Tuesday, May 15, 2012

But English works in Wellington!

An amusing item on TV3 news [start at 10.30] on Sunday night looked at the efforts of the Wellington-based Ministry of Primary Industries'attempts to provide information about the Queensland fruit fly to people attending the Avondale market. A couple of things stand out. For a start, there's Minister for Primary Industries David Carter trying desperately to sound like he actually has faith in the biosecurity system the government has run down over the last few years. Then there's the fact that his eyebrows nearly fly off his face in surprise when he notes that "in the area we found the fruitfly, we've found there are quite a lot of nationalities..." No shit. Mt Roskill/Avondale doesn't have the same ethnic and socioeconomic make up as central Wellington, then. Maybe some of those government types should leave the beltway more often.  
Noting that perhaps pamphlets should have been in languages other than English, market manager Robb Kemp says they should have been in Mandarin or Cantonese, or some previously unknown language called Polynesian. We think he meant Samoan and Tongan (there's others, but they're the main ones). 
And finally, there's the fact that if you look closely at the clip, it doesn't just show a multi-cultural Auckland; it shows almost no white people apart from the man from the Ministry, the Minister himself, the reporter and the guy who runs the market. 
This gives us a glimpse as to why policies dreamed up in rich, white, skinny Wellington fail so dismally in the parts of Auckland that are predominantly poor and brown. Just for next time (because there will be a next time), this photo shows how many languages in which the Ministry might need to consider printing information.

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/western-leader/3213234/The-best-of-the-bunch-in-west-Auckland  

Or maybe this would be easier: