24 Feb 2016

NZ govt defends Pasifika employment efforts

8:27 pm on 24 February 2016

The New Zealand government says the number of Pacific people not in employment, education or training decreased last year.

Outgoing Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

This comes after the opposition Labour party said Pasifika workers are over represented in occupations at the most risk of disappearing.

Labour's spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs Su'a William Sio warned inequality would continue to grow if Pasifika people and the government were not prepared for predicted changes to New Zealand's workforce.

According to the Pacific People's Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, labour market figures showed last year, the rate of Pacific people not in employment, education or training decreased from 17.9 per cent to 16.2 per cent.

He said this signalled that government initiatives such as Pasifika Trades Training and Count Me In were working well.

The figures added to recent employment figures which showed the number of Pacific people in employment reached an all-time high in December 2015 to 130,700.

In addition, the minister claimed the Trans-Pacific Partnership would open up a new world of opportunities for Pacific people in New Zealand.

He said existing businesses that employ Pacific people would be able to expand, there would be new business opportunities Pacific people could tap into, and new industries would emerge as a result of New Zealand's economic growth.