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Former PBT Chair Appointed as MPIA Chief Executive

Posted by Sai Lealea on September 24, 2012

The former Chair of the Pacific Business Trust, Pauline Winter has been appointed CE of the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.
Those of us who know Pauline well, will be aware of her long association with the Ministry both as PBT Chair and through her involvement and contribution to the various activities organised by the Ministry.
I am sure we are all united in wishing Pauline well as she takes up her appointment as CE of MPIA and look forward to following her leadership of the Ministry in the years ahead.
Read below the statement by the State Services Commission (SSC) on her appointment.

New Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs Chief Executive Appointed

Published: 28 August 2012

The State Services Commissioner, Iain Rennie, today announced that Ms Pauline Winter has been appointed Chief Executive at the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs (MPIA).

Ms Winter (Te Ᾱti Awa-Taranaki/Samoa), who is currently the Director of the Office of Pasifika Advancement at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), has also run her own company, Interpacific Limited (Ltd), specialising in governance training, strategic planning advice and mentoring services for public and private sector organisations, including Pasifika and Māori organisations, and, in addition to private sector management positions, was Chief Executive at Workbridge Incorporated, a professional employment service for people with disabilities.

A current board member of the Tertiary Education Commission, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Auckland City Investments Board and the Committee for Auckland, Ms Winter is also Chair of the Pacific Peoples Advancement Trust, and serves on the boards of the National Advisory Council for the Employment of Women, the Teachers’ Council Review Panel and the Auckland District Police Pacific Peoples Advisory Group.

The Ministry has the key outcomes of improving the economic wellbeing and living standards for Pasifika people and strengthening Pasifika families and communities in New Zealand.  As Chief Executive, Ms Winter will lead a Ministry of approximately 42 staff based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and will be responsible for a budget of $8.948 million this financial year.

Mr Rennie said that Pauline Winter’s background and networks would provide unique, Pasifika specific knowledge and perspectives to help MPIA inform policy, and the design, delivery and evaluation of programmes by major Public Service agencies, especially in the education, skills and employment sectors.

“With Ms Winter leading, I am confident that the MPIA will contribute effectively to achieve the Government’s priorities for Pasifika people, work collaboratively to lift the productivity of the Public Service, and deliver on the results defined by the Better Public Services programme,” Mr Rennie said.

Ms Winter was recently awarded a Queen’s Service Order (QSO) medal for her service to Business and Pacific Peoples in New Zealand.

Media enquiries:  Lisa-Marie Richan, Director, SSC Communications 021 244 1361

Biography: Pauline Winter, QSO

''

Pauline Winter holds a number of roles including the Director of Pasifika advancement at AUT University and of her consultancy INTERPACIFIC Ltd.

She Chairs OMEGA talent, the Pacific Peoples Advancement Trusts and NACEW (National Advisory Board on Employment issues for women), and is a Commissioner for the Tertiary Education Commission. She is also Director of the Quit Group.

Pauline was recently appointed to Auckland City Investments board (CCO) and the Committee for Auckland. She holds a number of community advisory positions including the Pasifika Advisory Group to the Auckland City Police.

She is a former Chief Executive of Workbridge Inc, and Deputy Chief Commissioner for Transport Accident Investigation Commission.

Pauline is a previous Pacific Business Woman of the Year and was awarded a Queen’s Service Order (QSO) in 2008 acknowledging her work to business and the Pacific communities.

ENDS.

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Performance Improvement Framework – Formal Review of MPIA October 2011

Posted by Sai Lealea on December 5, 2011

Results of the Formal Review of MPIA were released last month and now posted on the NZ State Services Commission website.

It provides interesting reading of where MPIA is at following numerous changes introduced by the current CE to improve performance.

Some of the issues raised and discussed are longstanding and indeed were the subject of specific actions previously taken to address them. Others are related to the nature of the work by the Ministry and the limitations arising from being a small agency attempting to influence much larger ones.

A Key concern would be the need to address culture and value issues which are often critical in shaping attitudes to staff loyalty and engagement.

Anyway, those of you keen to learn of where MPIA is at, this report provides some insight on whether or not recent changes at management and organisational level have in fact made a difference. In brief the table below summarises the ratings given to MPIA.

