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Social Report Positive for Pacific People

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban
Associate Minister of Pacific Island Affairs

08 August 2006
Media statement

Social Report Positive for Pacific People

The Ministry of Social Development report, The Social Report 2006 - Indicators of Social Wellbeing in New Zealand, has highlighted some real gains in wellbeing for Pacific peoples as well as areas where we still have some way to go say Pacific Island Affairs Minister Phil Goff and Associate Minister, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

"The report demonstrates areas of real advance for Pacific peoples in education, employment and lower housing rental costs", the ministers said.

"Pacific outcomes are improving faster than outcomes for the general population in participation in early childhood education, the number of school leavers with higher qualifications, higher rates of employment and greater housing affordability.

- The participation rate for Pacific children in early childhood education has increased from 76.1 percent in 200 to 84.5 percent in 2005.

- Pacific school leavers with qualifications higher than NCEA level 1 rose from 53.7 percent in 1996 to 61.5 percent in 2004.

"Improvements in both of these areas are really important for the future", the ministers said.

- The unemployment rate for Pacific people which peaked at 28 percent in 1991 has fallen dramatically to 6.1 percent in 2005. Employment has risen from 54.8 percent in 1996 to 61.8 percent in 2005.

- Household spending on housing has also dropped significantly. Pacific households spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing dropped from 40 percent in 2001 to 22.5 percent in 2004. This reflects the introduction by Housing New Zealand of income related rents, a direct result of Labour led government changes.

"The report also highlights the fact that in some of these same areas, further progress is still needed.

"While Pacific peoples have experienced an increase in real median hourly earnings between 1997 and 2005, they still have lower real median hourly earnings than Maori or Europeans.

"Tertiary educational attainment levels of the adult Pacific population have increased substantially since the mid 1990s but despite this gain, only 7 percent of Pacific people had tertiary qualifications. This level needs to increase further.

"This report highlights some real gains in key areas made by Pacific peoples in New Zealand and most importantly validates the efforts to date of government agencies working to improve the lives of Pacific peoples. The report also performs a valuable function in allowing government to gain a clear picture of where work is still required", Mr Goff and Luamanuvao Laban said.


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