23 Jun 2009

Hundreds of Pacific island children not at school

10:26 am on 23 June 2009

A select committee investigating New Zealand's relationship with Pacific Island countries has been told hundreds of Pacific children don't go to school because their parents are overstayers.

Ben Taufua from the Pacific Island School Trustees Association, told the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee in Manukau City on Monday night that granting overstayers amnesty might help.

He said the committee must deal with immigration issues affecting people from countries such as Samoa and Tonga because their children are suffering.

Makelita Kolo, from the Tongan community, said the children rarely get health care and never use their own name when they see a doctor.

However, select committee chairman John Hayes said the amnesty call is beyond the scope of the committee's brief.