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Government’s Pacific 0800 number will not work

Government’s Pacific 0800 number will not work

The announcement by the government for a “Talanoa 0800 campaign” for Pacific communities to seek help when they are having issues with loans is nothing more than politicking in election year, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs Spokesperson Su’a William Sio and Consumer Rights and Standards Spokesperson Carol Beaumont.

“This is the second time the National Government has launched an ‘information awareness’ programme using a 0800 number. The first time hardly anyone used it, as it simply doesn’t work for Pacific people. They prefer talking face to face in confidence with places like the Citizens Advice Bureau or community budgeting services.

“National and the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs should be embarrassed with themselves for continually talking up what they were going to do to improve legislative protection for Pacific consumers since coming into office since 2008, but they have done nothing to improve the situation”, says Su’a William Sio.

“The Government’s Credit Contacts and Financial Services Law Reform Bill introduced in April 2013 with the aim of controlling loan sharks is too late for the stress and financial pain that Pacific families have faced and the failure from the government to act has left vulnerable families at the mercy of predatory loan sharks”, said Carol Beaumont.

“The Government voted against Carol’s member’s bill in 2010 which would have provided responsible lending provisions and interest caps. It is shameful that they have not prioritised protections that would help many Pacific families, said Su’a William Sio.

“It is high time that the government looks at the wider issues facing Pacific people. You only have to look at the median weekly income for Pacific peoples which fell from $455 in 2008 to $381 in 2013 and the high 13.7% unemployment rate. These are the issues the government is simply ignoring.

“The government has failed to listen and protect Pacific families from loan sharks and just because it is election year is far too late to hastily come up with a 0800 number that will not work for the Pacific community.”


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