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Pacific Unemployment down a third in Auckland

27 September 2004

Pacific Unemployment down a third in Auckland

“Work and Income’s Pacific Wave strategy has seen the number of Pacific people on Unemployment Benefit in Auckland reduced by a third,” said Taito Phillip Field, Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment today.

“Since the launch of the strategy in July last year, the number of Pacific people on Unemployment Benefit has dropped by 1,983 to 3,549.

“The two-year strategy is well on its way to achieving its target of halving Pacific unemployment in Auckland by the middle of 2005,” said Taito Phillip Field.

“Work and Income staff have done an outstanding job in achieving a 35.8 percent reduction in the first year to June 2004. This exceeds the 25 percent reduction they were aiming for.

“I am delighted at this result. Behind these figures are real people with real families for whom employment is making a big difference in their lives.

“Work and Income is also making every effort to ensure people receive the assistance they need to stay in work.

“Work and Income’s Pacific Wave unit, along with the specialist Pacific case managers based in service centres, is helping people with positive pathways to sustainable employment so that they do not need to apply for Unemployment Benefit.”

The Pacific Wave strategy takes a holistic approach to increasing the number of Pacific people in work.

“It’s about ensuring Pacific clients get the training and job opportunities they need. It also aims to prevent people from needing to apply for Unemployment Benefit and helping those already in work remain employed,” said Taito Phillip Field.

The strategy also involves: Specialist case management Helping school leavers make the transition to work Promoting work opportunities ahead of benefit entitlements Working with communities and employers to raise awareness of Work and Income’s employment assistance

“The strategy has been particularly successful in helping young Pacific clients into work. In June 2003, 773 Pacific clients aged 16 to 19 were receiving Unemployment Benefit, Independent Youth Benefit or Unemployment Benefit Training. By the end of June 2004, this number had reduced by 36 percent to 492 clients. The focus on young Pacific clients will continue over the next twelve months,” said Taito Phillip Field.

“Work and Income will also continue to partner with the Pacific community, employers and service providers to ensure the rate of unemployment amongst Pacific people overall continues to fall,” concluded Taito Phillip Field.

ENDS

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