Government’s Treatment of Pacific Hosts CriticisedPosted: March 16, 2010
16 March 2010
More Inappropriate Behaviour From National Government and Pasifika Events
The National Government has again behaved in a completely inappropriate fashion regarding Pacific Island events, Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio said.
“This weekend the National Government and John Banks had Labour MPs banned from speaking at the Pasifika Festival and this week they have offended Pacific people with their refusal to support the Pacific Youth & Sports Conference
Su’a William Sio extended warmest congratulations to a successful opening at the Pacific Youth & Sports Conference.
“This conference focused on the biggest population growth in our Pacific region, our Pacific youth and their needs. As a parliamentarian, and representing one of the largest Pacific populations in the country, I came to support, listen and learn from those at the coalface of youth health and sports.
“It was a personal pleasure for me this morning to see representation from across the Pacific region, from island nation governments as well as sports and health bodies, in the name of our young people, that’s exciting. It tells me we care enough to be here.
“Fifteen sports ministers from nations including Fiji, Cook Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands were present. Yet New Zealand, the country this youth event is being hosted in, are completely absent. That’s disgusting from a Pacific perspective.
“I am advised that the New Zealand Government declined to support this Pacific Youth and Sports Conference. Later, once the sports conference was set up, and invitations were sent out to governments, New Zealand initially declined the invitation. Then, out of the blue, it later changed its mind closer to the opening date.
“But given the offence they had already caused, their request to attend the conference was not accepted.
“For the National Government to reject an invitation from Pacific hosts, and then change its mind and expect people to run around and accommodate them at the last minute, is the height of rudeness and bad manners in any culture and country. It causes gross offence.
“Also, to do this on an event for Pacific youth is like saying that they don’t matter to this National government.
“This has turned out to be another disappointing experience with National Government and their involvement with Pacific events.
“This is what Pasefika communities can expect from a National Government that pretends to befriend our communities but is no closer to understanding us now than they were decades ago. That’s why if we don’t vote at the upcoming local body elections, expect more of this.