Migrants and refugees trying to start up business ventures could get a boost from the Government if an idea put to Cabinet minister Judith Collins takes off.

When Collins visited Palmerston North on Tuesday, Antoinette Umugwaneza , who works with refugees, wanted to know if the Government could help migrant and refugee communities gain access to angel-investor type finance to set up small businesses.

Other countries such as Canada had such schemes.

"You've raised an issue that I haven't thought about before," Collins said.

"I might take that idea back, because I quite like it, and I like free enterprise... We certainly do as part of our aid programmes overseas help to fund micro-businesses in other countries."

Collins is the minister for ethnic communities, as well as revenue minister and energy minister, and she spoke at the Manawatu Multicultural Centre.

Other questions from the 50 or so people in attendance focused on education, the lack of employment opportunities for migrants and refugees, what help there could be to maintain cultural identities and language of ethnic communities, and diversity in the police.

Collins talked up the National Party's $503 million package that will see police numbers increase from October.

She also targeted the immigration policies of other parties.

"I'm quite disturbed that there are some political parties that are quite anti-immigration," Collins said.

She described herself as  "a very ethnic person", with English, Irish, Welsh and German ancestry, while her Samoan-born husband David Wong Tung had Polynesian, European and Chinese heritage.

"It's good to remember we are all ethnic in New Zealand," Collins said.

She expressed her "deep and abiding hatred of racism" and said that playing the race card was "one of the most despicable parts of politics". 

"We are a country of about 220 different ethnicities and it is really important that we embrace diversity, and that we encourage people to come to New Zealand for all the right reasons."

Accompanied by Palmerston North National candidate Adrienne Pierce, Collins also visited the Institute of the Pacific United campus in Summerhill and attended a business lunch.

(Source: Stuff)

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Friday 17 February 2017 in Botany, Manukau, Auckland

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