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Vaibhav Gangan

Immigration News Opinion Work Abroad

OPINION: Immigration policy may stall growth in NZ



Migrate to AustraliaNew Zealand’s xenophobia, rather its politicians’ attempt to capitalize on xenophobia, has raised its ugly head again.

This time it is Labour leader David Cunliffe, who has blamed migrants for housing crisis and has suggested putting brakes on immigration following Treasury’s prediction that net migration may cross the 40,000 mark very soon.

If Cunliffe has his way, New Zealand could curb the projected migration levels of 40,000 to just in the “zone of between 5,000 and 15,000”.

Cunliffe wants “enough new migrants to fill our skill gaps but not so many that it overwhelms our housing market or the ability of our schools and our hospitals to cope”.

How convenient! Has he done research to learn about the number of migrants serving in New Zealand’s healthcare sector?

In the case of hospitals, he seems to be forgetting that without migrants as staff at all levels, they would gradually grind to a halt, says the NZ Herald columnist Brian Rudman.

It reminded me of the early years of 2000s, when net migration was as high, and there was a wide-spread feeling of resentment against migrants – Asians specifically, as they look and sound different.

However, those were the times when New Zealand economy was growing at a record rate of 3% to 3.5%. Individual incomes were high; people had steady jobs and spending rate was comparable to most developed countries.

We don’t have the same scenario now. The leading economies of the world haven’t recovered from the historic recession, with no clear signs of better days ahead.

This is a time to make the most use of available resources and bat on, so that New Zealand economy is able to create a distinct competitive advantage on global platform, despite its geographic remoteness and small market size.

This is possible by attracting the best talent from around the world in face of growing competition for talent from bigger economies like the US, the UK, Canada and of course, our fortunate cousin Australia.

Instead, policymakers like Cunliffe are busy finding ways to protect the sentiments of homegrown Kiwis, and ride on the anti-migrant wave.With elections around the corner, and poor voter perception, Cunliffe seems to be trying everything he could to revive his campaign.

However, let’s not politicize the issue.

If Asian population is expected to hit 800,000 in another decade, then it should be seen as an opportunity, not threat.

Let’s not drive skill-based migration, which benefits a few cities like Auckland, at the cost of other regions.

Auckland is a major winner from the government’s skilled-based immigration policies, says analyst Rodney Dickens of Strategic Risk Analysis Ltd.

“Wellington and Canterbury benefit to a moderate extent, while Canterbury benefits form the rebuilding-related skill-based policy.  All other regions are double losers as a result of the skilled-based immigration policies,” says Dickens in his latest report (PDF).

“Skill-based immigration policies would appear to be great at ensuring the largest group of immigrants, excluding Kiwis returning form OE, offer skills that fit with the evolving economy.

“However, the evolving economy and the skilled-based immigration policies both favour large urban centres over other centres.  This is having a significant impact on regional economic growth, retail spending, residential building and house prices.

“Restricting where immigrants can live would be self-defeating.  In time many skilled immigrants would end up filtering to the major urban centres even if they were originally restricted to living in provincial towns and cities.”

Dickens recommends an immigration policy that puts less emphasis on skills and gives more importance to hard work.

“If the criteria were relaxed to include hard-working people with lower formal
qualifications, it would create a more balanced playing field from a regional perspective,” argues Dickens.

“If this were done it would allow regions with smaller urban centres to better compete in part because they offer much more affordable housing costs compared to income levels than the large urban centres.”

“It would allow regions with cheaper housing costs to compete for immigrants on a much more equal footing with regions dominating new economy job creation.”


Deported from NZ, kidney patient dies in Fiji

Indian MP New Zealand

There’s an outrage in the migrant community in New Zealand following the death of a kidney patient who was deported out of New Zealand.

Sanil Kumar was waiting for a kidney transplant to save his life. His family, friends and well-wishers had already raised NZ$130,000 needed for the surgery, since he was not eligible for state-funded medical treatment.

His cousin, a New Zealand citizen, had already started the tissue-matching procedure to be a kidney donor to save Sanil.

However, the New Zealand associate minister for immigration, Nikki Kaye, declined to intervene in his deportation back to Fiji last month.

He passed away yesterday in Fiji’s Loutuka Hospital, One News reported. It is intriguing, to put it mildly, why someone who was on a life-threatening disease and had the money to be treated in New Zealand, was sent back to Fiji where medical facilities are known to be not comparable to New Zealand.

“Where would have been the harm to NZ if Sanil was allowed to get his operation here?” asks Labour MP Rajen Prasad, in a tweet.

The New Zealand Immigration system has been utterly heartless as Sanil had a kidney donor within his family and his community were busy raising the $130,000 needed for the transplant operation, says Rajen, in a  statement.

Indian MP New Zealand“He was deported, to what I predicted in April, would be his almost certain death as he simply wasn’t given the chance to have the operation in New Zealand. It was also clear a month ago that the type of dialysis treatment he had been receiving in New Zealand was not available in Fiji.

“A sensible Minister and an intelligent Immigration system would have understood that this was a life and death issue for Sanil.

In her defence, the associate minister has put the blame of the ministry of health.

In a statement explaining her decision, Nikki says she received advice from the Ministry of Health that appropriate dialysis services were available for Sanil in Fiji before she made her decision. If only she had cared to read a Stuff news story as early as 21 November 2013, which confirmed that Fiji did not have facilities to treat Sanil.

It was a life or death situation for Sanil because the Kidney Foundation of Fiji told Stuff reporter, Monica Tischler, peritoneal dialysis isn’t available in Fiji.

The Foundation says only haemodialysis is available as the peritoneal option is costly and most of the patients using it died because of uncontrollably high infection rates, Monica wrote in the Western Leader (Stuff) article.

“If I have go back to Fiji I will die,” Sanil told the reporter.

The 30-year old plumber had been working in New Zealand on a work visa since 2010. Immigration New Zealand declined to renew his visa in July 2013 as there were New Zealanders who could do the job.

Being on work visa in New Zealand, Sanil was ineligible for taxpayer-funded healthcare. His family, however, was arranging funds for his kidney transplant.

“Nikki Kaye has based her decision not to intervene on a Ministry of Health report to her which states that patients may receive three months free treatment for local patients from the Fijian Government during which time they ‘need either to find a live donor and be prepared to pay for their dialysis treatment thereafter (FJ$32,000 per year),” Rajen had said in a statement on 23 April, soon after Sanil’s deportation.

