29 May 2008

Young Pacific population benefits all New Zealanders - Minister

8:17 pm on 29 May 2008

New Zealand's Pacific Island Affairs Minister, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, says the latest census information from Statistics New Zealand shows a young and growing Pacific population offers significant future benefits for New Zealand.

A snapshot of the Census 2006 data shows the Pacific population in New Zealand has increased by 15 per cent since the 2001 Census, to 266,000.

38 percent of them are under 15, compared with the national average of 22 percent.

Luamanuvao says at a time when OECD countries are grappling with issues associated with ageing populations and retiring baby-boomers, these young Pacific people will be a significant portion of the future working population.

Luamanuvao says education data shows Pacific people are upskilling, with 22 per cent of those aged 15 and over having a post-school qualification, up from 17 per cent in 2001.

The data has been released amid ongoing criticism of an academic report that claimed Pacific people were becoming an underclass.