Labour launches Pasifika package
Pacific Island Affairs Spokesperson
19 November 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Labour launches Pasifika package
Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio today launched a complete package of policies for the Pacific Island community.
“Pasifika people have been hit particularly hard during National’s three years in government. Unemployment in our community has doubled and at 14.4% is more than twice the national rate (6.6%). Pasifika youth have borne the brunt of National’s inaction on jobs, with 41% of 15-19 year olds out of work,” Su’a William Sio said.
“New Zealand has a youthful Pacific population which is all too often afflicted by underachievement in the workforce, in health and in educational outcomes.
“Children and young people are our future. We must invest in advancing their economic, cultural and social wellbeing for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
“Labour has announced policies which will ease the pressure on middle and low income families, such as increasing the minimum wage to $15 hour, making the first $5000 a person earns per year tax free, and taking GST off fresh fruit and vegetables.
“A Labour Government will also crack down on loan sharks, whose predatory lending is a continual setback for Pacific communities.
“Labour will make education, jobs, skills, health and housing a priority and strengthen leadership within the Pacific Island community to build a collective vision for Pacific people in New Zealand.
“Under Labour, educational achievement will be a priority. Labour will reverse funding cuts to ECE, reinstate the policy of 100% qualified staff in all teacher-led services, and support Pacific literacy, research, and bilingualism by restoring the Pacific Education Plan (PEP).
“Only Labour has a cohesive plan to get people into skills training and employment. Labour will provide an additional 5,000 fees-free training places for 16 and 17 year olds over three years including 1,000 places with a Pasifika mentoring element. We will create an additional 10,000 new apprenticeships and every at-risk 15-19 year old will either be in skilled training or the workforce
“Health is a basic prerequisite for any New Zealander to be able to reach their full potential,” Su’a William Sio said. “Under National too many Pacific children are in poor health. This is primarily an issue of access and expense.
“Labour will extend free access to after-hours medical services, meaning 24 hour, seven day a week, free access to healthcare for all children under six. Labour will also speed up the process for residency applicants and encourage Pacific families living illegally in New Zealand to regularise their immigration status so that their children have access to all available entitlements.
“Labour is committed to income-related rents for state housing tenants. National has not made this commitment which could lead to hundreds of dollars a month extra in rent payments.
“Labour’s policy package ensures Pacific people can thrive and achieve successful prosperous futures. Preserving and promoting Pacific languages, culture and tradition through a whole-of-government Pacific Languages Strategy, heightened representation in our broadcasting policies, and an annual Pacific Forum are a part of a cohesive plan to achieve this vision,” Su’a William Sio said.