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Jobs the key for Pacific peoples

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs

2 September 2005 Media Statement

Jobs the key for Pacific peoples


Labour will continue to focus on getting Pacific peoples into jobs, said Prime Minister Helen Clark and Pacific Island Affairs Minister Phil Goff at the launch of Labour’s Pacific Development policy in Auckland this morning.

Helen Clark said Pacific people are a growing part of New Zealand’s workforce, and over the next two decades the numbers of Pacific peoples will increase markedly.

“At the 2001 Census, Pacific peoples comprised under five per cent of the workforce. By 2051, Pacific people are projected to comprise 13 per cent of New Zealand’s total workforce. It is vital that Pacific peoples are receiving the education and skills training which will allow them to participate fully in the labour market.

“Significant progress in terms of Pacific peoples’ employment has been made during Labour’s two terms in government.

“In June 1999, the annual average unemployment rate for Pacific peoples was 14 per cent. In June 2005, it was 6.7 per cent. We have seen the positive impact of targeted programmes, such as the Pacific Wave Strategy, which has helped to halve Pacific unemployment in Auckland.

Education is the gateway to better qualifications, better jobs, and higher incomes. Higher incomes mean better housing, improved health, and more security in old age. Education is the key which unlocks all this. We need to do all we can to encourage young Pacific people to enrol in tertiary education.”

“During our third term, Labour will continue to focus on developing education and skills. We will promote the attainment of higher qualifications for Pacific school-leavers and address obstacles that impede their success. We will also encourage more Pacific peoples into Modern Apprenticeships and Industry training by promoting awareness, access, and support for those considering apprenticeships.”

Phil Goff said another important focus for Labour is to develop more entrepreneurial and managerial skills in the Pacific community.

“Pacific entrepreneurs are succeeding but there are still far fewer people from the Pacific community who start their own business and undertake managerial roles than the national average.

“Partnering services are important in bringing new business people together with existing skills and expertise. Ensuring that Pacific Business Trust services are well linked with localised mainstream economic development agencies, such as Business Porirua and Bizgrowth, will enable more Pacific business people to get started in business, and reach a broader cross section of the Pacific community.”

Phil Goff said Labour will also continue to promote Pacific language and culture through supporting Pacific early childhood education centres, the development of Pacifica curricula in schools, and the promotion of Pacifica language and culture through the arts and broadcasting, such as Niu FM.

He also said that health status is critical in every community.

“Labour will continue to promote early intervention by helping Pacific peoples access health services when they need to; addressing financial constraints, and monitoring the new primary health care package to ensure that it is effectively meeting Pacific needs.”

Phil Goff said National’s suggestion that the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs could be incorporated into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed its absolute ignorance of the roles the two agencies play.

“The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs deals only in domestic issues. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has no involvement and no expertise in this area. The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs plays a valuable role in giving our Pacific communities a voice in policy development, which National would destroy.”

ENDS

PASIFIKA DEVELOPMENT

LABOUR’S VISION

Labour recognises the special relationship New Zealand has with its Pacific neighbours and those who live here. Pacific peoples have contributed significantly to New Zealand’s labour force and cultural diversity. They have an essential contribution to make to our economic and social development.

Labour seeks to address the particular needs and aspirations of Pacific peoples.

Labour recognises the inherent value and opportunities presented by the richness and diversity of Pacific peoples in New Zealand. We want full participation of Pacific peoples in New Zealand society. Labour believes that economic independence for Pacific individuals and communities is vital to New Zealand’s success. Labour will provide support and encouragement for Pacific peoples to realise their potential to contribute to, and be reflected in, New Zealand’s economic, social, and cultural fabric. This will involve a whole-of-government approach, supporting Pacific peoples to identify, create and seize opportunities.

LABOUR’S ACHIEVEMENTS

Social and economic development

Labour has:

- Increased the minimum wage six times in six years.

- Introduced paid parental leave. Pacific peoples made up six per cent of the 40,000 recipients of Paid Parental Leave from 1 July 2002-03 June 2004.

- Improved the lives of low and middle-income families with children through Working for Families.

- Reduced Pacific unemployment from an annual average rate of 14.0 percent in June 1999 to 6.7 per cent in June 2005.

- Launched the Pacific Wave Strategy in Auckland. Pacific Unemployment in Auckland had subsequently fallen 52 per cent by June 2005.

- Launched the Pacific Youth Development Strategy in Auckland that aims to deliver positive life change and affirmation for Pacific Youth in Auckland.

Health and disability issues

Labour has:

- Given New Zealanders access to cheaper doctors’ visits and subsidised prescriptions through Primary Health Organisations. Over 90 per cent of Pacific peoples are now registered with a PHO.

- Developed the “Pacific Health and Disability Action Plan” through the Ministry of Health’s Pacific unit, setting direction and actions for improving health outcomes for Pacific peoples, and in reducing inequalities.

- Funded the Counties-Manukau District Health Board to lead the development of a National Pacific Diabetes Framework together with a national diabetes steering committee.

- Evaluated the health of Pacific peoples through Tupu Ola Moui: The Pacific Health Chart Book 2004 and released the first dedicated report on the mental health of New Zealand’s Pacific population, Te Orau Ora: Pacific Mental Health Profile.

Culture, Language and Broadcasting

Labour has:

- Launched the Cook Islands Maori curriculum.

- Launched the Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education Pasifika).

- Increased the number of students involved in Pacific-medium education by 17.6 per cent since 2003.

