Workers laid off six weeks before Christmas

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

Workers at the Auckland Pacific Branch of Immigration New Zealand have received an unwelcome gift from the National Government– they’re been laid off just six weeks from Christmas, says Labour’s spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs Su’a William …Workers laid off six weeks before Christmas

Workers at the Auckland Pacific Branch of Immigration New Zealand have received an unwelcome gift from the National Government– they’re been laid off just six weeks from Christmas, says Labour’s spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs Su’a William Sio.

“The bad news for 14 families came in a wordy, bureaucratic letter from the Department of Labour,” Su’a William Sio said (letter attached).

“The Auckland branch of Immigration New Zealand provides a vital service to the Pacific community and unfortunately is not the first agency to fall victim to National’s cuts to front line services.

“People working in the public sector have good reason to be concerned as National continues to undermine their work.

“Auckland is the Pasifika capital of the world. These people offered a frontline service supporting thousands of families to settle in New Zealand but that service is now in jeopardy.

“In the year ended September 2011 there were 18,930 permanent and long-term arrivals to New Zealand from Oceania (Australia, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga). At a time when applications for residency are already reaching a bottleneck, and the number of Pacific people living with illegal or irregular immigration status is growing, the latest cuts don’t make sense.

“Labour is committed to strengthening Pacific families’ wellbeing by helping them settle in to their communities on arrival. Cutting support for a central advisory hub, with this explicit purpose is a step in the wrong direction and will make it more difficult for affected families.

“The median Pasifika income is down by $106 a week since National took office, making it even harder for those establishing or supporting families to make ends meet,” Su’a William Sio said.

“Labour has a plan for job creation, and for economic growth which will work with Pacific families not against them. We won’t leave people high and dry at Christmas with no explanation and no plan.

“New Zealand has a strong and proud history in the Pacific. We must value and support the contributions of migrants and their families. National is simply cutting valuable core services off at the knees,” Su’a William Sio said.

Authorised by Su’a William Sio, MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

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