7 Jun 2012

Population explosion looms in Pacific, parliamentarians warn

5:36 pm on 7 June 2012

The chairperson of a cross-party group of New Zealand parliamentarians says the Pacific is heading for a population explosion if teenagers don't get access to sexual health and reproductive services.

The New Zealand Parliamentarians' Group on Population and Development is meeting on Monday to discuss the issue with members of Pacific governments and NGOs.

Dr Jackie Blue says there seems to be a lack of focus on the area in a region that is predominantly youthful.

"You look at those youthful populations and if the youth of the Pacific don't get access to good sexual reproductive health services and education, that population's going to explode in the next generation or two and the environment in their own country wouldn't be able to sustain greater population. It's actually urgent, it's more than urgent."

Dr Jackie Blue says the centrality of religion to Pacific cultures makes working with church leaders an essential part of ensuring young people are educated about sexual health.