“Fiji does not perform kidney transplants but sometimes sends patients to India if a donor can be found,” Rajen had said.

Immigration News Work Abroad

Can I keep Indian passport after becoming NZ citizen?

Many Indians in New Zealand continue to hold Indian passports after becoming New Zealand citizens – either out of ignorance or willful intention (claiming ignorance).

work visa new zealand

The Indian High Commission in New Zealand has appealed to such Indians to surrender their Indian passports.

“Of late, many cases have been coming to the notice of this High Commission where the applicants have not surrendered their Indian Passports within three years of acquisition of New Zealand citizenship,” says the announcement on the High Commission’s website.

“In some cases, the applicants have gone even further and used the Indian passports for travel after acquisition of foreign nationality.”

People often confuse PIO status with dual citizenship. This is not true.

The Indian Citizenship Act 1955 does not allow dual citizenship.

It is a serious offense to retain Indian passport after acquiring citizenship of another country.

The Indian Passport Act 1967 says:

“Holding Indian passport/acquiring Indian passport/travelling on Indian passport after acquisition of foreign citizenship constitutes an offence under the Indian Passport Act, 1967, and attracts penalties.

The Government of India has prescribed imposition of penalty on a graded scale, depending on number of trips made on Indian passport after acquiring foreign nationality, for the violation of Passport Rules and retention of Indian Passport for more than 3 years after acquiring of foreign nationality.”

If you have violated the above provisions, then you will need to surrender you Indian passport and pay appropriate penalty to the Indian High Commission in New Zealand.

The Wellington-based High Commission has no authority to waive off such penalties.

Like any other law, the Indian Citizenship Act as well as Passport Act does not pardon such errors on account of ignorance of law.

If you have acquired New Zealand citizenship, you are required to cancel your Indian passport without delay to avoid higher penalties.

The Indian High Commission website contains a table that shows how much penalty you would be expected to pay.

Besides, if you haven’t surrendered your Indian passport, you will find it difficult to get visa for your dependent children. Indian origin parents with New Zealand citizenship will need to provide evidence of cancellation of Indian passport, for obtaining visa for their minor children.

Once you surrender your Indian passport, you will travel on your New Zealand passport and may need a visa to visit India. To avoid this hassle, many New Zealand citizens of India origin opt for a PIO card.

How is PIO card different from dual citizenship?

Beginning September 2002, India introduced PIO scheme of people of Indian origin living outside India.

The PIO card is like a long-term visa. With PIO card, which stands for Persons of Indian Origin, you don’t have to apply for a visa to visit India.  Valid for 15 years, The PIO card scheme enables a person of Indian origin, up to the 4th Generation down, as also spouses of such persons to apply for and obtain a PIO card.

The PIO card is given to up to 4th generation down. So if your great grandparents were citizens of India, you are still eligible for a PIO card.

Even spouses of PIOs, who may not be of Indian origin, are eligible to obtain a PIO card.

However, India specifically excludes citizens of its neighboring countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and China, and those of high-risk countries like Afghanistan and Iran from obtaining a PIO card.

 Benefits of a PIO card

In addition to visa waiver, PIO card offers many other benefits:

  1. All foreign nationals (including foreigners of Indian origin) visiting India for more than 180 days (whether for study, research or employment) need to register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) within 14 days of arrival. PIO card holders don’t have to register until 30 days prior to the expiry of the initial 180-day period in India.
  2. PIOs can buy, hold, transfer and dispose of immovable properties in India. This applies to residential as well as commercial properties.
  3. PIO children can study in India’s medical colleges, engineering colleges, IITs, IIMs under the general categories like resident Indians.
  4. There are special counters at the immigration check posts for PIOs.

PIOs however don’t get voting rights, cannot contest elections for any political position in India, neither are they allowed to buy agricultural land.

How much does a PIO card cost?

PIO card fees is NZ$695 for adults, and it is valid for 15 years. If your New Zealand passport expires before the expiry of your PIO card, you can still travel on your existing PIO card which contains old passport number. However, India’s Bureau of Immigration advises to have necessary endorsement of the new passport from the competent authority on their PIO cards “to avoid any inconvenience”.

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status

OCI status is given to those Indians who once were citizens of India (or were eligible to be Indian citizens), and have now surrendered Indian citizenship in favor of a foreign citizenship. OCI is different from PIOs in that PIO card is also issued to spouses and children even if they were never a citizen of India.

Immigration News Work Abroad

These 10 CV mistakes may cost you a dream job in NZ

Your resume is your first step at a prospective employer’s door. Vaibhav Gangan shares common resume mistakes to avoid.

CV writing tips

Top 10 resume writing tips (Photo: The Italian Voice)

In this age of information overload, getting the job you desire is not as straightforward as it used to be, even if you have the required skills and qualifications. Companies are looking for solution-providers, not just highly-skilled individuals.

While writing your resume, please keep in mind these CV tips and avoid these common mistakes.

Mistake 10: Being vague

Is your resume full of flowery words, adjectives and adverbs that say a lot and mean nothing? Be specific. Give examples. Mention figures and statistics. Don’t write “improved sales“, say “grew revenue by 8% by increasing sales from 180,000 units to 248,000 unites in financial year 2014.

Mistake 9: Beating around the bush

While writing opening statement/career objective, don’t be shy to say which position you are applying for and why you are suitable for that position. State the obvious up front. Don’t leave the recruiter wondering why he should hire you. Again, be specific. List the skills and experience that are directly relevant to the position you are applying for.  In fact, don’t bother writing an objective. This usually doesn’t add any value to the recruiter. Use that space to write your summary as mentioned above.

Mistake 8: Grammar errors, sloppy style and spelling mistakes

Check for typographical errors and spelling mistakes. Remove unnecessary exclamation marks and other symbols. Don’t use special characters. Don’t use multiple colors and multiple fonts. Keep it simple in formatting as well as language. Since you have written and re-written your resume many times, you may not spot some errors. Get someone else to proof-read your CV.

Mistake 7: Sloppy style and inappropriate tone

Review your resume as a third person. Is your tone style lazy? Does the passion show through your tone?  Is your resume easy on the eye? Use bullet points. Avoid jargon (yes!). Don’t use acronyms which are specific to your current company. For e.g., “Delivered SIP project while meeting TPA deadlines.”

Mistake 6: Whistler

Don’t list hobbies and interests that are irrelevant to the position applying for. For example, whistling as an interest is not important unless you are applying for a music teacher’s position.

