The Minister of Pacific Island Affairs can boast all he wants about changes to employment statistics for Pacific people but the reality for many Pacific people is nowhere close to National’s promised brighter future, Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.
“While everyone welcomes the slight improvements in unemployment figures, the fact is that at 11.4% Pacific unemployment is still higher than for Pakeha, Women, Maori and Asian groups.
“Unemployment is even worse for Pacific youth aged 15-24 years at 23.8%.
“The work by the Auckland Action Against Poverty in the last 3 days in Mangere has highlighted just how out of touch National is with the plight of many local unemployed and working Kiwis. Not only are families struggling to put food on the table doing part-time casual work, but they are also been penalised by WINZ imposed sanctions.
“This is terrible treatment for people who are desperate through no fault of their own other than they are not getting their fair share of the economic improvements this government is talking up.
“The HLFS shows almost 100,000 kiwis are underemployed, people in work that require more hours, and more than 236,000 are jobless.
“The evidence is clear from our communities that when National says they are working for all New Zealanders, the people of Mangere know that they are really only working for their rich mates.
“We know that only 177 individuals and families on the NZ Rich list collectively increased their wealth by $3.3 billion to a combined total of $ 51.2 billion dollars. That’s more than 20% of the NZ gross domestic product.
”The reality for many Kiwis is despite their hard work life is just plain tough. That’s why Labour is focussed on providing better working opportunities and higher wages. We will support families with young children and make sure all our children get the best start in life.”