 

Rating Results of MPIA Review October 2011

Strategic Priorities

Rating

Lift incomes and standards of living for Pacific peoples Needing development
Make progress in Auckland Needing development
Promote Pacific cultures and language Well placed

Core Business

Rating (Effectiveness)

Rating (Efficiency)

Policy advice Needing development Needing Development
Nominations Service Needing development Weak
Relationships and Needing development Needing Development
Purchasing ? Weak
Organisational Management
Leadership, Direction & Delivery

Rating

Vision, Strategy & Purpose Weak
Leadership & Governance Weak
Culture & Values Needing Development
Structure, Roles and Responsibilities Weak

People Development

Rating

Leadership & Workforce Development Needing Development
Management of People Performance Weak
Engagement with Staff Needing Development

External Relationships

Rating

Engagement with the Minister(s) Needing Development
Sector Contribution Needing Development
Collaboration & Partnerships with Stakeholders
Financial & Resource Management

Rating

Information Management Needing Development
Efficiency Weak
Financial Management Well Placed
Risk Management Needing Development

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MPIA REVIEW REPORT

Description of Performance Improvement Framework on SSC Website

The State Services are in an environment where Government and public expectations about the quality of service delivery is rising and the medium to long-term financial forecast is one of restraint. This means significant and ongoing change.  Agencies are expected to rethink the ways they operate to ensure they are responding to rising expectations, and are focussed on achieving results where they matter the most all the while delivering quality services to New Zealanders. The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) has been designed to help agencies and the system to rise to this challenge by developing agencies that are high performing, flexible, innovative and responsive to shifts in the communities they serve.

What is the Performance Improvement Framework?

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) has been designed to help senior leaders in the State Services lead performance improvement in their agencies and across the system.

See:

Who developed the Performance Improvement Framework?

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) was developed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, State Services Commission and the Treasury, together with chief executives from the State Services.

Read more about how the central agencies work together on the PIF, on pages 46-47 of the SSC’s Annual Report for 2011.

How was the Performance Improvement Framework developed?

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) was developed using leading international private and public sector performance improvement models but tailored to the New Zealand State Services. It was piloted with the Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Education Review Office in 2009. Following the pilot, the first tranche of formal reviews were completed in September 2010. The second tranche of formal reviews were completed in May 2011. Formal reviews are now published as they are completed.

(All formal reviews are available at www.ssc.govt.nz/pif)

See relevant advice to Cabinet:

What benefits will the Performance Improvement Framework provide?

In the short-term benefits include:

  • the introduction of a common performance language and expectations across the State Services
  • more transparent and useful performance information at agency, sector and system level
  • improved decision-making at agency, sector and system level
  • enhanced learning opportunities for State Services agencies, and
  • greater accountability for delivering results and for organisational stewardship.

In the medium term the benefits may include:

  • an improved understanding of sector and system performance themes and issues, and ultimately improved system performance
  • greater efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services to meet the Government’s strategic policy goals
  • better customer experiences with the services provided meeting or exceeding public expectations in terms of access and value, and
  • stronger working relationships between agencies and within sectors.

How does the Performance Improvement Framework get used?

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) is used in three distinct ways:

  • as a diagnostic tool to drive the most impactful improvements in agency and cross agency performance
  • as a tool for central agencies to ensure impactful improvement in overall system performance, and
  • as a tool to provide Ministers, the public and other stakeholders with assurance that the most impactful improvements in agency performance and across the system are occurring.

The PIF model reviews delivery of results and capability. A diagram of the PIF model is attached here as a PDF file

What are the findings so far?

The Performance Improvement Framework reports have identified a number of areas of strong performance, including:

  • Agencies engage well with Ministers, are responsive to the government of the day, and effectively deliver on Government priorities.
  • Open, transparent financial management of government funding.  Agencies demonstrate financial prudence and ensure accountability for the expenditure of taxpayers’ funds.
  • Examples of excellent performance exist across all elements of the framework. Central agencies intend to build on these strengths to support effective practices across the State Services.
  • State Services leaders are openly engaging with the review process, learning from the results of their reviews, and acting on those results to lift their performance.

Four areas for improvement have been identified by central agencies, and they will be working to support agencies to lift their performance in these areas:

  • Increasing their ability to provide advice that is robust over time, and meets the needs of Ministers and the public in the future.
  • Developing a stronger ‘line of sight’ between expenditure and the impacts of this expenditure for New Zealanders.  This includes having better information on the effectiveness of programmes and services and using this information to drive decision-making about investment and improvement.
  • Improved ability to work across agency boundaries so that agencies can better connect policies and services in areas where collaborative effort will improve outcomes for New Zealanders.
  • Improved people management so that agency leaders are more effectively communicating their vision across the organisation, developing appropriate cultures and capability and managing poor performance.

