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MSD engaging with Pacific grass-root communities

Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment

1 April 2008
Media Statement

MSD engaging with Pacific grass-root communities

Pacific Employment Project Fono held in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington over the last week have provided the opportunity for the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to interact with grass root communities, promoting effective dialogue and exchanging ideas for the future, Pacific Island Affairs Minister and Social Development and Employment Associate Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban said today.

"Under our Labour-led government Pacific unemployment has continued to fall, dropping from 12.2 per cent in December 1999 to 4.7 per cent for December 2007.

"We want our Pacific peoples to enjoy the gains from remaining in paid work, and we want to see them moving up the career and remuneration ladder. The focus of the Pacific Employment Project is on achieving long term sustainable employment outcomes for Pacific peoples – and who better to ask than the communities themselves," Laban said.

Initial fono held in February with Pacific communities looked at ways of working together to develop solutions for the future economic development of Pacific peoples.
At fono held over the last week, MSD have reported back to the communities on initiatives to meet their needs, with a commitment to continuing engagement.

"Our government is committed to increasing the economic potential and prosperity of Pacific people in New Zealand and last year launched the Pacific Economic Action Plan and the Pacific Women's Economic Development Plan. A highly skilled and versatile Pacific workforce is a goal of the plans, which form part of the Labour-led government's Economic Transformation agenda.

"An example of a programme in place is currently being run by MSD. Its aim is to increase participation of Pacific women in nursing, by providing flexible, tailored foundation learning and English language training to women who hold nursing qualifications gained in Pacific in countries. A partnership has been formed with District Health Boards in Auckland and Wellington to employ these women with further pastoral care provided to ensure that they remain in employment.

"MSD and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs are collaboratively working together on improving communication of government initiatives with our Pacific communities. I'm very supportive of this engagement to utilise the enormous potential of our Pacific peoples," Laban said.

ENDS

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