22 May 2010

Little in budget for low waged Pacific people

9:43 am on 22 May 2010

Several groups representing the interests of Pacific Islanders say the budget will not help Pacific peoples.

They say that is because incomes are too low for people to realise any real benefit the budget's tax changes.

Richard Pamatatau reports.

"The chairman of the Tongan Advisory Council says most Pacific Islanders will not reap any benefit from the budget's tax changes because the population's average wage is 24 thousand dollars a year. Melino Maka says the rise in GST will cancel any gain and for poor people and the budget amounts to little more than a money shuffle. The Vice President of the Northern Division of the women's group Pacifica says Pacific women will continue to bear the brunt of economic hardship and the budget has not addressed that."

Josephine Bartley says Pacific women earn well below the national average and will continue to struggle despite lowered tax rates.

An independent tax specialist Maurits van den Berg says people earning more than 70 thousand dollars a year will have more cash in their pockets but that does not apply to most Pacific Islanders.