- Funded Niu FM, New Zealand’s first national Pacific Radio network, providing $12 million over the next four years as part of Budget 2005. The network now reaches 85 per cent of the Pacific population from Whangarei to Invercargill.

- Allocated through New Zealand On Air almost two million dollars this year to fund programmes that reflect New Zealand’s unique Pacific Islands diversity.

Education

Labour has:

- Encouraged the growth of Pacific Early Childhood Education services from 67 services in 1999 to 96 Pasifika services presently.

- Introduced Modern Apprenticeships and increased the numbers of Pacific peoples undertaking these and other Industry training to rise from 4,033 in 2000 to 7,672 in 2004.

Housing

Labour has:

- Reintroduced income-related rents for state house tenants.

- Invested over $2 billion since 1999 to reinvigorate state housing, increase home ownership assistance and support the third sector deliver housing.

- Launched Samoan and Tongan language versions of the tenant guide “What to do when you’re renting” in 2004.

- Increased state housing stock by 5,745 homes since December 1999.

- Allocated, through Budget 2005, an additional $134 million over the next four years to provide 1300 new homes for those in need. That funding will help reduce waiting lists and waiting times in areas of high housing demand.

Immigration

Labour has:

- Made changes to ensure the Samoan quota and Pacific Access Category can be filled. The changes include speeding up the verification of job offers, the reduction of minimum income required for family applicants, and the appointment of relationship managers to focus on identifying and establishing employment opportunities for prospective quota migrants.

LABOUR’S PRIORITIES

Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs

Labour will:

- strengthen the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs' role in ensuring the legitimate needs and concerns of Pacific people are heard and taken into account by all ministries and departments, so that Pacific people can contribute to the New Zealand community to the fullest extent of their potential.

- ensure appropriate monitoring and accountability regimes in the public sector to enable transparency of processes and evaluation of outcomes achieved for Pacific peoples.

Foreign Affairs

Labour will:

- strengthen and support social, economic, and trade development in the Pacific; give Pacific aid recipients the support to make better use of their aid and improve their trade delivery.

- engage with Pacific communities living in New Zealand in terms of Pacific aid, economic development and trade delivery.

- Continue to strengthen the Treaty of Friendship with Samoa

- Continue to support the Pacific Plan as developed by the Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Providers and the Pacific communities

Labour will:

- promote greater engagement with the Pacific communities through high quality providers and programmes which are properly evaluated as being effective.

- facilitate engagement with and encourage Pacific women to fully achieve their economic, social and cultural potential.

Social/Economic Development

Labour will:

- encourage the development of entrepreneurial and managerial skills in the Pacific communities. Pacific entrepreneurs are succeeding but there are still far fewer people from the Pacific communities who start their own business and undertake managerial roles than the national average.

- promote higher incomes through skills development. Pacific incomes, while improving, still lag behind other sections of the community. Better education and skills development are key to improving incomes and living standards.

- Foster links between Pacific Business Trust services and local mainstream economic development agencies such as Business Porirua and Bizgrowth, to support Pacific people into business, and to ensure that a broader spectrum of the Pacific community is reached.

Culture, Language and Broadcasting

Labour will:

- continue to invest in the arts within the Pacific communities to promote the richness of Pacific culture and the opportunities for employment in the creative sector.

- promote the preservation of Pacific languages within New Zealand to ensure that children of Pacific origin have the opportunity to retain the language and culture of their forebears. In particular, Labour will support the development and implementation of the Niuean, Tokelauan, and Tongan curricula.

- promote Pacific broadcasting and encourage more Pacific peoples to get involved in the production of Pacific programmes, based on the strong record of Pacific success in the arts.

- Continue and strengthen New Zealand broadcasts, both radio and television, to the Pacific

- Continue to support and enable Pacific people to develop laws and international instruments for the protection and use of traditional knowledge

Education

Labour will:

- promote the attainment of higher qualifications for Pacific school-leavers and address obstacles that impede their success.

- monitor existing school student support and career services and engage schools with community mentoring and study support services for Pacific students.

- continue to support Spacifically Pacific career expos.

- encourage more Pacific peoples into teaching to provide active role models in the school environment, as well as playing a part in preserving Pacific culture and arts.

- encourage Pacific people to stand for and contribute to Boards of Trustees.

- promote engagement with Pacific parents and members of the community.

- encourage more Pacific peoples into Modern Apprenticeships and Industry training by promoting awareness, access, and support for those considering apprenticeships.

- continue to raise Pacific ECE participation rates.

- continue to encourage Pacific ECE centre licensing, and encourage more Pacific ECE professionally trained teachers.

Health

Labour will:

- increase our Pacific health workforce by encouraging more Pacific peoples into the health professions.

- increase the access to, and use of Pacific for Pacific health providers.

- promote early health intervention by helping Pacific peoples access health services when they need to, addressing financial constraints and monitoring the new primary health care package to ensure that it is effectively meeting this need.

- promote oral healthcare so that Pacific people get dental treatment to standards matching the national average.

- conduct a survey of Pacific health users in the community and produce a dialogue of their personal experiences with the health system in New Zealand.

Housing

Labour will:

- work in partnership with the Pacific communities and Pacific for Pacific providers to address the relatively low rate of Pacific home ownership.

- promote greater awareness within the Pacific communities of the assistance available through the Government's new KiwiSaver scheme, and through the Mortgage Insurance schemes which will help up to 8000 lower income New Zealanders each year into their first homes.

Immigration

- Labour will ensure that changes to the Samoan quota and the Pacific Access Category achieve the objectives of filling the quotas and achieving the best possible settlement outcomes.

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