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Huo Will Continue To Fight For Asian Voice In Auckland

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Raymond Huo
Raymond Huo

Labour Associate Ethnic Affairs spokesperson Raymond Huo will continue to advocate for an Asian voice in Auckland governance despite his amendment to set up an Asian Advisory Board being defeated by the Government and its allies.

Raymond Huo said he and other members of Labour's ethnic caucus, Chris Carter (chair), Rajen Prasad and Ashraf Choudhary, had argued strongly in favour of an advisory board during debate on the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill.

"Asians make up 13 percent of Auckland's population, and as Asian scholar and community leader Professor Manying Ip says, sheer demographics must eventually prevail. The Asian population in Auckland is third only to European and Maori. Plans for Auckland's future must take this population into account.

"Auckland is the first port of call for immigrants, and most of them stay there. With about two-thirds of all new Asian migrants settling in the region, Auckland absorbs a disproportionate share of this growth --- an estimated growth of about 51 percent in the Asian population up to 2016, compared with 46 percent for New Zealand as a whole," said Raymond Huo.

"Traditionally, ethnic minorities have been under-represented on Auckland's councils. After the 2007 elections, 84 per cent of the members of Auckland's councils were identified as European, nine per cent as Maori, four per cent Pacific and four per cent Asian.

"I am disappointed National's Asian MPs, Ethnic Affairs Minister Pansy Wong, Melissa Lee and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, failed to front on behalf of Auckland's large Asian population. Their lack of support for Asian voices is frustrating and saddening."

Raymond Huo said Auckland's growing Asian population could not continue to be ignored, but the failure of the amendment to get past the National bloc of votes in the House would make it much more difficult for Asian concerns to reach the Super City council table.

"We are not asking for an Asian seat on the Super City, simply a statutory link to the governing body that will advise on issues that effect those in the Asian community.

"That's why Labour supports Asian and Pacific advisory boards --- but National, Act and the Maori Party have made sure this initiative will not succeed. "Auckland, being the seventh largest city of Chinese origin in the world (outside of China itself), cannot afford to become isolated in the current globalised financial and commercial world. Engaging our Kiwi-Asians will help to strengthen our ties throughout global business networks,"

Raymond Huo said. "Labour will continue to provide the voice for Auckland's Asian population that National's coalition can't and won't provide," Raymond Huo said.

"Asian and Pacific population groups in Auckland face huge challenges in terms of housing, health, wages, education and skills development, transportation, and socio-economic issues. The Super City must engage with Asian and Pacific people to address these challenges."

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