26 May 2017

NZ govt. disputes claim that budget failed Pacific people

4:21 pm on 26 May 2017

The New Zealand government has disputed an opposition claim that its budget failed Pacific people on housing.

New Zealand MPs (from left) Louisa Wall, Su'a William Sio and Carmel Sepuloni.

New Zealand MPs (from left) Louisa Wall, Su'a William Sio and Carmel Sepuloni. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

The budget was revealed yesterday in Wellington, and Labour's spokesperson for Pacific people, Aupito Su'a William Sio, said it will increase inequality.

Aupito said housing was the biggest issue facing Pacific people which the budget did nothing to address.

He said that rather than tax cuts, Pacific people needed a budget that improved education, health and housing.

"The home ownership rates for Pacific are at its lowest," said Aupito.

"The overcrowdedness that I see in my electorate and parts of South Auckland - it's just tearful."

Aupito said the tax cuts favoured people on high incomes, "rather than those who needed it the most."

"It also means that people living in garages, peope living in cars become normalised."

But the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Alfred Ngaro, said the Labour Party's claims were "quite simply wrong," and that the budget included "a great deal to help families with housing."

He said an additional $205 million for social housing as well as increases to the accomodation supplement would help low income Pacific islanders.

Mr Ngaro also noted "the Government's plans to build 34,000 more houses in Auckland."

Minister of Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro

Minister of Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro. Photo: RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins

"The Family Income Package, in particular, will make a big difference for many of our people. We've set aside $2 billion to provide better rewards for hard work, to help lower-income families with young children meet their living costs, and improve incomes for those with high housing costs," said Mr Ngaro.

"It's great to see increases in health funding, particularly in those areas that Pacific people are disproportionately affected by, such as bowel cancer and mental health issues," he said.

Mr Ngaro said the budget also increased funding to his ministry by three million dollars over four years for research and policy development.