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Supporting Pacific Peoples through a COVID-19 recovery plan

Supporting Pacific Peoples through a COVID-19 recovery plan

  • 17 May 2020
  • |
  • COVID-19

The New Zealand Government is backing the country’s Pacific communities with a $195 million package to support their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Pacific package is part of the $50 billion COVID-19 response package announced in the May 14 Rebuilding Together Budget 2020.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio says Pacific communities are always among the hardest hit whenever there is an economic downturn.

“Budget 2020 will help to rebuild the Pacific economy so Pacific peoples are not left behind, and missing out on jobs and business opportunities,” the Minister says. 

Budget 2020 will also help reset how we engage with Pacific churches and community organisations, generate more community innovation, embrace digital education and build on the gains from the 2019 Budget as we fight against COVID-19, he adds.

The Minister is a firm believer of Pacific people needing to lead the work of recovery, so they can quickly provide security for their families with sustainable incomes, jobs, and homes to keep everyone safe.

Funding for Pacific focused initiatives announced in Budget 2020 include:

  • A Pasifika Culture and Heritage Fund to enable festivals to continue to provide platforms of opportunities to the festival ecosystem ($12.0 million)
  • Progressing the establishment of a New Zealand Fale Malae ($10.0 million)
  • Toloa - Empowering Pacific participation in STEM ($4.9 million)
  • Expansion of Tupu Aotearoa programme across New Zealand ($13.9 million)
  • Developing Pacific community content ($1.7 million)
  • The Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund ($3.0 million)
  • The Auckland Pacific Skills Shift – an initiative that supports Auckland Pacific peoples in low skilled precarious work, to transition into quality employment ($22.1 million)
  • Pacific education initiatives will be announced soon by the Associate Minister of Education, Hon Jenny Salesa (up to $80.2 million)
  • Improving housing for Pacific families and communities (up to $41.3 million). 

With her Building and Construction Minister hat on, Minister Salesa explains Budget 2020 will help move more Pacific workers into more quality jobs including in building and construction.

“The Auckland Pacific Skills Shift will partner with Auckland businesses to help 5000 Pacific people gain micro-credentials on the job in industries like building and construction,” she says.

“This programme takes a whanau and community-centred approach to overcome the barriers many Pacific peoples experience in moving to higher-skilled jobs.”

Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, and Associate Minister for Pacific Peoples Carmel Sepuloni says Pacific festivals are an integral part of New Zealand’s cultural calendar, ensuring people stay connected to their language and culture, while supporting all New Zealanders to experience what makes New Zealand a unique place in the Pacific. 

“It is important we ensure their sustainability going forward and to recognise the significant part that Pacific communities play in supporting New Zealand’s overall arts, culture and heritage sector,” Minister Sepuloni says.

The Government is committed to supporting the establishment of a New Zealand Fale Malae based in Wellington, which supports the contribution of the Fale Malae Community Trust and the investment from Victoria University of Wellington to date.

It recognises there is an opportunity to promote New Zealand’s Pacific heritage by creating a Pasifika-focused space to be shared and enjoyed by all New Zealanders.

“The Ministry of Arts Culture and Heritage will work with key stakeholders to commence detailed planning of the feasibility of this project as soon as is practicable,” Minister Sepuloni says.

Rebuilding our economy needs to provide Pacific peoples with the opportunities for redeployment, skills development training, and business engagement so they can quickly recover and support their families.

The Tupu Aotearoa programme is a vital part of that rebuilding process and this programme will be expanded across New Zealand into new regions and will extend services to Pacific people of all ages.

Minister Sio explains the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou Goals are the guiding template used by the Government to ensure the Pacific package for 2020 strengthens the foundation which has started to be built from previous budgets.

“It is now more important than ever before, that we work quickly and at pace, to achieve our collective vision of a confident, thriving, prosperous and resilient Pacific peoples,” Minister Sio says.