A report from Victoria University highlights the fact that Pacific people are continuing to go backwards under a National Government, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.
“The report shows the largest inequality increases were in smoking, obesity, tertiary degrees, employment, beneficiary recipients, income and internet access.
“In addition, the 2013 Census data shows that more New Zealand-born Pacific people cannot speak their native language. This has decreased for Cook Islands, Niuean, Tokelauan, Samoan and Tongan people by as much as 7 percent since the 2006 Census.
“Senior education lecturer at Auckland University John McCaffery has rightly raised concerns that these languages could become extinct and that the government is shying away from its responsibility to preserve these languages.
“Mr McCaffery is correct to say that the government’s strategy of blaming Pasifika communities for the loss and claiming they must rejuvenate their own languages without support from the Government is a failed one.
“You only need to look at the government’s record on Pacific languages cancelling the Tupu series and Folauga journals and their inadequate Pasifika Languages Strategy and Pasifika Education Plan to see that.
“The government needs to do more to preserve and protect Pacific languages. A Labour Government will do that”, said Su’a William Sio.