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Assistance For Pacific Job Seekers

August 8 2010 - Following the bad results for Pacific Islanders in the latest New Zealand Employment Statistics the New Zealand Government has announced a million-dollar package for Pacific job seekers, including targeted work programmes.

The 2010 Pacific Strategy recognises the major impact of the recession on Pacific families and is intended to channel resources towards them. It is a multi-pronged approach with a focus on:

  • skills training
  • work experience
  • proactively approaching employers for jobs for Pacific people

According to Social Development Minister Paula Bennett:

"National is determined to help Pacific people, especially youth into work and this Strategy provides the skills and support necessary to do that. We will have dedicated case managers working with Pacific people, building up their skills and confidence and literally promoting them to employers," says Ms Bennett."

Associate Social Development Minister Tariana Turia commented:

"This is an important investment in the potential of Pacific people, to contribute to their communities and the wider nation."

Two streams target Pacific youth:

  • The four week Pacific Youth Project provides help with CVs, confidence building, interviewing skills, how to look for a job and get a drivers license.
  • The 14 week Pacific Multi Service Project is focussed on preparation, work experience and placement into a job.

Paula Bennett said:

"Young people are really disadvantaged in a tight job market, so gaining job search skills and work experience will make a real difference to Pacific youth."

"Iím pleased this Strategy for all Pacific job seekers, including youth will mobilise Work and Income to proactively find jobs for our Pacific people," said Tariana Turia.

The Pacific Strategy is aimed at South and West Auckland where over 70% of the Pacific population live. s in so that is where .

Not surprisingly, Winnie Laban, Labour's Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson, attacked the initiative:

"After months of Paula Bennett and Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu doing nothing to help ease the dreadful plight of Pacific people, suddenly Ms Bennett has come up with a million dollars the day after the Government revealed unemployment skyrocketed by 12% in the past quarter.

"A million dollars, three months after the funding was first announced as part of a small employment fund in the Budget, is better than nothing, but it works out at less than $100 a person for the 11,500 unemployed Pacific people.

"Less than $100 a head, while marginally better than what National has provided so far, is not going to buy many of what Paula Bennett calls 'targeted work programmes'."

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