The new Minister of Health is displaying an appalling lack of responsibility by walking away from an outbreak of mumps in Auckland during the Rugby League World Cup, and the consequent spread into the Pacific Islands, National’s Dr Shane Reti and Alfred Ngaro say.
Associate Spokesperson for Health, Dr Reti and Pacific Peoples Spokesperson Alfred Ngaro are concerned at the current outbreak that is affecting several hundred Aucklanders – especially young Pasifika people – and the likelihood Pacific Island players and officials that were here during the recent tournament may have been exposed.
When asked whether he will take responsibility for mumps caught by the Pacific Island players in Auckland during the tournament, David Clark said “individual countries are responsible for their own immunisation programmes”.
“The Minister seems to be saying he doesn’t care if visitors from the Pacific take mumps back to vulnerable people when they return home,” Dr Reti says.
“There are currently 1,600 recorded cases in Tonga. Is the Minister saying that the complications of this disease such as deafness, sterility and meningitis don’t matter in Pacific Island people?”
New Zealand will provide $1 billion in aid to the Pacific in the three years ending next June, much of it aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of people in the Pacific Islands.
Mr Ngaro says it’s unclear whether the Minister has even placed a phone call to the Tongan Ministry of Health to offer any assistance.
“I think New Zealanders would expect our Government to help prevent the spread of diseases the Pacific Islands – especially if they are driven by an outbreak in New Zealand.
“The Minister could call his Tongan counterpart, offer passenger arrivals and departures information and maybe even look at how we might help their vaccination programme.
“With a new aid triennium being planned we’re calling on the Government to place the necessary funding to support vaccination programmes for our near neighbours,” Mr Ngaro says.
“New Zealanders enjoyed the vibrancy the Tongan rugby league team brought to our shores - now let’s meet our responsibilities for keeping them safe and well.”
“The Minister stood and acknowledged the visiting Pacific Island delegation in Parliament yesterday, now he needs to stand up and acknowledge some responsibility to them for mumps caught in New Zealand,” Mr Ngaro says.
The Government must mark today’s International Volunteer Day with a strong commitment to supporting this vital sector, National’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson Alfred Ngaro says.
“Over a billion people around the world give up their time and skills to volunteer every year – and that includes 1.2 million New Zealanders.
“There are over 114,000 Not for Profit Organisations in New Zealand and volunteers contribute about $3.5 billion in labour every year. That includes two organisations that we rely on to help us during times of great need - it’s easy to forget that 80 per cent of our fire service and 70 per cent of St John’s ambulance staff are all volunteers.
“National recognises the sector is the backbone of the country and in this year’s Budget our Government allocated record funding in recognition of that contribution.
“Kiwis are extraordinarily generous and that spirit of generosity should be supported by Government.
“My challenge to the new Government is to further streamline the sector and remove the barriers around accessing the funding that many of these organisations need. I’d like to see the new regime encourage and foster greater efficiencies so that every single dollar raised or hour worked is maximised to its greatest potential,” Mr Ngaro says.
To mark the day Mr Ngaro is encouraging Kiwis to get out and offer their time to the organisation of their choice.
Some of New Zealand’s most talented young Pacific scholars can now apply for prestigious scholarships Minister for Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro says.
The 2018 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships are now open.
“Eight of New Zealand’s brightest young Pacific students will receive a Government scholarship to pursue their dreams,” Mr Ngaro says.
The scholarships of up to $25,000 each are paid over three years and awarded to Pacific students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at a tertiary level. Students also receive mentoring while they are studying.
“This is the third year that these scholarships have been available and having seen the standard of academia in the past two years I’m excited to see even more of that potential coming through in this year’s applications.
“We know that there is so much potential amongst our young people and these scholarships represent an opportunity to recognise our best and brightest and inspire even more of our young people to aspire to greatness.
“I’d encourage any Pacific student who wants to pursue a career in STEM to apply.”
The scholarships are part of a broader programme to get more Pacific students involved in STEM subjects. The Toloa Kenese Schools programme and the Toloa Community Fund also encourage Pacific young people to consider a career in STEM.
Applications for the Toloa Scholarships close on Wednesday 15 November 2017.
For more information visit mpp.govt.nz
Minister for Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro today welcomed an initiative from the Pacific Business Trust which will help young entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
The innovative new programme, called Hatch, is a partnership with Massey University and in its first year will support up to 20 of the most talented young Pacific people to build sustainable businesses.
“Back in the islands our people run the businesses but in New Zealand Pacific people only make up 4.1% of businesses in New Zealand,” says Mr Ngaro.
“The innovation is there, especially amongst our young people, we just need to tap into and support it.
“The Hatch programme also reflects the ambitions of the Government’s Pacific Economic Strategy for more sustainable Pacific-owned businesses.
“That’s why I’m thrilled that Pacific Business Trust has spotted this gap in the market and partnered with Massey University to create an innovative programme that will grow our young people and help develop the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst our people.”
