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Achieving the aspirations
of Pacific peoples
By Holona Lui
The Ministry of Pacific Island
Affairs exists to protect and promote the development of Pacific peoples
in New Zealand, so that they will be able to participate in – and
thus contribute fully to – New Zealand’s social and economic
life. The Ministry is the government’s leading provider of advice
concerning the wellbeing of Pacific peoples in New Zealand.
Pacific peoples, like all New Zealanders, came to these shores with the
hope, vision and commitment to working for a better way of life for themselves,
their families and future generations.
Their aspirations, and their underlying desire to contribute and participate
fully in all aspects of New Zealand society is reflected in the Ministry’s
vision – Social and economic prosperity for Pacific peoples.
However, there are significant social and economic barriers that hinder
Pacific peoples ability to achieve their vision and to contribute and
participate equitably in New Zealand society. Currently, Pacific peoples
are still over–represented in the negative statistics for major
social indicators including Health, Housing, Education, Justice and Employment.
The government recognised the need to address this disparity to ensure
that Pacific peoples play a more active role in New Zealand’s future
prosperity, particularly as by 2051 Pacific peoples are projected to comprise
13 percent of this country’s workforce. (Source: Pacific Peoples
Progress Report: Statistics New Zealand/Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs
Pacific capacity building
The government formulated
and implemented Pacific Capacity Building, led by the Ministry of Pacific
Island Affairs, as an approach to help reduce the inequalities that exist
between Pacific peoples and other New Zealanders.
Pacific Capacity Building focuses on a coordinated inter-sectoral approach
to addressing the social and economic inequalities and barriers to participation
that exist in the areas of Health, Housing, Education and Employment.
It contributes to the government’s key goal of strengthening communities
to “ensure that all groups in society are able to participate fully
and enjoy the benefits of improved production.”
In addition, the Ministry is leading a number of future-focused policy
initiatives designed to position Pacific peoples to take advantage of
the opportunities emerging from a modern global economy. These initiatives
will contribute to the government’s key goal of “growing an
inclusive and innovative economy for the benefit of all.”
Participation in the policy
Since their arrival, and
reinforced through the consultation process for Pacific Capacity Building,
Pacific peoples have increasingly come to appreciate the importance of
effective and formal community participation in every aspect of the government’s
policy-making frameworks to help them achieve their aspirations. They
have also come to appreciate the need for Pacific peoples to participate
and be visible in the higher levels of decision-making and leadership
Community and policy interface
The Ministry’s mission
statement is: to be the leader in public policy advice to improve outcomes
for Pacific peoples in New Zealand.
The Ministry provides high quality and timely advice across the whole
of government – that is, to the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs,
other Ministers and government agencies – on issues that have a
significant impact on the lives of Pacific peoples in New Zealand.
As an integral part of its work, the Ministry has developed and strengthened
a comprehensive range of relationships and linkages with Pacific communities.
These relationships help to ensure that the policy advice the Ministry
provides to government on policy and legislative proposals is informed
by and relevant to Pacific communities.
Effective community participation is the underlying principle in the Ministry’s
approach towards achieving its mission statement. In this way, the Ministry
plays a significant role in ensuring that the views of Pacific peoples
are incorporated into the government’s policy making process.
More generally, the Ministry also provides advisory assistance to Pacific
communities and other entities, such as local authorities, whose activities
also have a significant impact on the lives of Pacific peoples.
The Ministry also works to
increase the participation of Pacific peoples in the demographic process
through the provision of advice and support to the Chief Electoral Office,
Electoral Enrolment Centre and Electoral Commission.
Find out more:
Ministry of Pacific Island
PO Box 833, Wellington
Tel: (04) 473 4493
Fax: (04) 473 4301
Pacific youth express their
views on Identity, Leadership and Prosperity as part of the consultation
process during the Free II C Tour.