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Labour's 'vote negative' message to Pacific people

Labour's 'vote negative' message to Pacific people

Rumour spreading and political scaremongering by Labour MP Sua William Sio is not helping Pacific communities realise their true potential says Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.

Mr Lotu-Iiga says Pacific people are tired of Mr Sio’s negative portrayal of Pacific people in the media and the fact Labour themselves do not have a plan for the aspirations of Pacific peoples.

"Mr Sio has been in the media recently criticising the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs (MPIA) and telling us communities are worried whether the Ministry will survive.

"He ignores the fact that Budget 2014 injected over $10 million of resources into the Ministry’s responsibilities. This is the highest budget figure in its history. The funding is 16 per cent higher than last year and 28 per cent higher than what was funded under a Labour Government in 2008," says Mr Lotu-Iiga.

Mr Lotu-Iiga says Pacific people, like all New Zealanders, want higher paying jobs, better educational opportunities and a future independent of the state for their families. He adds that Labour's deficit thinking is unhelpful and counterproductive for Pacific people.

"We need to focus on the many positive things Pacific people are doing and keep working hard to make their dreams a reality. The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs is doing just that," he says.

Mr Lotu-Iiga says Pacific people have been telling him from Invercargill to the far north that they want to see Pacific people take greater advantage of the opportunities this country offers.

"Pacific people want to see a more frontline role coming from our Ministry. We have listened and our Ministry is being reorganised to deliver more frontline engagement.”

Mr Lotu-Iiga says Mr Sio and the Labour Party are out of touch with Pacific families and more importantly their aspirations and goals for the future.

“When I became Minister, I supported the drive of our Ministry to become a more mobile, community focused and results orientated organisation. Our Pacific people deserve nothing less. Budget 2014 provided the funding to make that happen and I do not shy away from wanting to deliver the best for our Pacific people.”

The fact is, no Government has done more for the benefit of Pacific people than this National Government and no Prime Minister has done more for Pacific people than John Key.

Some recent highlights:
· Participation rates for Pacific kids in Early Childhood Education is now at 89.9 per cent, up from 84.4 per cent in 2008. A 5.5 per cent increase.
· We have 71.4 per cent of our Pacific kids achieving NCEA Level 2, up from 51.3 per cent in 2008. That is a 20.1 per cent increase.
· The number of Pacific students in formal tertiary education has increased from 29,753 in 2008 to 35,190 in 2013. An 18 per cent increase.
· More of our young people are becoming qualified with course completion rates at 75 per cent in 2012, up from 60 per cent in 2008. A 15 per cent increase.
· Immunisation rates for our Pacific kids have increased to 95 per cent, up from 63 per cent in 2007. A 32 per cent increase.
· In Budget 2014, we also saw an extension of free doctor’s visits and prescriptions for children under 13, helping up to 40,000 more Pacific kids than the current scheme.
“Mr Sio and Labour ignores the facts, continue to patronise our Pacific people and sink to a new level of scaremongering gotcha politics. However, our Government stands with our Pacific people to deliver on their hopes, dreams and aspirations.

“As Minister, if our National Government are re-elected, I can guarantee the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs will be here ready to serve and continue to promote the ambitions and wellbeing of our people.”

ends

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