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Dr Shane Reti.

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Dr Reti applauds the 'ambition and hope' of Pacific youth at Polyfest

Dr Shane Reti joined Pacific Mornings to address a number of issues including the recession, looming staff cuts at MPP and his new-found love of 'Otai.

Pacific Mornings
27 March 2024, 6:01am
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The Ministry of Pacific Peoples is still deciding whether to cut staff or services to decrease their costs, according to its minister, Dr Shane Reti.

This comes as the government has asked departments to identify ways to cut overall spending by 7.5 percent.

Reti says cuts could be made three areas: non-personell functions, funded staff and non-funded staff.

And Reti told Levi Matautia-Morgan on 531pi's Pacific Mornings, he's confident MPP secretary Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone is making sure any job lossess will be managed thoughtfully.

"It's making its way through the consultation process. And the secretary is doing all the right things, from a sensitivity perspective, understanding that this is a serious position to be in for many people, so her and her team are using great care and gentle hands when discussing whatever cuts that need to be made."

Watch Dr Shane Reti's full interview on 531pi:


'Way too good'

On a brighter note, Reti has been relishing the opportunities afforded by his Pacific Peoples portfolio to get a taste for all things Pacific.

This month has seen a raft of Pacific events across Northland, Auckland, Rotorua, Canterbury and Dunedin.

Reti says the events have been exciting to attend and he was happy to announce a further $60,000 in government funding for Polyfest next year, when it celebrates fifty years.

"The folks turned me on to 'Otai - that's way too good," he says.

"And as the Minister for Pacific People's, [I'm] really proud that we are able to financially support Polyfest this year and in my opening address I made the announcement that we will be able to continue that support through into next year, which is the 50th celebration of Polyfest.

"With all those young people, with all that ambition and all that hope - how can that not be a good thing."

Addressing the recession

Data from Stats NZ shows the country has fallen back into a recession, with GDP falling by point-one-percent between October and December.

And responding to that news, Reti told Pacific Mornings he hopes upcoming tax cuts will soften the blow that a downturn in economic activity may have on families.

"People will know the cost of living, pay for their electricity, or they buy their fuel, they'll feel it. But there was one good piece of news last week that the price of fruit and vegetables dropped by 9. per cent. That's certainly a good thing - and we need to see if we can keep that trend going."

Dr Shane Reti says most things have become more expensive, and is mindful of this as the government prepares to release their annual budget at the end of May.

"Our key focus is on the cost of living and how we can have people have more discretionary spending in their pockets - and so we've talked a lot about tax cuts and how we can put more money into people's pockets.

"There will be pain felt by everyone but we also know the most vulnerable can feel it more and we're very conscious of that and we're hoping the tax cuts will offer some relief."