Further information about the programme is available at hatchbiz.co.nz or through the Pacific Business Trust at pacificbusiness.co.nz.
An official launch of the programme is set for 25 October 2017.
Organisations building leadership and capability in volunteering, social enterprise and the community have been recognised with funding, says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
Six organisations have received a share of the $500,000 available under the Community Leadership Fund.
“The Community and Voluntary sector makes a massive contribution to New Zealand every day,” says Mr Ngaro.
“This is only the second year the fund has been available and recognises the support, capacity building and guidance that many of New Zealand’s community leadership groups provide.
“This year we were able to fund six organisations including some of New Zealand’s most innovative and forward thinking not-for-profits.”
The recipients of this year’s Community Leadership Fund were:
o Akina Foundation - $80,000 to support core operations
o Ara Taiohi Incorporated - $100,000 towards stage two of their Youth Sector Leadership Project
o Hui E! Community Aotearoa - $100,000 to support core operations
o Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector Research Centre Incorporated - $80,000 to support core operations
o Te Whare Hukahuka – $40,000 to support core operations
o The Inspiring Communities Trust - $100,000 to support core operations
More information can be found at www.communitymatters.govt.nz.
‘Oku pehē ‘e he Minisitá ‘a e Potungāue ma’ae Kakai Pasifikí ko ‘Alfred Ngaro, ‘I he ‘uike ni, ‘e fakamamafa’i ‘a e makehe ‘ange ‘a e Faiva Faka-Tongá, Hiva Faka-Tongá, Lea Faka-Tongá pea mo e Anga Faka-Tongá.
The uniqueness of Tongan dance, song, language and culture are highlighted this week says Minister for Pacific Peoples, Alfred Ngaro.
‘Uike Katoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga (Tongan Language Week) runs this year from Sunday 3 to Saturday 9 September.
“Tongan’s have a great competitive spirit and they’ve shown this again through their language celebrations this year,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Instead of the usual week, this year the community decided to celebrate the language for an entire year with ‘Uike Katoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga a particular highlight.
“I’d like to encourage other kiwis to take on some of that Tongan spirit this week and challenge each other to try speak, cook or even dance like a Tongan.
“Teki is a popular move in Tongan dance and I’d love to see people giving it a go this week and sharing their efforts on social media with the hashtag #teki.
“Whether it’s exchanging your normal hello or kia ora for mālō e lelei, trying some lu sipi or checking out one of the events happening across the country there are lots of ways to get out and celebrate lea faka-Tonga (the Tongan language) and anga faka-Tonga (Tongan culture).”
The theme for the week is “Fakakoloa Aotearoa ‘Aki’ A e Nofo ‘A Kainga” or in English, “Enriching Aotearoa with our Family values”.
The official opening ceremony of Uike Katoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga will be held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum tonight from 5.00pm to 6.30pm.
Further information about Uike Katoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga including a calendar of events and language resources can be found at www.mpp.govt.nz and the Ministry for Pacific People’s facebook page.
Over 190 local Palmerston North families will be helped into a warm, dry place to stay through the Government’s social housing plans for the city.
“We’re building 70 new social houses, which is on top of the 1436 social houses we have in Palmerston North right now. Our plans for 30 short-term transitional housing places will benefit 120 local families every year,” Social Housing Minister Amy Adams says.
“We’ve made a commitment to help New Zealanders with housing when times are tough, and our plans for Palmerston North will help families in need into a warm, dry place to stay.
“We’re on track to have all 30 short-term transitional housing places available by the end of the year, and expect to see the 70 new social houses coming on board over the next three years.
“Housing New Zealand are currently reviewing their stock and vacant land across New Zealand. It’s my expectation that where land is redeveloped, at least 20 per cent is affordable,” Ms Adams says.
“We’ve already secured 29 of the transitional housing places in Palmerston North, meaning that we’re already in a position to help 116 local families this year, with more places scheduled to open in the coming weeks and months,” says Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro.
“This is about more than just housing. The investment of $354 million the Government made last year into transitional housing recognises that many of our struggling families are facing some tough challenges. That’s why we’ve partnered with some fantastic community housing providers to make sure they’re getting further help to get back on their feet – from budgeting advice to cooking lessons or parenting support.
“Providers like The Salvation Army and Women's Refuge in Palmerston North go above and beyond to help lift our vulnerable people into a position where they can move on to and sustain long-term housing,” says Mr Ngaro.
Each week, the Government spends over $982,000 to supporting around 20,000 households in the wider Manawatu-Wanganui region with their housing costs.
Across the wider Manawatu-Wanganui region, the Government has plans to bring on 165 additional social houses and 66 short-term transitional housing places – to a total of 2690 social houses across the region. This is in addition to the Emergency Housing Special Needs Grants that are also available to local families in need of somewhere urgent to stay.