See:

How does the Performance Improvement Framework fit with other programmes and tools?

Together the central agencies (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, State Services Commission and the Treasury) are focussed on requiring better and demonstrable measurement of results, and comparing them to the results the Government is seeking to achieve. Other central agency initiatives and programmes that contribute to performance improvement are:

Who follows up the Performance Improvement Framework review?

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) is now entering its third year of operation. Agencies reviewed to date are at various stages of implementation of their responses to their reviews. The State Services Commission and the Treasury work with those agencies to support and monitor their implementation of those responses and to evaluate whether their actions are having the improvement results anticipated.

Follow-up reviews are about to become part of the PIF offering. Follow-up reviews are largely bespoke, but are designed to ensure that performance improvement is underway. Follow-up reviews are done by a PIF lead reviewer and managed by the PIF team at the State Services Commission.

What is the difference between a formal review, a self review and a follow-up review?

A formal review is an independent review undertaken by lead reviewers of an agency’s capability, performance and ability to deliver on Government’s priorities. Formal reviews are scheduled by the State Services Commission and published on the State Services Commission website when completed. Before undertaking a formal review an agency needs to have completed a self review, and have up-to-date surveys from key clients and staff. An agency also needs to be ready to engage in a courageous improvement conversation.

A follow-up review will occur 12-18 months after a formal review.  The formal review is the key PIF offering, together with the follow-up review. State Services agencies who are not scheduled for a formal Review but wish to review their own performance and identify areas of improvement can undertake a self review.

Agencies can use the framework as a self review tool to measure and improve their own performance. Unlike the formal review it does not involve independent reviewers or external peer review. The self review is not published on the State Services Commission website, but an agency may choose to publish their self review on their own website.

There are no set minimum or maximum resource requirements for a self review.  However, it is recommended that a small but mandated team of staff come together for a period of up to 8 weeks, with the aim of preparing a report, including a draft action plan for consideration by the Agency’s leadership team.

More guidance on how to undertake a self review is available here.

What is a lead reviewer?

A critical element in the success of the Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) is the lead reviewers. Lead reviewers undertake the PIF reviews for the central agencies.

Lead reviewers are selected for their credibility, strategic agility and understanding of the New Zealand State Services, combined with/or with others providing their commercial and private sector experience. They guide the review and are the authors of the final PIF Report.

What does a PIF review involve?

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) review uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Lead reviewers are supported by information and advice from the agency itself, its sector partners, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, State Services Commission and the Treasury. PIF draws on a range of formal accountability and internal management documents, including DICE, BASS, internal audits, engagement surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, Kiwis Count etc.

Desk top analysis is enhanced by interviews and focus groups with management, staff and external stakeholders to build judgements about the key performance issues for each agency. Where it is possible the information is informed by quantitative analysis.

The lead reviewer writes a report which contains a series of judgements about the agency’s performance. These judgements are reflected in a series of ratings for each relevant element in the PIF model.  The agency then prepares a response to the report.

These ratings, associated commentary and the response are included in the final report, which is published upon acceptance by the Central Agency Chief Executives.

Lead reviewers are on site for about 2-3 weeks.

How do you ensure consistency?

The formal review includes a peer review step to ensure that the ratings are applied consistently and in a manner that allows robust comparison. Lead reviewers are peer reviewed by others from the lead reviewer cadre as well as central agency officials.

As well as this peer review step, other review features support consistency and quality, including a common model, a set of indicators to guide ratings and a standardised process.

Who decides which agencies are formally reviewed?

Discussions are held with a range of agencies before the central agencies finalise its multi-year schedule. Decisions about the schedule are based on a set of principles, including the role of agencies in delivering on Government’s priorities, and the size and complexity of the various agencies under consideration. Review scheduling often supports a Chief Executive appointment or reappointment cycle.

The classes of agency that may be included in the formal review are Public Service departments, non-Public Service departments, and Crown entities (Crown agents only). At this stage all Public Service departments are expected to have completed a formal PIF review by 2013. Significant Crown Entities are also expected to complete a PIF review, or some other comparable performance improvement diagnostic, over the next few years.

