20 Feb 2009

Forum says young Pacific Islanders need more support

6:00 am on 20 February 2009

A Pacific fono held on Thursday to garner ideas for the upcoming big employment summit is pushing for more support for young Pacific Island people hurt by the global recession.

About 30 Pacific Island community representatives and business leaders met at the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs in Wellington.

Those attending the summit were concerned at how young Pacific people, who are often unqualified, will fare during the economic crisis.

They say more needs to be done to ensure young people get the training and skills they need.

Auckland Samoa Advisory Council spokesperson Fuatamalesa Phil Tago says jobs lost in New Zealand will also affect the Pacific Island nations because many Pacific people send money to relatives.

Social policy professor Marilyn Waring says the Pacific population has an enormous contribution to make and the summit must recognise their strength as good, collaborative workers.

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu wants to hear ideas that will keep people in work or help them find new jobs as redundancies rise.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party has criticised the meeting for not inviting its MPs to be part of the discussions.