8 Feb 2013

Govt condemned over Pacific job losses

10:27 am on 8 February 2013

Unions representing Pacific workers are condemning the loss of 15,600 Pacific jobs last year as unacceptable and an indictment on the Government.

The number of people in work in New Zealand fell by 23,000 in the final three months of 2012, driving the proportion of working age people with a job down to its lowest level in a decade.

Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey released on Thursday showed that Pacific unemployment rose to 16% - more than twice the national rate.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says those figures are shocking and unacceptable.

Jerome Mika, spokesperson for the union's Komiti Pasifika, says many Pacific families are struggling on reduced incomes, or have moved to Australia.

Mr Mika says people are desperate to find jobs and it is time for the Government to front up and help them.

The First Union says employers of Pacific workers have cut jobs to the bone and are moving to casual and part-time work.

The union's Pasifika convenor, Terry Tuiletufuga,says many Pacific people are having to work several part-time jobs to earn one income.