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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 2002.)

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 process

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 roles.

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.

Civic participation

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 Affairs
PO Box 833, Wellington
Tel: (04) 473 4493
Fax: (04) 473 4301
E-mail: contact@minpac.govt.nz
Web: http://www.minpac.govt.nz

  

 

Pacific youth express their views on Identity, Leadership and Prosperity as part of the consultation process during the Free II C Tour.