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New report shows Pacific people making progress

Hon Peseta Lotu-Iiga

Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
30 May 2014 Media Statement
New report shows Pacific people making progress

An independent report released this week has Pacific people making real progress against national trends, says Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.

This is Home: An Update on the state of Pasifika people in New Zealand was produced by The Salvation Army and focuses on five areas: children and youth, crime and punishment, work and incomes, social hazards, and housing.

“The evidence is clear: our Pacific children are highly engaged in education and our communities are doing better,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga.

“There are higher levels of achievement in education and more youth are leaving school with qualifications.”

Enrolment rates for under-five year olds into Early Childhood Education have increased to 89.1% in 2013. NCEA Level 1 pass rates increased by 15 per cent from 48% in 2008 to 63% in 2012. NCEA Level 2 rates increased by 15 per cent from 54% in 2008 to 69% in 2012. More Pacific kids are also obtaining university entrance up from 32% in 2008 to 43% in 2012.

“These results are encouraging because Pacific students have improved more than their European, Māori and Asian counterparts. In some cases they have doubled and even tripled their rate of increase in achievement in comparison.”

“When levels of academic achievement improve so does the ability of Pacific youth to get better jobs and have the ability to support their families and communities,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga.

“In addition, Pacific youth offending remains below the national average and more Pacific children are staying in school. This means our Pacific kids are more engaged with society.”

The report also stated that the rates of recorded offending by Pacific people fell by 27% over the past five years.

“The progress of Pacific kids can also be attributed to the strength of our Pacific families, churches and communities,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga.

“The report makes it clear that more Pacific people are employed, earning more and coming off the benefit.”

In the last year 7,900 more Pacific people are in jobs and the rate of Pacific unemployment has dropped from 15.2% to 13%. There are 1,675 fewer Pacific people on the benefit and median weekly incomes for those in work have increase from $744 in 2008 to $767 in 2013. This is a change of 3.1%, which is comparable to a change of 3.2% across all ethnicities.

“Opposition parties continue to talk down our Pacific families but this report shows we are on the right track and moving in the right direction.”

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