Reviews of non-Public Service departments occur at the invitation of the Chief Executive, and for Crown entities at the invitation of the board Chair.

If my agency wants to do a formal review what do I need to do?

Discussions about the 2012 schedule have already been held. To be considered for a formal review an agency has to be able to demonstrate that a Performance Improvement Framework review is a part of an organisation’s improvement plan.

Contact the PIF team to be considered for a formal review by emailing: performance.improvement.framework@ssc.govt.nz

If my agency wants to do a self review what do I need to do?

Self review workshops are conducted every quarter. Workshops are focussed on providing an insight into the PIF model, hearing from others who have completed a PIF self review, and understanding in more detail the key lines of enquiry and necessary evidence base.

Email performance.improvement.framework@ssc.govt.nz to find out when the next self review workshop is being held.

How does a Performance Improvement Framework differ from an audit, investigation or inquiry?

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) explores how well an agency is performing – it is not an audit, investigation or inquiry.  It is intended as a low cost and quick review of an agency’s results and capability, using evidence-based judgements by experienced independent and trusted advisors. The focus is on identifying the key priority areas for improving performance, as well as revealing good and great performance so that it can be shared across the State Services.

Is the Performance Improvement Framework suitable for a review of Crown Entities?

Yes. A Crown Entity Chief Executive has been a member of the steering group that developed the Performance Improvement Framework (PIF). In addition, a number of the PIF lead reviewers currently or have previously sat on boards of Crown entities and therefore have extensive knowledge of how they operate. Two Crown entities have already completed a formal review.

Is the Performance Improvement Framework Model likely to change?

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) Model is being refined in the first quarter of 2012. Improvements will be made to the link between PIF and an agency’s business model. Change will also be made to the scope of the financial element and to the extent to which ‘impacts’ need be included in the Government Priorities element.

In addition a “Cluster” or “Sector” version of the model is being developed. Sector or cluster reviews will consider how clearly the outcomes for the sector are defined, and how well the agencies in the sector are working together to achieve those outcomes. This model is scheduled for trial in 2013.

The framework will continue to evolve as we learn more about its robustness and effectiveness.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MPIA REVIEW REPORT

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Pacific Solution Exchange

Posted by Sai Lealea on December 14, 2010

Keith Leonard (ADB), Su’a Kevin Thomsen (PIFS), Knut Otsby (UN) and Jaindra Karan (USP) working together to enhance development effectiveness

Statement from the Steering Committee

At the August 2010 Forum Leaders meeting in Port Vila, Pacific Leaders endorsed the Forum’s Port Vila MDG Declaration (2010).  At the Pacific Regional Aid Effectiveness Workshop in June 2010 in Nadi where the idea of a Pacific Solution Exchange was introduced, aid practitioners from the Pacific Island Countries recognized that “regionally led efforts play an important role in promoting south-south exchanges, knowledge sharing to enhance aid effectiveness efforts between countries in the Pacific and in sharing Pacific experiences in the Asia Pacific and globally.”

One of ten key conclusions of the workshop is the need to further engage countries, regional organizations and development partners in taking the idea of a Pacific Solution Exchange on Development Effectiveness forward as a mechanism for knowledge sharing and a coordination tool for lessons and solutions exchange, and the implementation of the Cairns Compact (2009).

It is in this regard that UNDP, ADB, PIFS and USP are delighted to be launching this trial phase of the Pacific Solution Exchange.  We encourage your active participation in the virtual discussions and are confident that the collective knowledge, expertise, experiences and insights shared through peer learning from one Pacific Island country to another and south-south cooperation from Asia to the Pacific and beyond will contribute to strong development cooperation in the region.
It is hoped that such exchanges will lead to a mass of critical thinking and body of evidence that can inform prescient work in addressing the existing challenge of financing accelerated progress in MDGs and emerging challenges such as the impacts of climate change and the recent global economic crisis as well as future crises and how we can better cope in the region.

The Trial Period

During the initial six-month trial period a number of “e-Discussions” will be facilitated on key issues and priorities affecting the Pacific.  The e-Discussions aim to engage national and regional stakeholders (governments, regional organizations, non-state actors and development partners) towards the interest/viability of continuing knowledge facilitation services.  The trial period will:

  • Validate the membership/scope for Pacific communities of practice;
  • Identify key issues and approaches to knowledge sharing in the Pacific;
  • Facilitate knowledge sharing on 3-6 key development issues in the Pacific;
  • Determine the interest/viability of continuing knowledge facilitation services;
  • Identify requirements for knowledge facilitation beyond the trial phase.