Mistake 5: References

Should you include references or not? Unless you are applying for graduate jobs, or entry-level jobs, references are not needed at the application stage. There is no need to say “references available on request”. Of course, certain employers specifically ask for references with CV, in which case you should provide references that are ready to endorse you. Make sure you have briefed your referees.

Mistake 4: Passive

Some CVs are so passive that recruiter almost stops reading after the first few lines. This happens especially when the candidate is low on self-confidence, or shy to express achievements. Your resume should reflect your achievements, and you can legitimately boast of your work here. List the specific challenges you faced and the results you achieved, and how your work helped your company.

Mistake 3: Personal information

A recruiter is rarely interested in your marital status, date of birth. You can leave out these details.

Mistake 2: Getting adventurous with structure

There’s a widely-accepted structure for CVs and resumes around the world. Stick to it and don’t re-arrange sections randomly. The most popular template of a CV/resume includes, in this order: professional summary, education, experience, skills, awards/achievements, professional accreditation, and interests.

Mistake 1: Generic resume, and resume without cover letter

This is the most common and most suicidal mistake that could cost you your dream job – sending the same CV to all recruiters. Your resume must be tailored to the specific job. I don’t mean window-dressing your CV or adding false information there. Far from it. In fact, you should be honest in your CV. However, you must customize your CV to highlight those skills that are directly relevant to the job you are interested in. Which also means leaving out all those details that are not important for the job.

Do you have any other tips that you would like to share? Please use the comment section below.

Resume writing tips from Seek

  • Keep to the employer’s submission requirements – .doc, pdf, docx, rtf
  • Brief is best – more details about your current or recent jobs, less about the past
  • Clear, straightforward text – make sure everyone can understand it
  • Use one font – formatting matters and easy to read makes you stand out
  • Put contact information at the end – not the start or middle
    Highlight specific skills – relevant to the job you’re applying to
Immigration News Work Abroad

NZ slashes duty-free tobacco limit by 75%

New Zealand will reduce the duty-free allowance for cigarettes from the current 200 cigarettes to just 50.

In an attempt to make New Zealand smoke-free by 2025, the government will lower the duty-free allowance for international travellers visiting New Zealand, from the current 200 cigarettes to 50 cigarettes.

This brings New Zealand in line with similar regulations in Australia. The new duty-free tobacco limit is forecast to raise $50 million in extra revenue annually. These changes will help to eliminate cheaper avenues for smoking, which are out of step with recent government initiatives

The new limit of 50 cigarettes will apply from 1 November 2014. If the New Zealand Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia had her way, she would have removed the duty-free allowance completely.

Smoking causes up to 5,000 premature deaths in New Zealand every year.

“It is an anomaly that on the one hand we’re increasing the price, and on the other hand we’re offering a duty-free allowance on 200 cigarettes to every adult arriving at our borders,” says Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia.

The price differential between retail tobacco and duty-free tobacco will continue to grow with two further 10 per cent increases in the rate of excise scheduled over the next two years, says the minister.

“I considered recommending that the duty-free allowance be removed entirely, and although that would be consistent with the Government’s goal of making New Zealand effectively smoke-free from 2025, it would not be practical.

“Completely removing the duty-free concessions would mean that smokers, who might have a packet or two of cigarettes on them when going through Customs, had to either dump them or declare them and pay duty. If they did neither, they would risk prosecution and seizure of the goods.

“Either way, it would have potentially created considerable compliance costs for Customs in processing passengers at busy airports. Consequently, the Cabinet has agreed to reduce, rather than remove, the allowance.”

“It makes sense for us to match Australia’s duty-free limits for tobacco, given that nearly half of all our inbound passengers come from, or via, Australia.”

Along with the reduction in the duty-free concession, tobacco will be removed from the gift concession that currently allows gifts sent from overseas to be free of duty and GST in New Zealand, providing they exceed no more than $110 in total value.

Budget 2014 will include additional funding for New Zealand Customs Service of $2.7 million in 2014/15, and $420,000 in the following years to assist with implementation of the new rules.

New Zealand duty-free limits for tobacco

  • New limits effective from 1 November 2014
  • The duty-free tobacco allowance for passengers arriving in New Zealand will fall to 50 cigarettes, or 50 grams of cigars or tobacco products – similar to Australia. Currently passengers arriving in New Zealand can bring up to 200 cigarettes, 250 grams of tobacco, 50 cigars (or a mixture of all three weighing up to 250 grams) into New Zealand free of duty and GST.
  • Tobacco products sent to New Zealand as a gift from abroad will no longer be eligible for the $110 duty-free gift allowance. This means all gifts of tobacco products sent to New Zealand will now be subject to excise duty and GST.
  • What if you are carrying more than the allowance? As under the current rules, passengers carrying more than the new limit will need to declare this, and pay the relevant duty and tax on the excess amounts, or forfeit these excess amounts at the Customs controlled area. If passengers fail to declare dutiable goods, the goods will be confiscated and passengers may be prosecuted.
  • The changes to the traveller’s duty-free tobacco allowance will not affect outgoing international travel. Outgoing passengers will still be able to purchase duty-free tobacco from New Zealand duty-free stores in accordance with the overall limits specified by their destination country.


Lifestyle News Travel

Surprise taxi checks at Auckland airport following high-fare complaints

Auckland Airport to audit taxi journeys and calls for taxis to offer fixed fares.


Following passenger complaints of high fare, Auckland Airport will now regularly undertake mystery passenger audits of taxi pick-ups from the airport, says Richard Barker, Auckland Airport’s spokesman.

“Any drivers and companies found to be charging excessive amounts or taking longer than necessary routes will be immediately reported to their employer and, if required, to the New Zealand Transport Agency.”

Richard has however denied claims that taxis in Auckland are overcharging for the airport fare.

“We reject claims that Auckland Airport is responsible for the high taxi fares across Auckland. Almost all of the costs incurred by the taxis to operate at Auckland Airport are recovered directly from passengers through the $6 to $8 ‘airport pick-up charge’.”

“Taxi companies are therefore responsible for the rest of the taxi fare.”

“Travellers who get stuck in Auckland traffic congestion should be aware that ‘waiting fees’ will be added by the taxi company to their fare when the vehicle is stationary or stuck in slow moving traffic. This will significantly increase the total amount they have to pay.”

