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NZ's Pasifika community needs education sector now more than ever

03 Mar 16

With automation and other factors changing the nature of work, education is more important than ever for New Zealand's Pasifika community, according to Labour’s Future of Work paper.

The paper, which focuses primarily on Pacific Islanders, highlights the fact that education, re-training and entrepreneurship must be key priorities if people are to succeed in the workforce.

“The Pasifika and Future of Work paper released today shows Pacific people have real opportunities but also challenges in the coming years as the nature of work changes,” says Grant Robertson, Labour Future of Work Commission chair.

“With 46% of jobs in New Zealand likely to disappear in the next two decades it is essential that government makes sure the transition is a positive one by planning properly and ensuring Pacific people are a full part of the new economy,” he says.

According to Robertson, Pacific communities have a higher rate of unemployment, poverty levels and lower incomes than the general population. Therefore, it’s essential that the benefits of the Future of Work don’t pass them by, he says.

“Pacific people are over represented in occupations the most at risk of becoming redundant as work changes, such as labouring and machinery operations. Many of these people have no post-school education which is why Labour’s Working Futures policy is so important to help them re-train for new jobs,” says Robertson.

“Education, from early childhood to post-school education and ongoing training should be targeted to the individual to help them make the right choices in the new economy,” says Su’a William Sio, Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson.

“It’s also important to boost the level of self-employment and business ownership among Pasifika from its low level of just 1.6%. It is essential that we work to understand and address the barriers to business ownership. Many Pasifika languish in the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. We must make the most of the coming changes to fix that. We have to think about what to do today to make a better tomorrow.

"I would like to see our community use this paper to debate and generate ideas that will help create a new vision for a prosperous and thriving Pasifika community proudly making Aotearoa New Zealand their permanent home,” he says.

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