21 May 2010

Tonga group in NZ says PI population let down by NZ budget

1:13 pm on 21 May 2010

The Tongan Advisory Council in New Zealand says the government's tax changes are meaningless for most Pacific Islanders in the country.

In its budget yesterday, the New Zealand government announced it will introduce tax cuts for people in all income groups from October.

It will also raise the tax on goods and services from 12.5 percent to 15 percent.

The chairman of the Tongan Advisory Council, Melino Maka, says most Pacific Islanders will not reap any benefit from the changes because the population's average wage is 24,000 New Zealand dollars a year.

He says the rise in GST will cancel any gain for Pacific people already on the economic margins.

"The budget is what I call robbing Fiona to pay John. And it's really, if you are a low income, then there's no prospect for you unless you happen to earn 70 thousand dollars a year."

Melino Maka from the Tongan Advisory Council says he wanted to hear more specific details about training opportunities for Pacific Islanders.