At the same time, Richard would like to see cabbies introduce new offers for customers, which could include fixed fares to the city and other key locations. “We would expect this action to reduce the cost of the longest taxi trips from the airport.”

Taking the clue, Green Cabs has announced fixed-fare rates to the city and North Shore.

Green Cabs will charge flat fares of $65 to the city, $97 to Takapuna and $110 to Albany for airport passengers.

Lifestyle News

Pets in Miami most pampered in US Unveils List of Most Pampered Pet Cities in the U.S. – Miami, Seattle, Atlanta, San Francisco and Portland ranked “top dogs” with the most pet-related items purchased per capita in 2013.



The honor of being the Top Dog goes to Miami as the most pet-loving city in the United States.

To mark May as the National Pet Month, revealed a list of the most-pampered-pet cities in the U.S. based on 2013 sales of pet-related items: from dog toys to cat grooming items and bird treats.

Miami Is Best In Show

Miami pet-owners bought the most toys overall for their pets, and spoiled their dogs and cats by buying the most apparel and accessories, grooming products and health supplies. The residents of Miami know how to pamper their pets: the city ranked highest for pampering their dogs, cats, birds, aquatic animals and reptiles.

Treat-Less In Seattle? Not Likely

While the city ranked second overall, Seattle locals love to give their animals treats. Seattle topped the list for buying the most treats for dogs, cats, birds and other small animals.

Horsing Around In San Jose

The residents of San Jose, California, followed by Colorado Springs, Colorado, Long Beach, California, Nashville, Tennessee, and Omaha, Neb., showed the most love for their horse friends by buying the largest number of horse-related products.

Most Popular Pet Products

The best-selling pet-related items based on the number of units sold in 2013 included:

The Cat Dancer 301 Cat Charmer Interactive Cat Toy

Kyjen Hide-A-Squirrel Puzzle Toy for Dogs

StarMark Clicker Dog Training System

“We love our four-legged friends at Amazon, ” says Kristiana Helmick, Category Leader of Amazon Pets.

“Hundreds of dogs walk the halls every day in our Seattle headquarters—and we’re excited to see who else around the country pampers their pets.”

“From Miami to Seattle, it’s clear that there are pet lovers coast-to-coast, and this list gives a bit of insight into where some of the most devoted pet owners (and most fortunate pets) call home.”

Those who shop the pet store through can choose their favorite pet-related charity and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible items.

The Top 10 Most-Pampered-Pet Cities in America

  1. Miami
  2. Seattle
  3. Atlanta
  4. San Francisco
  5. Portland, Ore.
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Las Vegas
  8. Austin, Texas
  9. Tucson, Ariz.
  10. San Diego
Entertainment Lifestyle News

Women-only swim sessions irk some in NZ

Free swimming pools auckland new zealand

New Zealand’s Hamilton City may have a tough job on hand as it proposes to re-introduce women-only swimming sessions at the council-owned swimming facility.

Aimed at attracting more women to swimming, the proposal is being labeled as “man ban” by one of New Zealand’s largest news outlet – Stuff.

Stuff reporter Aaron Leaman says, “A man ban at one of Hamilton’s public pools is in the works to lure more women into the water, but critics have slammed the idea as “separatist thinking”.

Under a proposal being worked on by city council staff, men could be excluded from the Gallagher Aquatic Centre during twice-weekly women-only swimming sessions.”

It is ironic that a mainstream publication is labeling women-only sessions as “men-ban” plan, without clearly understanding the need for such sessions.

Similar line is towed by David Farrar on KiwiBlog. “That’s fair enough – so long as male ratepayers no longer have to fund the pool.” David overlooks the fact that many sporting facilities are funded by women-ratepayers and are predominantly used by male sportspeople.

The Stuff story has evoked strong reaction.

Disappointing headline to this article, says local community leader Anjum Rahman.  “To me, this issue is similar to women’s only gyms. It’s about providing access to people who otherwise wouldn’t be going to a swimming facility. I wouldn’t mind if the men had a similar session, if it meant more of them could access a pool.”

Agrees former race relations commissioner Joris de Bres. “If you frame stories like this, it’s no wonder you get a negative reaction. What’s wrong with “swimming sessions for women”. How tiresome. The separatist tag applied by the spokesperson for the residents and ratepayers is just silly.

“It’s perfectly permissible under the Human Rights Act; it’s done in a number of other centres. No one’s right to go for a swim is denied by this. I hope the Council goes ahead with the proposal.”

The article shows lack of cultural understanding of the media outlet. Hamilton is a diverse community, and it includes people from cultures where women traditionally wear loose garments and cover their heads, as well as women who have left countries which are not as peaceful as New Zealand is, says New Zealand-born Deborah Russell.

“Many of these women might like to swim, and would benefit from learning to swim, but do not want to wear the form fitting and really rather revealing clothing that New Zealanders usually wear when swimming.”

This is a classic example of people not understanding the difference between equality and equity and how treating people the same can marginalise people, says health professional Ruth DeSouza.

“I see this kind of thinking in health so often, where if a group has their unique needs met, there’s a zero sum game thinking mentality where if one group has something that responds to their unique needs, the fear is I will miss out, even though my needs are being catered to all the time.”

Many cities around New Zealand have already offered women-only sessions, including New Zealand’s biggest cities – Auckland and Wellington.

In fact, swimming lessons for Muslim women conducted at Auckland’s Cameron pool won the New Zealand Recreation Association Award for excellence, innovation and effectiveness.

The swimming programme was established in 2004 by the Auckland Somali Community Association, to help Muslim women improve their health, combat isolation and make connections within the community.

The successful programme attracts as many as 150 Muslim women from all over Auckland arrive at Cameron Pool every Sunday night just after it closes to the public at 6pm. For the next two hours, and for a nominal charge of $2, they get exclusive use of its facilities, overseen by specially trained pool staff.

Cameron Pool even provides ladies-only gym area and offers free sessions for women.

gym for women Cameron Pool Auckland


News Study Abroad

NZ schools to move tests online

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is marking the new era in the education sector of the country with the trial of its first online tests.

NZQA will trial NCEA level one maths test online at 20 schools in September with the help of an outsourced company – Education Perfect.

This is the common assessment administered at the end-of-year NCEA exam season.

However, there are concerns about the use of a contractor for conducting the test. The news of the online trial was first released on social media by the contractor, raising concerns over the loss of control in the crucial education sector.

