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Strengthening Pacific peoples' communities

The Government is investing more than $10.2 million over four years in the Budget to fund a series of community development and employment initiatives for Pacific peoples, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey announced this evening.

Mr Maharey was speaking to a meeting of Pacific peoples' community representatives from the Wellington region organised by Labour list MP Luamanuvao Winnie Laban. The three new programmes funded in the Budget are designed to support Pacific peoples to find their own solutions to economic and social disparities.

"Addressing the social and economic gaps experienced by Pacific peoples is a key goal for the Government. We want to work with Pacific peoples' community organisations to identify and invest in programmes which meet their needs.

"The emphasis is on partnership and recognition of the powerful leadership that exists in the Pacific Island community. Budget 2000 begins this process.

"We are investing $10.2 million over four years to support the Pacific community to develop social service and economic and community development programmes which respond to local challenges.

"The three programmes announced today are a component of the Government’s overall strategy for closing the gaps for Maori and Pacific communities. These programmes are:

Pacific Organisational Development: $1.70 million this year ($6.92 million over four years) to provide assistance with administrative skills, leadership training, IT and infrastructure development for Pacific community organisations.

Pacific Peoples’ Provider Development Fund: $500,000 this year ($3.11 million over four years) to develop services that are more responsive to the needs of Pacific families, children and young people.

Evaluation of Pacific Peoples’ Provider Development Fund: $0.225 million over two years to evaluate the success of the Fund in improving outcomes for Pacific Peoples. This will allow a better understanding of the types of assistance Pacific providers need to meet the needs of Pacific children, young people and their families.

"These programmes will provide real opportunities for community-based Pacific peoples' organisations to deliver social services and community development programmes. This Government recognises the effectiveness of social services delivered by Pacific providers for Pacific peoples, Steve Maharey said.

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