Budget 2018 to improve the lives for Pasifika people

The Coalition Government’s focus on transforming the way we collectively work to improve the lives of New Zealanders by prioritising health, education and housing in Budget 2018 will improve the lives of Pacific families, says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.

Ministers Sio, Sepuloni, Salesa and Finance Minister Grant Robertson spoke this morning at a Pacific community meeting in Auckland to outline how Budget 2018 will contribute towards improving the wellbeing of Pacific peoples in New Zealand.

“The significant investments announced for health, housing, education and in reducing child poverty will directly benefit Pacific peoples. These investments are the first steps in our plan to turn around a period of underfunding for these critical public services,” says Aupito William Sio.

“Budget 2018 lays the foundations for the future; Pacific people are the fastest growing and youngest population in New Zealand – combined with Maori, our people will play a key role in shaping the future of New Zealand’s economy.

“The significant investment of new spending in education with $1.6 billion over four years for schools, early childhood education and 1,500 new teachers, along with the Families Package from 1 July, will all benefit Pacific families.

“Our focus on improving access to core health services will also benefit Pacific peoples. The extension of free general practitioner (GP) visits to all under-14 year olds is a significant investment in children. The roll out of lower GP fees for people with Community Services Cards and their children, as well as an expansion in who is eligible for the Card, means that approximately 15,500 more Pacific people will be eligible for very low cost fees for primary health care.

“The Government’s multi-billion dollar investment into building public housing and affordable homes through KiwiBuild will benefit Pacific people and help clear a pathway to increase Pacific home ownership. I will be working with my Ministry to ensure that Pacific people are contributing to the solutions being worked on by the Minister for Housing and Urban Development to fix the housing crisis. A new insulation programme for low-income home-owners will make our homes healthier, making them better environments to raise our children.

“My Ministry is working hard in collaboration with the Pacific Business Trust and the Treasury to define the Pacific Economy, which we will use as a foundation to build upon to achieve greater prosperity and success in the key pillars of health, housing and education.

“The message from our meeting today with the Pacific community highlights that the Coalition Government is committed to improving the wellbeing of Pacific peoples.  Budget 2018 is just the start as we build foundations for our future.

"That's why in November my Ministry will gather our Pacific leaders - men, women and our young people, to finalise a new Pacific Vision, where we identify specific streams of work that will strengthen foundations for achieving vibrant, prosperous and resilient Pacific peoples in the future, including identifying how to recognise the importance of our languages and cultures and passing it onto future generations,” says Aupito William Sio.