President of the Post Primary Teachers Association Angela Roberts has already expressed her reservations about NZQA’s use of the private sector to deliver school exams, in a radio interview.


Immigration News Politics

MP Rajen Prasad retires

Indian MP New Zealand

New Zealand Labour Party’s Immigration spokesperson Rajen Prasad has declared his retirement from active politics as he says he is not seeking re-nomination for another term in Parliament at the next election scheduled for later this year.

“I have approached my professional and public life over the last 20 years, in the spirit of moving on to new challenges once I had made my parliamentary contribution.” says Dr Prasad – a former Associate Professor in Social Policy and Social Work from Massey University.

“My sixth year as a parliamentarian has also been a time to reflect on this role and consider other challenges I might accept.

“I have made this decision not to remain in Parliament, together with my family and friends and have informed the Party leader.

“I have been enormously privileged to have been given an opportunity to represent ethnic communities in general and the Indian community in particular in Parliament and in the Labour caucus. This has happened at a time of  enormous ethnic diversification in New Zealand.

Dr Prasad had earlier served as the Race Relations Conciliator, Human Rights Commissioner and a Member of the Residence Review Board.

“My experience from my life and my background in social policy and the front line social services has been  critical in framing our Immigration and Ethnic Affairs policies for the next election.

He has not revealed his future plans but has provided some clues. “I look forward to new challenges in the international environment as well as in business in the next stage of my life.”

New Zealand Parliament will miss him as a man of “integrity, intelligence and insight”, says fellow Labour list candidate Sunny Kaushal. “He is a man who just naturally radiated charm, warmth and honour.

It reminds of the words of the great poet Bertolt Brecht :
When the battle of the mountains is over
Then you will see
That the real battle of the plains will begin.

Of Fijian-Indian descent, Dr Prasad is 11th in a family of 14 children. He has two married children and lives with his wife in Auckland. He has lived and worked in West Auckland, Porirua and South Auckland.

Bollywood Entertainment

VIDEO: First look of ‘Singh Is Bling’ revealed


Akshay Kumar wears turban again for his next film ‘Singh is Bling’ produced jointly by the action actor and his partner Ashvini Yardi, under their production banner – Grazing Goat Pictures.

Schdeuled to be released on 31 July 2015, the film is being directed choreographer-turned producer and director Prabhudheva.

Akshay Kumar, Bollywood movies

This is the second time Akshay will assume the lead role in his own production – earlier he played a cameo role in OMG! Oh My God.

The actor-director pair will have high expectations to meet after the success of their first movie together: ‘Rowdy Rathore’.

‘Singh is Bling’ is also Prabhudheva’s first film which will not to be a remake of a South Indian movie.

The other details of the film remain under wraps and the film is currently looking for its lead actress. Insiders however have revealed the film is a romantic action comedy.

“This film is going to be an outright entertainer and Akshay’s character in the film will leave an everlasting impression on the viewers,” says co-producer Ashvini Yardi said.

“There couldn’t have been a better title for the film and we are extremely excited that Prabhudheva will be directing Grazing Goat Pictures’ next Hindi feature film.”

Immigration News Work Abroad

Canada raises caps for migrants

Work in Canada
Work in Canada

Family enjoying a campfire outside their oTENTik
© Parks Canada / J. Gordon 2013


For the period between May and December 2014, Canada has increased caps of visa applications under skilled workers, trade workers, experienced workers programs.

The total cap will be 38000 – which includes 25000 for skilled workers, 5000 for trade, and 8000 for experienced workers. The list of eligible occupations under the skilled workers program has been doubled, from 24 to 50 occupations, reflecting the latest labour market needs.

While visa applications caps are usually for one year – 1 May to 30 April, these caps are only for eight months – 1 May to 31 December, in effect increasing the number of total visa applications processed.

The caps have been put in place to ensure that the Canadian immigration authority is not left with any backlog of visa applications on 1 January 2015, the day it launches the new Express Entry program.

The Express Entry progam, Canada’s new active recruitment model, will lead to a “faster and more flexible economic immigration system” that will address Canada’s economic and labour market needs, says a statement issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

“With these measures in place for our key economic programs, our government is ensuring our immigration system is addressing Canada’s economic and labour market needs while reducing backlogs and improving processing times,” Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says.

“We look forward to the launch of Express Entry next January, which will be a major step forward in attracting the skilled workers we need and have them working in Canada faster.”

Quick facts

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada will begin accepting applications under new caps for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), starting 1 May 2014. These measures will ensure a steady supply of skilled workers who are settling in Canada permanently and helping to supplement the Canadian workforce in areas where there are skills shortages.
  • These are the last applications that will be accepted under the current system before Express Entry launches in January 2015.
  • The latest FSWP occupation list was developed based on recent labour market data from Employment and Social Development Canada and input from the provinces and territories on regional labour market needs.
  • Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2014 will invest $14 million over two years and $4.7 million per year ongoing to ensure the successful implementation of Express Entry.
  • Determine online your eligibility to apply for Canadian work visa.
  • The full set of Ministerial Instructions will be available in the Canada Gazette on April 26, 2014.


Immigration News Work Abroad

Canada allows ‘express entry’ for economic migrants

Canada visa

Now, skilled professionals keen to migrate to Canada can jump the queue for becoming permanent residents, if they have a valid job offer. They can even have their residency application processed in less than six months.

Canada visa, express entry

Under the new ‘Express Entry’ scheme to become effective January 2015, the Canada Immigration department will who receive a valid job offer or nomination under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will “quickly” invite people with job offer to apply for permanent residency.

“Express Entry” is not to be confused with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which is only used to fill temporary skill shortages.

Candidates with a job offer or nomination under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are eligible under the “Express Entry” category which is designed to deal with regional labour shortages, and help fill open jobs for which there are no available Canadian workers.

Described as the “game changer” by the country’s immigration minister, “Express Entry” replaces the now-scrapped Formerly referred to as “Expression of Interest” category, and will be open to skilled immigrants.

It will allow the Canadian government to “select the best candidates who are most likely to succeed in Canada, rather than those who happen to be first in line,” says a statement issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC – the immigration department of Canada).

“It will also prevent backlogs and allow CIC to better coordinate application volume with the annual immigration levels plan.”

Visa applicants can expect faster processing times of six months or less when invited to come to Canada in four key economic streams: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class, and a portion of the PNP.

