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National’s legacy for Pasifika looks bleak

Su’a William Sio
Pacific Island Affairs Spokesperson
MP for Mangere

7 August 2013

National’s legacy for Pasifika looks bleak

The National Government’s legacy will be one of increased hardship for Pasifika people, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.

There are currently 18,100 Pacific people unemployed in New Zealand an increase of 600 since March 2013.

“This hardship cannot be cast aside as a consequence of the global financial crisis or of the Canterbury earthquakes. It is the result of persistent inequality that is going unnoticed by this government.

“The latest Household Labour Force Survey, released today, shows unemployment across the country has risen to 6.4 per cent, from 6.2 per cent in March. For Pacific people unemployment is up from 15.2 per cent in March 2013 to 16.3 per cent.

“National Minister for Tertiary Education Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce, says he is aware of the unique situation many Pacific people face. But under his watch things are getting worse not better.

“Pacific people face an uphill battle. Auckland remains the Pasifika capital of New Zealand and National’s idea that the Canterbury rebuild will lift our Pacific communities out of such stark inequality is at best, wishful thinking.

“The Minister speaks with a forked tongue on Pasifika unemployment. He recently said that ‘An improving economy together with the Canterbury rebuild will help create more employment opportunities for Pasifika’, while in the same breath saying; ‘the Pasifika labour force is much younger than the national average, it has lower average educational attainment, and over-representation in lower skilled industries and occupations’.

“Logic would suggest then, that in a competitive environment, low-skilled, inexperienced workers will find it more difficult to get ahead.

“This Government’s hands-off approach to the economy, coupled with its under-investment in education, skills and trades training is hurting Pacific islanders.

“If Mr Joyce is stuck for solutions, he might like to take a look at his title. He is the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment. If he doesn’t take quick action in those areas, the title ‘Minister of False Hope’ might stick.

ENDS

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