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Education, housing, health for Pacific people

Hon Georgina te Heuheu

Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
28 May 2009

Education, housing, health for Pacific people

Pacific people will benefit from several Budget 2009 initiatives, including significant extra funding for education, housing and health, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu says.

“The Government is investing heavily in education, including $36 million in Budget 2009 to help students meet national standards in literacy and numeracy.

“We want to ensure that every Pacific child can read, write and do maths. As a community we need to inspire our children to achieve. Teaching them the basics is the first step.”

The Government is focused on increasing Pacific children’s participation in early childhood education. From 1 July next year, all five year olds will be eligible for 20 hours of early childhood education each week.

“Budget 2009 also provides significant extra money for housing, which will be available to Pacific families,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

More than 180,000 New Zealand homes will have access to grants for insulation and clean heating over the next four years, as part of a $323.3 million investment in household energy efficiency.

And community housing services receive $40 million over the next four years – a large part of which will be invested in upgrading Housing New Zealand properties.

“Pacific families will be among the first to benefit from the National-led Government’s urban regeneration initiative – the Tamaki transformation project,” Mrs te Heuheu says.

“Almost half the population in this part of Auckland identify with one Pacific Island group.”

With employment, Pacific workers can increase their skills through the New Zealand Skills Strategy, which includes literacy, language and numeracy skills, trade skills, technical skills, and degree level qualifications, as well as specific management and leadership skills.

In health, the Government is focused on improving child health, reducing obesity and smoking, and improving access to appropriate health services for Pacific people, Mrs te Heuheu says.

“Pacific people will be a particular focus as we work towards ensuring diabetes and cardiovascular targets are achieved equally for all population groups.”

ENDS

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