The Adolescent Health Research Group’s new report on the wellbeing of young Pacific people shines a spotlight on the Government’s failure to deliver any “brighter future” for them, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.
“Their research shows that the severe economic deprivation experienced by Pasifika youth is directly linked to the housing crisis.
“Community organisations such as Te Puea Marae, the Salvation Army, Lifewise, and the Child Poverty Action Group have all tried to alert the Government to runaway housing prices, unaffordable rental accommodation, and not enough affordable, warm and dry houses.
“The report found that despite the best efforts by our young people and their families, Pacific youth unemployment is 30 per cent. This compares with the national youth average of 16 per cent and this reflects a failure in Government policy.
“I am pleased that despite Pasifika youth living in this challenging socio-economic environment, they have made significant progress and improvements in some areas of wellbeing. This is a testament to our Pasifika youth’s resilience and adaptability.
“The Government must take seriously the concerns raised in this research. We cannot allow young people to continue to grow up in impoverished conditions and expect things to improve for them without positive targeted intervention.
“If we continue to allow this group of deprived young Pacific people to grow, sooner or later, they may react and rebel, and that is bad for everyone,” says Su’a William Sio.