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Posted by Philip on 17 November 2015, 10:07 am in , , , ,

New Zealand’s superdiversity — really?

A new organisation, the Superdiversity Centre, sprung up last week, launching two reports: "The Superdiversity Stocktake: Implications for Business, Government and New Zealand" and "The Superdiversity, Democracy and New Zealand’s Electoral and Referenda Laws."

At 350 pages with the Executive Summary on page 215, excuse me for not reading the Stocktake. When I finally found the Executive Summary and skimmed its nine point font, it said Government needed to move faster on superdiversity because its responsiveness to ethnic diversity is slower than business.

The Electoral and Referenda Laws report is slightly more digestible at 69 pages but I could still only bring myself to skim its equally small typefaced Executive Summary, albeit more logically located on page 4. It, like the Stocktake, defines 'superdiversity' as NZ's ethnic and migrant population. The report makes the point that this population is increasing and warns of under-representation in voting if laws don't include access for non-English speaking citizens.

Hardly startling findings. But it begs the question, how much money went into paying people to write 420 pages that probably only one poor bastard of a bureaucrat is going to have to read? I also wonder what impact such pedantic verbosity is actually going to have on Government, given bureaucracy is known to lag behind every other social institution.

Speaking of lagging behind, it seems if the Superdiversity Centre is defining diversity as ethnicity alone, it needs to do a bit of serious catching up itself. And if they think a board of lawyers, accountants and economists — and a leadership council of corporate and diplomatic high-flyers like Mike Pero and Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand — represents New Zealand's diversity, well, they may find themselves seriously mistaken should they have a good look around.

I'm not against privileged people doing their bit for race relations and cultural/ethnic variety, but to do so under a banner of 'superdiversity' seems disingenuous to me. The only super things about the Superdiversity Centre are its bombastic reporting, lack of authentic representation and its truly awful colour-changing website.

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