Pacific Island Affairs briefing released

Published: Tue 16 Dec 2008 11:10 AM
Hon Georgina te Heuheu
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs
16 December 2008
Media Statement
Pacific Island Affairs briefing released
With one in ten New Zealanders projected to be Pacific by 2026, it is essential for New Zealand’s future that Pacific people are well-educated, skilled and playing their part economically, culturally and socially.
In releasing the Pacific Island Affairs Briefing to the Incoming Minister, Mrs te Heuheu says; “In contrast to the ageing baby boomers who characterise the population at large, the Pacific population is young and growing. Projected population growth shows they will be a larger and more important component of the future workforce.”
“The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs has undergone significant change in the past 18 months. It has streamlined both its staffing and its focus, zeroing in on the ‘vital few’ issues which will make the biggest difference for Pacific people. Its priorities are lifting Pacific peoples’ incomes, and ensuring strong families and communities.
“Its inaugural briefing to me identifies better educational performance and skills training as the critical first steps in bringing about greater economic participation for Pacific peoples.
“Investing in and committing to education can increase employment, raise wages and improve the level and relevance of skills. It can also build new role models, exposing the next generation of Pacific children to a greater range of career and educational choices.
“If Pacific peoples’ incomes rise to 96 per cent of those of non-Pacific by 2021 then the economy benefits by an extra $4-$5 billion.
“The Ministry has also defined strong Pacific families and communities as a priority. The Ministry is committed to supporting, developing and valuing Pacific peoples’ cultures and heritage, which it does through its Mind Your Language web-based projects, and the role-modelling and mentoring Pacific Starmap website.
“The Ministry is doing some valuable work in lowering remittance costs between New Zealand and Pacific countries, which would benefit the economies of both. It was also seeking to increase the number of Pacific apprentices.
“The Ministry is, of course, a relatively small agency with a small budget so as well as observing these priorities in its own work it has developed a framework to enable larger Government departments and agencies to focus their policies and programmes for Pacific peoples.
“I am looking forward to working with the Ministry. As Minister I am responsible for ensuring that its work reflects the Government’s priorities for New Zealand.
“Its inaugural briefing suggests a good fit as we work together to enable Pacific New Zealanders to contribute to the dynamic and prosperous nation we all aspire to.”
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