Our Ethnic Communities Development Fund (ECDF) supports ethnic communities to grow their skills, celebrate culture and take part in society. We value your feedback about the Fund and take any complaints about it seriously. 

We will assess all complaints and work quickly to resolve them. We will make sure any complaints are managed sensitively, fairly and in accordance with our ECDF Complaints Process.  

We will use this process as an opportunity to learn and improve our services.

What complaints are covered? 

Complaints can be received about funding decisions and organisations which have received ECDF funding or are being considered for ECDF funding. We assess all complaints to determine:

a. whether we have a mandate to act

b. whether the issue(s) raised falls outside our statutory mandate, or would be better dealt with by another regulator, public body or law enforcement agency.

We consider complaints which are about ECDF decisions and ECDF recipients (an organisation which has received an ECDF grant). 

We are authorised to consider the following complaints:

When an organisation which has applied for funding disagrees with the funding decision

When a funding decision did not follow the operational policies (purpose, policy and criteria)

For example:

  • The grant awarded did not meet the purpose or align with a priority of the Fund
  • A grant of over $10,000 was awarded to an organisation without legal entity status and the exception to this requirement does not apply
  • There is evidence that the recipient organisation does not have the appropriate governance to support the size and complexity of their grant project
  • There is evidence that the recipient organisation has not complied with all relevant laws, regulations and other legal obligations 
  • The grant was awarded for an excluded item.

When the grant recipient did not comply with the terms and conditions of a particular grant

For example:

  • The grant was not spent within 12 months of the grant being approved
  • The grant was not used for the purpose(s) approved by the Ministry
  • The grant recipient did not return any unused portion of the grant
  • The grant recipient has not completed a results report by the due date
  • The grant recipient failed to notify the Ministry of any changes that affected the organisation’s ability to deliver the project before the grant was fully used
  • The grant recipient failed to notify the Ministry if any of the grant money was stolen or misappropriated or
  • The grant was spent on an excluded item.

What is not covered?

We cannot consider matters outside of those listed above. The management of the ECDF follows the operational policies and procedures set by the Ministry for Ethnic Communities. It is not bound by any legislative mandate. 

Organisations which receive an ECDF grant must follow the grant’s terms and conditions. They are not bound by any legislative mandate.

In some cases, we may suggest you refer your complaint to another organisation, such as a regulator, public body or law enforcement agency.

We will not investigate unsubstantiated allegations, rumour or opinion.

How to complain

Email your complaint to the ECDF team at ecdf@ethniccommunities.govt.nz.

Please include the following information:

  • Full name 
  • Postal and email address 
  • Contact telephone number 
  • Other relevant contact details 
  • Full details of the complaint - what happened, dates and any relevant supporting documents (e.g. emails) 
  • The outcome you are seeking 
  • Preferred method of contact (letter, email, phone)

The complaint process 

Complaint received

We will aim to acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days.

Early resolution 

We will contact you to discuss your complaint and try to resolve it. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may wish to pursue the complaint process. 

Resolving complaints

If your complaint is not something we can consider, we will let you know. 

We will aim to resolve complaints within 10 working days when possible. We will email you to inform you of our decision. 

If your complaint is justified, we will apologise, try wherever possible to put the matter right and take steps to make sure it does not happen again.

Escalating complaints

If you are dissatisfied with the response received as an outcome of making a complaint, you may refer your complaint to the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Ethnic Communities for further consideration. 

You should provide details of why you are dissatisfied with the initial outcome. 

Please send in writing to: 

Chief Executive


Ministry for Ethnic Communities

PO Box 805

Grant Thornton Building

215 Lambton Quay

Wellington Central

Wellington 6011

Or by email to complaints@ethniccommunities.govt.nz using a subject line Chief Executive, Complaints.

Complaint escalation will be acknowledged within 5 working days of receipt. 

You will be informed of the action taken, and the expected time before resolution.

Unacceptable actions 

We understand that people sometimes act out of character when they are stressed or upset. In some cases, people may act in an unreasonable manner. 

We consider the following behaviour as unreasonable:

  • Persisting to pursue a complaint when we have decided not to take further action
  • Refusing to accept our final decision
  • Not clearly identifying the issues you want investigated
  • Holding views not supported by evidence or irrationally interpreting facts and laws
  • Threatening staff
  • Insisting on outcomes which are disproportionate to the issues raised.

These complainants can significantly impact our workload, meaning we are unable to respond effectively to other complainants.

We may: 

  • firmly state that we will take no further action
  • arrange appropriate times with the complainant for when they can phone, who they can call, and for how long 
  • require the complainant to define their issues of complaint or clearly organise the information they have submitted
  • refuse to deal with further complaints that are not supported by evidence.

We will not tolerate abusive behaviour towards staff. This includes verbal abuse.

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