More importantly, employers will have a key role in selecting economic immigrants and providing advice to the Government of Canada. Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says that over the course of spring 2014, CIC will work with provincial and territorial governments to hold a series of cross-Canada information sessions to provide employers with more information about this exciting new system.

Express Entry promises to be a game-changer for Canadian immigration and Canada’s economy, says Chris.

“It will revolutionize the way we attract skilled immigrants, and get them working here faster. Our government is actively engaged with our provincial and territorial partners, and with employers, to make January’s launch of Express Entry a success.”


Quick facts

  • Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2014 will invest $14 million over two years and $4.7 million per year ongoing to ensuring the successful implementation of Express Entry.
  • With Express Entry, Canada will be able to select the best candidates who are most likely to achieve success in Canada, rather than the first person in line.
  • The Government of Canada’s new and improved Job Bank will help facilitate matches between Canadian employers and Express Entry candidates.
  • Having a valid job offer or provincial/territorial nomination will guarantee Express Entry candidates an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

More information

Backgrounder — Expression of Interest (EOI): Preparing for Success in 2015

Economic Action Plan 2014

Immigration Work Abroad

Chinese migration agent’s OZ licence culled

Australia’s immigration authority has cancelled the licence of a Chinese immigration agent, following “a number of complaints about applications for protection visas”.

The Sydney-based migration agent failed in her bid to have a decision to cancel her registration overturned, with the Administrative Review Tribunal (AAT) confirming the decision by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA).

The Authority found that Weiming Qian had failed to competently and diligently assist her clients and act on their instructions, manufactured or encouraged the manufacture of claims for protection visas, failed to attend with her clients at the Refugee Review Tribunal and the former Federal Magistrates Court for appointed hearings and prepared applications for judicial review when not qualified.

A migration agent has a duty to act in the lawful interests of a client and this agent’s conduct was clearly not in her clients’ interests, a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said.

“She deliberately undermined the protection visa programme at every stage, the lodgement of applications for visa processing and review proceedings before the Refugee Review Tribunal and the courts.”

The AAT found the scale of the complaints indicated entrenched poor practice and found the decision made by the OMARA to cancel Ms Qian’s registration as a migration agent was correct, as was the decision that she could not be re-registered for five years.

“Only people who are registered with the OMARA are permitted to give immigration assistance,” the spokesman said.

“Registered agents must meet a code of conduct and be a fit and proper person to provide immigration assistance.”

There are more than 5000 registered migration agents in Australia and overseas who can provide immigration assistance. People wishing to find out whether an individual is registered as a migration agent can go to the Authority’s website,


NZ student visits India to study business ties

A New Zealand student investigating business networks in promoting Māori entrepreneurship has won a scholarship to India.

Jess Templeton, completing PhD in management from University of Canterbury (UC), is visiting New Delhi to study business issues after winning an Education New Zealand scholarship in conjunction with the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.

study in New Zealand

She says India is a priority country for New Zealand’s trade and economic future. The Indian population in New Zealand increased by 48 per cent to 155,000 people in the last seven years, according to the 2013 Census.

“India’s influence on the global distribution of economic power will continue to become more significant over time. As a small, independent nation, New Zealand has acknowledged the importance of building robust relationships with neighbouring states to support prosperity and security.

“Sustainable business success can be achieved through compromise, collaboration and cooperation of cultures, disciplines and perspectives.

“Exposure to potential practical applications for an India-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement is a critical factor for learning and exploring opportunities and benefits of developing the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the two countries.

Of Maori-Indian descent, Jess believes that the similarities between Hindu and Māori cultures, specifically within language and customs, could help ease cross-cultural tensions and instigate innovative strategies moving forward.

“Māori business has significant commercial potential in the greater Asia-Pacific region through India. As a young Māori-Indian management doctoral candidate, I am excited about this opportunity to network with Indian industry leaders, and top executives.

“India’s importance to New Zealand is growing. This reflects India’s expanding economy, its growing geopolitical importance and its increased openness to the rest of the world. India is currently New Zealand’s seventh largest export market.

“Its economic growth has sparked the expansion of bilateral trade and economic links. There is potential for growth in both goods and services – agriculture products, tourism, education, and consultancy services.

“Being bi-cultural in a multi-cultural world, studying business and visiting New Delhi is an opportunity to develop both my business insight and academic perspective.”

As part of her PhD studies at the Ngai Tahu Research Centre, Jess is evaluating existing tribal business systems to help Māori.

Jess moved back to UC and Christchurch last year after working with New Zealand’s major oil and gas company in New Plymouth.

Her supervisor Associate Professor Venkataraman Nilakant says her trip to India will provide her valuable exposure and skills that will be useful not only in the PhD but also in her future career as an emerging Maori leader.

“This venture will enhance her leadership capability and develop her research skills. It will also help define fundamental characteristics that will allow Jess to demonstrate that she is work-ready, culturally aware, willing to play an active role in the community and globally connected.

“UC wants all graduates to demonstrate these characteristics on top of being critically competent in their core academic discipline. Jessica is an outstanding example of this.”

Business Work Abroad

NZ, India two ends of a book – Peter Dunne

“Two ends of a book’, is how New Zealand’s Minister of Internal Affairs described the ties between India and New Zealand.



Minister Peter Dunne, while was speaking at India New Zealand Business Council’s seminar, ‘Business Beyond Barriers’, reiterated the need for increased economic, cultural and sporting ties between the two countries.

The India New Zealand Business Council held its second chapter of a series of seminars – ‘Business Beyond Barriers’, on 26 March. H.E. Mr. Ravi Thapar (Indian High Commissioner to NZ).

The Council Chair Sunil Kaushal shared how the members have been continuing to expand their business ventures into India without an FTA being signed between both the countries.

“(An) FTA is just one of the tools to increased trade and not the only tool,” said Sunil, stressing that more focus should be towards moving on with trade to be done between businesses in New Zealand and India.

Peter said it was important for New Zealand to recognise the potential of the Indian economy and work to have closer ties.

Ravi Thapar, India’s new High Commissioner to New Zealand, took charge in January and is since meeting crucial people and organisations that can make a difference to the bilateral relations.

Ravi shared insights about various fields that India-New Zealand can collaborate in. “We should work with the positives of both sides, like taking New Zealand’s IP and using India’s market footprint,” said Ravi, while emphasizing that India’s market footprint is huge and creates great potential for New Zealand companies to work with.

Taxation in the vast Indian market can be very complicated and can sometimes be a daunting task, said Greg Thompson, National Director, Tax at Grant Thornton NZ Ltd.

Earlier the council members also called upon the Indian High Commissioner at his office in Wellington and discussed collaborative areas between both the countries. Aviation, Education, IT, Agri were some of the sectors that were discussed including the need for a direct or code share flight between both the countries which will enhance tourism and trade.

Immigration News Work Abroad

Uphold migrant workers’ rights, UN urges

The United Nations experts have appealed to all countries to sign up to a landmark treaty on the rights of migrant workers that came into force some 10 years ago.

Jobs abroad


Forty-seven countries have ratified the treaty but that number is far too low given the abuse and exploitation that migrant workers continue to suffer, says Francisco Carrion Mena, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families.

“It is also far too low given the contribution migrant workers make to both their home and host countries,”

The International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families (ICRMW) took 23 years to come into force, the longest of any of the 10 core international human rights instruments, and has registered the slowest rate of ratification.

No major developed countries that are destinations for migrant workers, including the US, EU member states and Gulf countries, have ratified it, even though it reflects rights set out in the other core human rights treaties.

“The treaty doesn’t create new rights or establish additional ones for migrant workers. What it does do is give specific form to standards that protect all human beings so that they are meaningful within the context of migration,” says Francisco.

The Committee’s renewed call to all states to join the treaty came during discussions in Geneva on Monday on protecting migrant workers from exploitation.

More than 200 million people worldwide are international migrants; of these some 30 million are estimated to be irregular migrants. According to the International Labour Organisation, almost 21 million people are trapped in forced labour.

“The Convention is the best strategy to prevent abuses and to address the vulnerability that migrant workers face. That’s why we urge all States to consider signing and ratifying the Convention,” says Francisco.

The CMW, composed of 14 independent human rights experts, oversees implementation of the Convention by States parties. Many of the 47 States parties are not only nations of origin but now also transit and destination countries given the changing patterns of migration.

Immigration News Work Abroad

NZ employers look to new Kiwis to bridge skills gap

As skills shortages increasingly impact on New Zealand businesses, employers are looking for new ways to find great people to meet their needs.


Jobs in Auckland


Many are now looking to newcomers and returning Kiwis who bring the powerful combination of international work experience, qualifications and experience gained from working offshore, say New Zealand Chambers of Commerce.

Recognising demand, the Chambers are promoting the New Kiwis website which connects employers and recruiters to a rich source of new and returning Kiwis to help fill these skills gaps.

New Kiwis is more than just a “skills matching” database which employers can use autonomously, say the Chambers.

New Kiwis is a national employment initiative which is funded by Immigration New Zealand and managed by Auckland Chamber of Commerce in partnership with NZ Chambers of Commerce.

“The employer also has the option of advertising or just searching, access to resources that will assist them in supporting their new recruits understand New Zealand workplace norms and they have access to me, I can help with every step of the way,” New Kiwis Liaison for the Chambers of Commerce Cheng Goh says.

David Litherland, Talent Manager at First Assistance, used the Chamber services to find a Mandarin speaking medical assistance assessor.

“We decided to go to the experts. We cast the recruitment net wide and utilised the New Kiwis database of candidates with the skills we specifically required – hiring two people initially.

“What appealed was that the New Kiwis services help get new migrants work ready from a New Zealand workplace perspective.” says David.

(Photo credit: Photologue_np)

Immigration Lifestyle News Work Abroad

NZ ranked world’s most socially advanced country

New Zealand is the most socially advanced nation in the world according to a global index published by US-based nonprofit, the Social Progress Imperative, and released at the 2014 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.

move to New Zealand

New Zealand topped the rankings across a wide range of measures–according to the Social Progress Index 2014 which ranks 132 countries based on their social and environmental performance. The result was described as “exceptional” by Michael Green, Executive Directive of the Social Progress Imperative.

The Social Progress Index, created by a team led by Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School, is designed as a complement to GDP and other economic indicators to provide a more holistic understanding of countries’ overall performance.

What is social progress?

Social progress is defined as the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens to improve their lives, and create the conditions for individuals and communities to meet their full potential.


Measuring a country’s social progress outcomes the Index identifies a number of areas in which New Zealand is performing strongly compared to countries with a comparable GDP per capita, including on ‘Personal Rights’, ‘Water and Sanitation’ and ‘Personal Freedom and Choice’.

Until now, the assumption has been that there is a direct relationship between economic growth and wellbeing, says Professor Michael E. Porter.

“However, the Social Progress Index finds that all economic growth is not equal. While higher GDP per capita is correlated with social progress, the connection is far from automatic. For similar levels of GDP, we find that some countries, like New Zealand, achieve much higher levels of social progress than others.”

It’s some accolade that across so many measures New Zealand outperforms countries like the United States, UK and Australia, says
Michael Green, Executive Director of the Social Progress Imperative.

“It’s particularly on the measure of ‘Opportunity’ that New Zealand performs strongly thanks to it’s top global rankings on ‘Personal Rights’ and ‘Personal Freedom and Choice’.”

The Social Progress Imperative created the Social Progress Index working in collaboration with scholars from the Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as international organizations in social entrepreneurship, business and philanthropy led by the Skoll Foundation and Fundacion Avina as well as Cisco, Compartamos Banco, Deloitte Global and its member firms (Deloitte).

The result is particularly impressive in the context of New Zealand’s relative economic weakness compared to countries that finished much lower on the Index. New Zealand enjoys the world’s 25th highest GDP per capita of $25,857, finishing ahead of the United States in 16th ranking with a per capita GDP of over $45,000*; the UK in 13th with a per capita GDP of over $32,500*; and Australia in 10th with a per capita GDP of $34,669*.

Key global highlights:

  • The top five countries in order of ranking are: New Zealand, Switzerland, Netherlands, Iceland, and Norway.
  • Canada is the best performing G8 country.
  • Brazil is the top of the BRICS, followed by South Africa, Russia, China and India. Apart from Brazil, the BRICS are all significant under-performers on social progress, suggesting that, for China and India in particular, rapid economic growth is not yet being converted into better lives for their citizens.

Key New Zealand findings:

Of the 54 indicators measured within each country to make up the overall Index ranking, New Zealand scores top spot in no less than 20, across a wide variety of different measures. These include tying in first place globally on measures of homicide (less than 2 per 100,000 people); levels of corruption and religious tolerance.


