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Nothing new for Pacific under National

15 October 2008

Nothing new for Pacific under National

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban said National's one page Pacific Affairs policy seems like an afterthought, offering nothing new for our Pacific communities.

"I know National is not known for their substantive policy, but it would have been good to see some detail about the specific policies they have developed for our Pacific New Zealanders. It seems they don't have any.

"National recognises the real and positive difference Labour policies like Working for Families, Paid Parental Leave, 20 hours free early childhood education, and investment in Pacific early childhood education programmes have made to our Pacific families – as they are keeping them all – and they would retain the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

"Although I'm not sure how they would work with potential coalition party ACT, as Rodney Hide has said if he were part of the government he would get rid of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

"Labour is committed to maintaining the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and its whole of government approach, as we know that a strong Ministry has a positive effect not just on their initiatives but across government and throughout our communities.

"Pacific peoples have made great advances under Labour. We've seen a dramatic reduction in unemployment (from 12,300 in 1999 to 1,401 in June 2008) and education and income levels are improving.

"Unlike National, Labour looks forward to building on these gains to develop a fairer, more prosperous, sustainable New Zealand where our Pacific families and communities can continue to thrive."

Laban also noted that according to the National Party website today's release is one of only three releases that the opposition spokeswoman has released in 2008.

"Even during an election year it seems that Pacific peoples are low on National's agenda.

"Labour has always been, and will continue to be, committed to our Pacific communities and their future wellbeing. Labour is the party of choice for our Pacific people, with five Pacific candidates, and a Pacific Island Minister of Pacific Island Affairs."

ENDS

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