2 Feb 2014

Labour claims backlash over Pacific affairs minister outside cabinet

8:25 am on 2 February 2014

The Labour Party says there is a backlash in the Samoan community over the appointment of Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga as a minister outside Cabinet.

Mr Lotu-Iiga has taken over the Pacific Island Affairs portfolio from Hekia Parata who is ranked 7th in Cabinet.

Labour's Pacific Island affairs spokesperson Su'a William Sio says initial jubilation at the first appointment of a National Party MP of Pacific descent as minister has turned to disappointment with the realisation he remains outside Cabinet.

Mr Sio said it is being seen as an election ploy and a signal National doesn't take Pacific peoples seriously.

He said says many in the Samoan community recognise Mr Lotu-Iiga is well-qualified to be a cabinet minister and are upset that view isn't shared by the National Party.