22 May 2008

New Zealand Government releases figures on Pasifica people it says disproves underclass claim

1:54 pm on 22 May 2008

New Zealand's Minister for Pacific Affairs has released statistics which she says contradict a recent report saying Pacific migration is creating an underclass.

The Massey University discussion paper says Pacific Islanders have the highest unemployment in every age group and higher rates of criminal conviction.

Megan Whelan reports.

"Luamanuvao Winnie Laban says the research is a selective and narrow interpretation of data on Pacific people in New Zealand. She says Pacific people make significant contributions to the economic, cultural and social life of New Zealand. Luamanuvao says recent research shows that Pacific people in fulltime employment are increasing their hourly earnings at a faster rate than other groups, and 58 per cent of Pacific women are in fulltime work, despite 41 per cent of them having three or more children. She points out that nearly a third of young Pacific people are taking part in tertiary education, and over 82 per cent of the recent Pacific migrants have a school or post-school qualification. She says New Zealand is built on migrants, who make an enormous contribution to the country."