Asians have been voted as the most discriminated community in a survey of New Zealanders.
As many as 75% respondents named Asians as the most discriminated against group in New Zealand in the survey conducted for the Human Rights Commission’s annual review of racial discrimination.
More disturbingly, this figure has remained relatively unchanged in the past five years.
On slightly brighter side, the review accepted that the number of media reports of racially motivated crime dropped in the past year, but still included a number of serious assaults.
Two Thai women were abused both physically and verbally in Nelson, a couple set their dogs on a Filipino man and Japanese student in Christchurch, a man in New Plymouth attacked his Indian neighbours’ car with a machete, and a Chinese student was assaulted at an Invercargill petrol station.
An active focus on inclusion of Asian New Zealanders in all aspects of New Zealand life was required to break down discrimination, says Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.
‘Asians are now one of our four largest population groups, and one of the fastest growing. Yet the only publicly funded television programme, Asia Downunder, was discontinued last year.
There are very few Asians on the boards of District Health Boards, not enough Asian teachers in our schools, not enough Asian local councillors or community board members and Asian migrants continue to face discrimination in applying for jobs.’
The commissioner applauded New Zealand Police for its strong focus on Asian recruitment.
‘That meant they were able to deal effectively with Asian communities after the Canterbury earthquake, as well as being accessible to Asian communities elsewhere.
All public agencies should be doing the same. Some private sector organisations, such as the major banks, have also reached out to Asian communities because it makes good business sense.’
de Bres says the time has come to recognise Asians as one of the four major population groups in New Zealand, along with Māori, Pākehā, and Pacific.
‘For example, Auckland University, which has rightly provided a space for Māori and Pacific students with the marae and the Fale Pasifika, could be thinking how they can similarly provide a space for Asian students who comprise a significant proportion of the student body.’
Full review of discrimination and harassment in 2011 at Race Relations Commissioner’s website.
What is racial discrimination?
The Human Rights Act 1993 specifies a number of personal characteristics that are protected from unlawful discrimination. One of these is colour, race, or ethnic or national origins, nationality or citizenship.
If you are involved in a dispute relating to unlawful discrimination you can ask for information and assistance from the Human Rights Commission.