The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio.
“If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad things have become for the majority of Pacific people, then he’s not going to be an effective advocate for real solutions in the National Government.
“It’s disturbing that the median weekly income for Pacific, adjusted for inflation, has fallen by $52 a week from $512 in 2008 to $460 in 2014. Overall the Pacific unemployment situation is more than double the national rate at 11.7 per cent and rising
“I think Pacific communities would be extremely disappointed if he simply follows the pattern of sweeping things under the carpet, using weasel words, side-stepping, dodging responsibility and not provide clear-cut targets with timelines aimed at improving the day to day lives of ordinary New Zealanders.
“While he trumpets that fewer Pacific women are now unemployed than last year, the facts are that the Coalition for Equal Value, Equal Pay has shown is that the pay gap ratio for Pasifika women compared to all men has worsened to 69.9% in 2014 from 72.4% in 2013.
“The Minister fails to realise that the Pacific women he refers to in the workforce are concentrated in the health and education sector in caring, cleaning and cooking roles, many in casual part-time jobs, earning the minimum wage.
“It is this workforce that will be harmed the most by the effects of the anti-worker legislation that his government passed last week giving legal powers to employers to opt out of bargaining, not to negotiate in good faith, and removing smoko breaks,” says Su’a William Sio
“How can the Minister be proud of these ugly facts that continue to worsen under this Government?”