23 May 2008

New Zealand Pacific business agency disappointed at lack of bold moves in Budget

6:24 pm on 23 May 2008

The New Zealand Pacific Islands Chamber of Commerce was hoping for money for developing skills of Pacific Islanders in this year's budget.

In this week's budget, the New Zealand government revealed an increased spending in health, education and workforce development.

The Chamber chair says handouts are not the answer for the Pacific Island population which earns well below the national average and bold moves are needed.

Ulu Aiono says without structural change, wages can't increase and because Pacific Islanders are already often low earners the tax cuts won't make a big impact.

"In order for wages for Pacific Islanders and Pacific Island employers to really meet the demands of rising food prices and fuel prices. We were looking overall for a much bigger investment in lifting productivity."

Ulu Aiono says the government has missed the economic boat with only 25 per cent of the overall budget going into business initiatives.