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Government Departments Will Help P.I.s

Office of Hon Mark Gosche
Minister of Transport
Minister of Housing
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
Member of Parliament for Maungakiekie

Media Release

17 January 2000


Public sector co-operation key to improving status of Pacific peoples

Unprecedented public sector departmental co-operation is aiming to deal with the poor socio-economic status of Pacific people, according to a briefing paper released by the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs today.

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Mark Gosche said that the previous Government’s lack of commitment to Pacific Island issues had worsened the socio-economic status of Pacific peoples in New Zealand. He said the briefing papers from the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs indicate that Pacific peoples are suffering in all facets of society.

“Pacific people are disproportionately over-represented in unemployment figures, the prison population and the level of educational under-achievement. Low income levels are reducing access to home ownership and adequate housing, and the disparity between the health status of Pacific peoples and the general population is unacceptable,” he said. “The previous Government has done nothing substantial to solve these appalling statistics, and in fact their policies and lack of interest has made the situation worse.

“However, in spite of the previous Government’s lack of commitment, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs has worked with other Government agencies to develop the Pacific Vision Strategy, a comprehensive and co-ordinated strategy to improve Pacific outcomes as a result of the Pacific Vision conference held last year.

“Eleven Government agencies have signed up to the Pacific Directions Report, the third phase of the Pacific Vision Strategy, agreeing to specific targets and deadlines that they will work towards to improve Pacific outcomes. This level of public sector co-operation to improve the socio-economic status of Pacific people is unprecedented.”

“Pacific peoples are the fastest growing population in New Zealand, and their future is the future of New Zealand. That is why the start our children get in life is so important. Early childhood education is the foundation of the educational and social development of our young people.

“As Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, it will be a priority for me that Pacific children get into early childhood education to ensure that they are not disadvantaged from the very beginning of their school life.”

ENDS

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