Pouring more taxpayers’ money into one of many government troughs was not high on the list of priorities (at least, not in Point of Order’s analysis) in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosques atrocity.
But urgency is being given the handouts of cash to community groups for spending on social cohesion.
The Point of Order Trough Monitor alerted us at the weekend to the priority being given to providing more giveaways.
At time of writing the announcement had not been posted on the Beehive website. But our emailed copy was headed …
Responding to the needs of ethnic communities after terror attacks
The statement began:
The Government has announced a range of urgent measures to support ethnic communities affected by the 15 March terror attacks, says Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa.
Yes. We were aware of some of these measures – the hasty rewriting of our gun legislation in response to a public clamour, for example.
We heard no howls for more money for the Ethnic Communities Development Fund – but the fund is getting more money anyway.
“The Ethnic Communities Development Fund, which supports initiatives that aim to improve New Zealand’s social cohesion and development of our ethnic communities, will receive an immediate uplift of $1 million,” says Jenny Salesa.
“The Fund is now open to new applications. It will remain open until the total amount available has been allocated. It will give affected communities the power to develop and lead their own projects alongside other Government initiatives.”
Mind you, we are supposing “an immediate uplift of $1 million” is the same as an immediate additional serving of $1 million.
But that’s just part of the it. More staff will be hired, too, by the agency which will deliver the goodies.
“The Office of Ethnic Communities, as conduit between the Government and ethnically diverse communities, will also receive funding for additional staff to provide better on the ground culturally appropriate support to victims and families in Christchurch.
And Minister Salesi will be out and about meeting Muslims and other religious leaders
“In addition, I will co-host a series of meetings across the country with key Muslim leaders. This will be a national conversation involving Imams, Muslim women and Muslim youth. It is important for me to ensure our Muslim communities are involved and engaged in shaping the response to the terror attacks and the recovery process.
“These conversations will be complemented by a series of interfaith dialogues that will bring together leaders from different faiths to discuss how we can work collectively to support an inclusive society.
“The Office of Ethnic Communities is currently working on co-ordinating these meetings and further details, including dates, will be announced in the next few weeks.
“These measures will help us in creating a New Zealand we can all be proud of; and as a Government we are committed to providing certainty and ongoing support to ethnically diverse communities, including Muslim communities, in the wake of the attacks.”
We last reported on the Ethnic Communities Development Fund just before Christmas, when Salesa played Santa Claus by announcing funding to 75 community projects starting in 2019.
The 75 selected projects, chosen from a pool of over 130 applications, were to receive a total of NZ$520,000, with the value of grants ranging between NZ$2,000 and NZ$42,000.
The selected projects ranged from building leadership capabilities in ethnic women to culture training and mentoring for sports groups and a Multicultural Festival, all of which continue the inspiration and creativity of the initiatives in previous funding.
The next funding round was to open in August 2019 for projects to be delivered in 2020.
Information about the Fund and a list of all grant recipients is available here.