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MPP to be slashed by 40 per cent, PSA slams govt for its 'low level' regard for Pacific communities

Staff at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples have been told 63 of 156 positions at the agency will be cut.

PMN Author
PMN News
28 March 2024, 9:08am
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The PSA says brutal government spending cuts that will see the size of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples slashed by 40 per cent will hit Pasifika communities hard.

This follows a government directive that asked all public service agencies to identify savings options of either 6.5 or 7.5 per cent.

According to the PSA, the Ministry has told staff that it is seeking voluntary redundancies, and to redeploy and reassign staff, as it looks to shed 63 of 156 positions, of which 31 are vacant.

A spokesperson for MPP confirmed with PMN News that the Ministry is proposing to reduce in size by 63 roles, 31 of which are vacant roles.

“We are currently consulting with staff on these proposed changes to our structure until 5 April 2024 and will be offering the option of voluntary redundancy. Recruitment is paused while this process is underway.

“Final decisions will be made at the end of April and will be implemented for 1 July 2024. We will be working to ensure both our staff and Pacific communities are kept well-informed about any changes at that time.”


“We remain committed to championing the voices of Pacific communities, and maintaining programmes that help to empower Pacific peoples to thrive is our priority. We are confident that the proposed changes to our structure will enable us to remain closely connected to and support Pacific communities throughout the country.”

Labour calls cuts disproportionate

Labour deputy leader Carmel Sepuloni called the scale of the proposed staff reduction at MPP disproportionate to cuts being made in other ministries.

“Why is that? Why are we less important than other government agencies and why does our particular ministry have to take a disproportionate cut of this nature?

“We are concerned about the impact that this may have on our Pacific community, on the delivery of services, on the quality of advice across government agencies with respect to Pacific.

"And we're also concerned that it highlights a lack of value for our Pacific people in general. As far as I'm concerned, it's an undervaluing of our people and we need to be very vocal about making our voices heard here,” Sepuloni said.

Far-reaching consequences

Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi National Secretary Duane Leo said the cuts would have far reaching consequences for the health and wellbeing of Pasifika families in New Zealand and across the Pacific.

"The 40 per cent reduction is going to have a huge impact on a small Ministry serving a population of about 400,000 Pasifika people in New Zealand, many of whom have close links across the Pacific.

"This is a community that needs dedicated government support. We know that Pasifika families are more likely to live in overcrowded, unhealthy housing, and that their families are more likely to struggle financially than other New Zealanders. The Pasifika population has also grown rapidly - by 43 per cent between 2006 and 2018, twice the rate of New Zealand’s population."

The Ministry has been active in Pasifika communities supporting housing development, the creation of training and employment opportunities, supporting Pasifika languages, cultures and identities, and developing social enterprises.

"This work is needed now more than ever. Pasifika communities are grappling with the high cost of living and are more at risk than others from the downturn in the employment market.

"The Ministry carries out a very important role by being a bridge between the Government and Pasifika communities, and particularly hard to reach groups within those communities. The value of this often-underrated work was highlighted during the COVID pandemic response.

"These cuts show the low level of importance this Government accords the Pasifika community. Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising given a senior Cabinet member joked before the election about blowing the ministry up.

"Once again, we are seeing the cold, hard reality of the choice this Government has made - giving $3 billion in tax cuts to landlords, is somehow deemed more important, than supporting important and at times vulnerable communities," said Leo.

Watch video of interview with PSA boss Duane Leo

Doom and gloom

Prior to the announcement today, Pacific spokesperson for the Green Party Teanau Tuiono told Pacific Mornings on Wednesday that he was hearing nothing but “doom and gloom” in relation to potential cuts at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples.

“I want to acknowledge the work of the staff of the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, the incredible work that they've done, making those connections with our people, bringing our people together and doing that very, very important work.

“So I don't think those resources and those units within the Ministry for Pacific Peoples should be cut. In fact, they should get more funding.”

Speaking on Pacific Mornings only minutes prior to the PSA announcement, Labour MP Jenny Salesa said she was concerned about potential “devastating cuts” to MPP.

She said this government is prioritising mega landlords, cutting funding to other agencies and programmes such as school lunches.

“Possible cuts to the Ministry of Pacific Peoples and possible cuts to the language programmes, that is a big concern to all of us here in Parliament, especially those of us who are Pacific MPs.”

Watch video of interview with Labour deputy leader Carmel Sepuloni