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Financial education welcomed in Pacific communities

Financial education welcomed in Pacific communities 

The Pacific Families and Problem Debt Report, released by the Families Commission today, examines the impact high levels of debt are having on Pacific families and communities.

The research, conducted in conjunction with the Families Commission and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, identifies a number of the reasons why some Pacific families get into debt. It provides insight into behaviours of finance lenders, student loan schemes, and church donations, all of which contribute to the high debt levels of some Pacific families.

Families Commissioner, Dr James Prescott, says there is a significant imbalance between affordability and cultural practice which often carries with it the obligation to give money. He says this imbalance is leading to reoccurring and unaffordable debt levels for some Pacific families, and this is holding Pacific communities back. 

However Dr Prescott says one of the main findings of the report is that, while people are often unable to seek help for themselves, they welcome help when it’s offered.

“Because the report identifies the reasons and motivations behind debt, it will help agencies deliver more targeted approaches to financial literacy and numeracy training. For example, the report identifies that a whole-of-family focus is required to resolve issues, and to be effective, any intervention needs to recognise the critical role of Pacific women in managing the family finances.”

The report highlights the influential role of the church in Pacific communities and its potential to take a lead in awareness raising and encouraging families to take advantage of the support services available, and to live within their means. 

The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Pauline Winter, says the report provides the opportunity for agencies to work with Pacific communities to respond to the issues and needs arising from the research.

The launch was held at the Samoan Methodist Church with the support of local church leaders.


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