About our plan for social housing:
This year, the Government will spend $2.3 billion supporting 310,000 households with their accommodation. Additionally, those seeking immediate shelter can access a Special Needs Grant for accommodation. We have invested $354 million to help 8600 families every year with a warm, safe place to stay. We are also growing the number of social houses available, from 66,000 today to 72,000 by 2020.
What is the difference between social and transitional housing?
Both social and transitional housing may be run by community housing providers.
Transitional housing differs from social housing in that tenants generally only stay for 12 weeks in the property while they are helped to find long-term housing. While there they also receive additional support tailored to their needs. This could include things like budgeting advice, cooking lessons or parenting support. People receive a further 12 weeks of support once they’ve moved into their new property to help them settle in.
What is a ‘housing’ place?
A place may be a freestanding house or a unit in a wider complex. With regard to transitional housing places it refers also to availability over a year. For example a freestanding house used for transitional housing may be classed as four places because four families can be housed there every year.
An innovative scheme targeting our youngest New Zealanders will help secure the future of volunteering in New Zealand says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
Student Volunteer Army (SVA) founder Sam Johnson has today launched a new programme targeting primary school student and already has 32,000 young people signed up.
“We know that people are more likely to continue volunteering the earlier they start so this great initiative will go a long way in helping to secure the volunteer sector in New Zealand in the future,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Kiwis already have a reputation of being one of the most generous countries in the world in terms of charitable giving, how fantastic would it be if we also had a reputation for having one of the highest rates of volunteering.
“Already volunteers contribute about $3.5 billion to our economy in labour alone, adding students to the mix can only increase that impact.”
In 2016 the SVA was one of the inaugural recipients of the Government’s Community Leadership fund when it received a $50,000 grant for the development of its primary programme.
“It’s fantastic to see that our youngest New Zealanders were asking for this programme and I can’t wait to see the difference they make in communities right across the country.”
New funding will give Polyfest, the world’s largest Pacific festival, the chance to grow even further, Minister for Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro says.
A total of $200,000 has been granted to explore options for the future direction of the festival.
The Ministry for Pacific Peoples will bring on a specialist to work with the Polyfest Trust in exploring opportunities for the future of the festival. An advisory group will also support the work.
“Polyfest is a world class event and is a source of pride for all the young people who take part,” Mr Ngaro says.
“It gives our young people an opportunity to connect with their heritage, to strengthen their identity of being a young pacific person and celebrate so many of the things that make our cultures so special.
“Our young people gain confidence, leadership and many other skills that set them up for a lifetime of success.
“We want to see the festival grow even stronger and have more Kiwis taking part and celebrating Pacific diversity.
“As the Pacific population is the youngest and fastest-growing in New Zealand it becomes even more important that we strengthen Pacific languages, cultures and identities and Polyfest is a perfect example of how we might achieve that.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the options the experts come up with and watching the Polyfest continue to grow and engage more of our young people for many years to come.”
The announcement has been welcomed by Chairperson of the Polyfest Trust Board, Patrick Drumm.
“The Polyfest Trust and schools are excited about the new support. Over the past 42 years Polyfest has grown from a foundation base of 4 schools to an event today that hosts almost 10,000 students from over 60 schools,” Mr Drumm says.
“The Trust is grateful for the funding which will ensure Polyfest can continue to grow and provide even more of our young people with the opportunity to celebrate diversity and their identities.
Having a Pacific organisation providing housing will make a huge difference to families in need says Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister for Social Housing Alfred Ngaro.
Penina Health Trust is the first Pacific Community and Transitional Housing provider and today opens its first property- a 21 unit transitional housing complex in South Auckland which will support 84 families every year.
“Transitional housing is one of the most innovative programmes of this Government’s Social Housing reform programme and we’re seeing it make a huge difference right across the country,” says Mr Ngaro.
“The transitional housing model not only ensures that people have access to warm, safe and dry accommodation but also provides tailored support.
“Whether it’s budgeting advice, cooking lessons or cultural support, the pastoral support people receive when staying in transitional housing allows them to not only find alternative housing, but also sustain it. Tenants also receive an additional three months of that tailored support once they’ve moved on to somewhere more permanent.
“With Penina Health Trust, an experienced mental health and community support provider, coming on board to run this new facility we’re introducing even more diversity and ensuring that we can support even more New Zealanders.
“Pacific people represent about 13 per cent of the housing register and a quarter of social housing tenants, so it’s really important that we also have Pacific representation amongst providers.
“Encouraging Pacific groups to become involved in social housing has been a key priority for me so I’m thrilled to see Penina Health Trust open this facility and even more pleased that their ambitions should see us opening even more housing places in the future.
“Right across the country we’re seeing what a huge difference this Government’s investment in transitional housing is making for kiwis so it’s fantastic that we’ll be able to help even more families with this partnership.”