” said ethnic communities minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan.
She added that the Ministry for Ethnic Communities would replace the Office for Ethnic Communities, giving it a greater ability to respond to the needs of New Zealand’s diverse communities.
To address recommendations around increased representation in the public sector, the government will be launching an Ethnic Communities Graduate Programme. This will provide 30 graduates over 18 months with a meaningful first employment opportunity within the Public Service and the opportunity to input broader cultural competency into the public sector.
The prevention of radicalisation
In addition to the graduate programme, a National Centre of Excellence will be formed that will bring together academia, civil society and government in order to research the prevention of radicalisation and promote social cohesion in the country.
The establishment of the Te Raranga (The Weave) programme within the Police will look to improve frontline practice to identify, record and manage hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes.
“The Royal Commission of Inquiry was clear about the need to improve responses and recording of hate crime incidents. The name … was chosen to reflect the need to weave people … and communities together to reduce incidents of hate crime and hate incidents,” police minister Poto Williams explained.