Pacific Minister Hekia Parata’s denial that she has cut funding from her Ministry’s Budget is an insult to Pasifika people desperately seeking the brighter future her Party promised, says Labour’s spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs Su’a William Sio.
“The Minister’s argument that Budget 2013 ‘appears’ funding-lite, only because Budget 2012/13 was buffered with underspends, is weak.
“If the Minister’s best defense is to say there were two years where funding went unspent then the Ministry really is in trouble.
“What has her Government being doing for Pacific people in the past two years, or the last five years for that matter?
“Budget documents back to 2009 paint a pretty grim picture. In 2011 there was not a single new policy initiative and the only fresh idea in 2012, was a cut to the tune of $187,000.
“If Pacific Island Affairs really is a priority portfolio money would have been allocated and smartly spent.
“Instead, we are seeing our fastest growing population suffer. Today, the situation Pacific communities’ face is far worse than it was five years ago. The recently released Salvation Army report is testament to that.
“We need a Minister who will stand up and defend Pacific people as staunchly as she defends her own reputation,” Su’a William Sio said.