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Community input key to New Zealand Pacific Economy report

A new Treasury report on the contribution of Pacific peoples to the New Zealand economy shows the good work emerging from the Treasury’s consultation with Pacific communities, says Secretary to the Treasury Gabriel Makhlouf.

The New Zealand Pacific Economy report was launched by Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio at the Pacific Aotearoa Summit in Auckland today.

"The roots of this report lay in the ongoing engagement between the Treasury and Pacific peoples around the country since 2016," says Mr Makhlouf.

"In December 2017 we formed a joint project with the Pacific Business Trust to better understand the contribution that Pacific communities make to New Zealand’s economic wellbeing. The New Zealand Pacific Economy is the first report to establish quantitative and qualitative information on what Pacific New Zealanders’ contributions are to the economy, from a living standards perspective."

Research results from the report indicate Pacific individuals and businesses work in a wide range of industries, contributing $8 billion to the New Zealand Gross Domestic Product (GDP) using the income measure. The spending of Pacific households, providing for fanau living and engaging in the communities of Aotearoa contributed $10.4 billion to the expenditure measure of the nation’s annual GDP.

On the production side, there is approximately 1,500 Pacific business employers and 500 not-for-profit organisations with assets totalling $8.3 billion. Arising from these assets, the total production GDP (or value added) of Pacific in New Zealand was estimated to be $3.1 billion annually.

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Participants in the qualitative research reflected the view that GDP is a limited measure of what constitutes value. Some of the people interviewed advocate taking into account broader measures of what contributes to GDP, including cultural capital, spiritual wellbeing, and voluntary unpaid work that build social and community cohesion and intergenerational wellbeing.

"The New Zealand Pacific Economy report confirms that while small in numbers, Pacific New Zealanders are active in almost every area of the New Zealand economy. It also recognises the important role that Pacific businesses, NGOs, charitable trusts and churches make to the economy and to the spiritual and cultural lives of Pacific New Zealanders," says Mr Makhlouf.

"The report has provided us a rich source of information that we know will be useful, in both policy and operational terms, for many government departments and agencies at national and regional levels. It also challenges us to consider how much more Pacific peoples could achieve for themselves and for the country, if we were to work together to reduce the inequities and barriers hindering achievement in critical areas such as education, health, housing and employment to name a few.

"We intend to analyse the findings of the report in more detail and to explore with our colleagues across the public sector, ways in which we can maximise the strengths that Pacific New Zealanders have shown through the data we now have."

Integrity Professionals (IPRO) conducted the research in The New Zealand Pacific Economy report in collaboration with BERL and the Central Pacific Collective. The research steering group comprised the Treasury, the Pacific Business Trust, the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

The New Zealand Pacific Economy report is available on the Treasury website: https://treasury.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2018-11/nz-pacific-economy-nov18.pdf

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