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Pacific Prosperity Conference

8 November 2005

Pacific Prosperity Conference emphasis is on economic development not funeral expenses

The Pacific Prosperity Conference's prime focus is on economic development says the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.

The Ministry says the conference is about trying to positively influence the attitudes and mindsets of Pacific peoples and wider New Zealand towards getting ahead economically and financially.
The average weekly income from all sources for Pacific peoples is $412, compared with $471 for Maori and $637 for Europeans. (Source: NZ Income Survey (June Quarter 2005) Statistics New Zealand)

A recent report which appeared in the Sunday News on 23 October 2005 said issues such as funeral expenses will be discussed during the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs' Pacific Prosperity Conference under a Rethink Culture theme.

"While the issue of funeral expenses might be raised by delegates, the emphasis of the article has created a mis-understanding about what the conference is actually about," says Holona Lui, Ministry communications manager.

"Regrettably, there are also a number of inaccuracies in the article, which misquotes me without the reporter actually having spoken to me."

"Pacific peoples are not trying to avoid the issues around of the challenges of cultural obligations, but it is important to realise that the Conference is about discussing wider issues for Pacific peoples' economic advancement in New Zealand."

These issues are likely to feature in the discussion that will take place under the five conference themes. These are Dare to Lead, Rethink Culture, Grow Skills and Talent, Create Capital and Reach for the Stars.

"The real point of the conference is looking at what can be done to advance Pacific people economically. So they can participate fully in the opportunities New Zealand has to offer, particularly in the new and emerging hi-tech and ideas industries."

"It is about building on and harnessing the strengths and talents of Pacific peoples as opposed to continually focusing on a deficit based approach," says Holona.

"How we might do that, is what the Ministry hopes will come out of the conference to inform our policy advice for Government to consider."

For more information on the Pacific Prosperity Conference visit the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs website: www.minpac.govt.nz

ENDS

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