20 May 2013

Growing Pacifica inequality in New Zealand draws criticism

1:57 pm on 20 May 2013

A New Zealand Pacific parliamentarian has criticised New Zealand's Minister of Pacific Islands Affairs for failing to stem growing inequality.

Labour's spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs Su'a William Sio says budget cuts to the Ministry will only increase pressure on a community already suffering high unemployment, low incomes and growing inequality.

Su'a says in this year's budget the Government has slashed over $700,000 US dollars from the Ministry - a poorly-timed cut for an agency tasked with lifting outcomes for New Zealand's fastest growing population.

He says too many Pacific people are unskilled, unsupported and not reaching their potential, and cuts by the Minister, Hekia Parata, will further undermine efforts in areas like education and business-skills training, where significant gains have been made.

Su'a says although the government has denied there are plans to disestablish or merge the Ministry, the nine percent funding cut suggests it is being set up to fail.