New Zealand scores strongly on the ‘Access to Basic Knowledge’ component finishing 2nd globally. Included in this is secondary school enrollment on which New Zealand scores top.

New Zealand also finishes top ranked on ‘Personal Freedom and Choice’, owing to impressive results on religious freedoms and freedom over life choices.

On ‘Tolerance and Inclusion’ New Zealand scores fourth globally, thanks partly to its high tolerance for immigrants and religious tolerance.

On the ‘Access to Information and Communications’ measure New Zealand scores 7th globally, which is a relatively strong result compared to countries of a similar GDP. The result owes partly to an exceptionally high rate of mobile telephone subscriptions (more than 110 for every 100 people) as well as ranking number one globally for press freedoms.

Other findings

According to the researchers New Zealand doesn’t have any specific weaknesses. However, the Social Progress Index 2014 highlights obesity as a challenge to ‘Health and Wellness’ – more than one in four New Zealanders are obese.

Also, one of New Zealand’s weaker score is on ‘Nutrition and Basic Medical Care’ (28th), a result partly of its 36th place ranking on the measure of maternal mortality (15 deaths per 100,000 live births). The top ranking country on this measure is Estonia with just two deaths per 100,000 births. Similarly, New Zealand’s child mortality rate of 5.7 deaths per 1000 live births is more than double Iceland who ranked in first place with just 2 deaths per 1000 live births.

Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, said: “Making social progress a true imperative means putting the progress of humanity and our wellbeing on an equal footing with GDP. The Social Progress Index prioritizes and measures what matters, capturing data that ranges from basic needs such as health to the building blocks and guarantees of opportunity such as education and rights.

Immigration News Study Abroad

Kiwis wish to learn Chinese, but choose French

Learn Chinese, Japanese

Learning Chinese is crucial for success


Kiwis are interested in learning the Chinese and the Japanese language, according to a recent survey.


(See video at the end of the article to learn beginner’s Chinese online.)

The Asia New Zealand Foundation’s annual Perceptions of Asia and Asian Peoples in 2013 survey has found that New Zealanders consider Chinese the most valuable foreign language to learn.

Almost all (93 percent) people polled in the survey thought it was valuable to learn another language. Of those, 64 percent thought Chinese would be valuable to learn, followed by Japanese (31 percent) and Spanish (22 percent).

People felt it was worthwhile to learn Chinese because of New Zealand’s trade links, the fact it is a widely spoken language, and because they felt it would enable New Zealanders to understand Chinese people more easily.

The survey reveals a gap between the languages considered the most valuable to learn and those widely taught in New Zealand schools. Chinese is the fifth most commonly studied language in New Zealand secondary schools.

Foreign language learning in New Zealand secondary schools (2012)

  • French – 22,379
  • Japanese – 12,473
  • Spanish – 11,372
  • German – 4,663
  • Chinese – 2,849
  • Indonesian – 0
  • Korean – 0

The survey shows a clear discrepancy between those who think Chinese is important to learn, and those who are actually learning it, says Asia New Zealand Foundation director of research Dr Andrew Butcher.

“It also reveals a gap between New Zealanders’ recognition of the importance of Asia to New Zealand’s future, and their confidence in interacting with the region.”

Four out of five people (80 percent) polled in the 2013 survey believed Asia was important to New Zealand, up from 77 percent in 2012. But two-thirds said they knew only a little or almost nothing about the region.

The Foundation had been carrying out regular research since 1997 to measure perceptions of the peoples and countries of Asia.

This latest survey shows an increased desire among New Zealanders to learn more about the cultures, traditions and languages of Asia, says Asia New Zealand Foundation chairman Philip Burdon.

“This cultural understanding is going to be increasingly important if New Zealand is to have constructive long-term relationships with Asian countries.”

New Zealanders surveyed want more Asian investment in New Zealand, with ownership and control retained by Kiwis.

Most New Zealanders (75 percent) agreed it was good for the New Zealand economy to have Asian companies investing in New Zealand businesses – an increase of five percentage points since last year.

However, those interviewed in a follow-up forum felt that ownership and control of assets and organisations should remain in New Zealand.

The survey also found that nationally, New Zealanders were more likely to disagree (43 percent) that rising house prices were due to Asian people buying properties. But the opposite was true in Auckland – Aucklanders were more likely to agree (46 percent) that Asian people were responsible for rising house prices.

Another report by the Royal Society of New Zealand – Languages in Aotearoa New Zealand – highlights New Zealand’s “superdiversity”, with more than 160 languages spoken.

But the report also reveals the need for a coordinated approach to language learning and teaching.

Asia New Zealand Foundation executive director John McKinnon says it is vital for New Zealand’s economic, cultural, and political interests that Asian languages are more widely taught in New Zealand.

“Parents need to see to that having their children learn Asian languages will improve their future prospects.”

Other countries are already developing policies to boost the availability of Asian languages in schools, he says. The Australian Government’s 2012 Australia in the Asian Century white paper outlined requirements for every school to teach a priority Asian language.

“Even countries outside the Asia-Pacific are looking at Asian languages,” John says. “The Swedish government has asked its National Education Agency to develop a new curriculum for Chinese in its schools.

“Countries across the world are now investing in Asian languages. This is a wake-up call for New Zealand.”

The Royal Society’s paper points out that research has shown learning another language at school improves performance right across the curriculum.

The number of New Zealand children learning Chinese has grown steadily in the past decade, but only a minority of schools offer the language, says John.

Meanwhile, other key Asian languages are barely taught in New Zealand at all.

Of particular concern is Indonesian, says John. Indonesia is New Zealand’s nearest Asian neighbour, the world’s fourth most populous country, and has a rapidly growing economy.

“But Ministry of Education statistics show no New Zealand secondary students were studying Indonesian last year.”

John, who learnt Chinese while working as a diplomat, says improved access to Asian languages does not have to come at the expense of European languages. The Asia New Zealand Foundation would like to see all New Zealand children having access to choices for foreign languages, as well as te reo Māori.

However, shortage of teachers is a major issue in teaching Asian languages in New Zealand. “Obviously this is not going to happen immediately, but we need to take a medium-term approach and invest in the future of our children.”

According to the ministry of education, New Zealand’s two other official languages (other than English) – te reo Māori and New Zealand sign language – are included in curriculum, along with Chinese, Cook Islands Māori, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Samoan, Spanish, Tokelauan, Tongan and ‘Vagahau Niue (Niuean).

 Photo: Ivan Walsh