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Young Pacific population benefits all NZers

29 May 2008 Media Statement

Young Pacific population benefits all New Zealanders

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban has welcomed Statistics New Zealand's release of QuickStats About Pacific Peoples saying a young and growing Pacific population offers significant future benefits for New Zealand.

A snapshot of the Census 2006 data shows the Pacific population in New Zealand has increased by 15 per cent since the 2001 Census. At the 2006 Census there were just under 266,000 Pacific people, 38 per cent of whom were under the age of 15, compared to 22 per cent of the overall New Zealand population.

"At a time when OECD countries are grappling with issues associated with ageing populations and retiring baby-boomers this offers us some significant advantages as our young Pacific people will be a critical part of our future workforce,” Laban said.

"Education data shows we are upskilling, with 22 per cent of those aged 15 and over having a post-school qualification, up from 17 per cent in 2001."

Laban said while Pacific people are undertaking higher education there is no room for complacency, as we still have too many young people leaving school with no formal qualification, with only a slight improvement against this measure since 2001.

"The government's Schools Plus initiative which will see all young people engaged in school or some other form of education, training, or structured learning until the age of eighteen will particularly benefit our Pacific young people.

The data also shows that Pacific people were improving their economic status and contribution with the median income increasing by 38 per cent over five years.

"While Pacific peoples are admittedly starting from a low base this is a pretty big increase and show's we are moving in the right direction. Through the Pacific Economic Action Plan and the Pacific Women's Economic Development Plan the government is focusing on areas of development to encourage Pacific people to move into higher income and higher skilled jobs," Laban said.

"The enormous contribution of Pacific peoples is of benefit to all New Zealanders, and this data shows that this will only increase in the future," Laban said.

ENDS

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