Attracting migrants is vital to the economic development of
the Ashburton district, Mayor Angus Mckay says.
In a foreword to a just-released research document on
migrants and newcomers in the district, the mayor said it was
important residents embraced and celebrated the ethnic and
cultural diversity migrants brought to the district.
The Ashburton district had population growth of 13.4% between
2006 and 2013, making it the fifth-fastest-growing area in
the country. International migration accounted for about 60%
of the growth.
Migrants were attracted by lifestyle and employment
opportunities, particularly in the meat-processing and dairy
industries, he said.
The document reviews progress on migrant and newcomer
settlement, outlines issues for newcomers and proposes
actions to help address them. It follows a research report
produced in 2009.
More than 100 people from 47 nationalities took part in 15
focus groups to provide the information for the latest
report. They ranged in age from 8 to 66 and had been resident
in New Zealand between two months and 12 years.
Issues raised included the lack of a single, central place
for migrants to get information about health and education,
employment, driving and local services.
Social and geographical isolation was also an issue, along
with costs for English language support for those on work
While the diversity of the Ashburton community had grown
considerably and rapidly over recent years, there was a need
for the host community to understand and appreciate people
from different cultures, the report said.
Issues around housing remained and a lack of public transport
was a barrier.
Recommendations included exploring the development of a
migrant information hub, organising more agency outreach
visits to Ashburton, increasing cultural awareness and
celebration, expanding support for English language
development and looking at improving transport options.
- by Maureen Bishop