Should the trial be successful, the extending the services from ‘e-discussion’ to include the four Solution Exchange services.

Solution Exchange Services

Help – for members seeking experience and advice on issues they face

Consult – for decision-makers seeking feedback on draft policies or programmes

Discuss – for brainstorming on key issues of wide concern to the Community

Collaborate – for members working in small groups to produce a quick, strategic deliverable such as a project proposal, strategic plan, or pilot project

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Tonga: Talanoa continues in the search for a united government

Posted by Sai Lealea on December 14, 2010

Pacific Scoop – 14 December 2010 – By Josephine Latu, in Nuku’alofa.

Tonga’s elected politicians are beginning to realise they will have to work together if any new government is to be functional, let alone sustainable.

With less than a week to go before elected MPs vote for the new Prime Minister (official nominations will be announced Friday), “unity” has become a stronger and more necessary part of discussions, even as alliances continue to be bargained behind the scenes.

Some of Tonga’s nobility after the noble’s elections on Nov. 25, including King Tupou V’s younger brother Crown Prince Tupouto’a Lavaka (front row, 4th from left), and Lord Tu’ivakano (front row, 2nd from right), widely speculated as a PM nominee. (Photo courtesy of Josephine Latu/Tonga Chronicle.)

Last week the Democratic Party of the Friendly Isles led by ‘Akilisi Pohiva, called for a Cabinet of National Unity (CNU) comprising a “broad coalition cabinet” of party members, independents and nobles.

READ MORE…

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Fiji Patrol boat kicks yachts off Minerva Reef?

Posted by Sai Lealea on November 27, 2010

A Fiji Blog, Fiji Today, has received an email from a yacht reporting being kicked off the remote Minerva Reef by Fiji navy patrol boats. The reef was in fact claimed and annexed by Tonga in 1972 and yachts reported they had permission from the Tongan authorities to anchor there.

An email from Peter Sidler of the vessel Green Coral was forwarded to Fiji Today with this report:

“During the morning of November 20, we and one other sailing yacht entered the North Minerva Reef and anchored there. Three other boats were already there. One left immediately after we anchored. One other boat left around noon. On leaving the Minerva Reef, that boat was hailed by a patrol boat and questions about ‘where from’ and ‘where to’ were asked.

“Around 1:00 p.m. the three remaining boats anchored in the Minerva Reef were hailed by the patrol boat. Each yacht was asked about its last port, next port and if they had permission to anchor in the Minerva Reef. All three yachts had Vava’u, Tonga, as their last port, and at least one yacht said they had written permission for a stopover in Minerva Reef on their clearance. By then we still believed that we were talking to a patrol boat from Tonga. To our surprise they told us that the permission from Vava’u was no good, that we had to get permission from Suva, Fiji, and that we had to leave the Minerva Reef immediately.

“We and the other boats argued that we believed Minerva Reef to be Tongan territory but the only response we got was: ‘No, you have to get permission from Suva.’ We were given 30 minutes to prepare for departure and leave. We left the Minerva Reef angry and frustrated and continued our journey towards Opua.”

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Commoner MPs’ views key to choosing new Tongan PM

Posted by Sai Lealea on November 27, 2010

King George Tupou V

by Audrey Young – NZ Herald – 27 November 2010


Democracy leader ‘Akilisi Pohiva,  left picture, will sit down with the handful of people’s representatives not aligned with the democracy movement in Tonga to talk about leadership of the new Government.

And Mr Pohiva indicated yesterday that the new Prime Minister might not necessarily be himself.

Asked by the Weekend Herald if he was ready to be Prime Minister, he said: “Whoever is selected to be Prime Minister, he is ready.”

Mr Pohiva’s deputy, Dr Sitiveni Halapua, pictured above right, is considered a possibility to become Tonga’s first democratically elected Prime Minister.

He has recently returned from a post at the East-West Centre in Hawaii and is an academic with a bent for conflict resolution.

He brokered the agreement that settled the 2005 public service strike which, according to website Matangi Tonga, included an agreement to look at political reforms.

Dr Halapua won the electorate of Tongatapu 3, where long-serving MP and former Police Minister Clive Edwards also stood, unsuccessfully. It is thought that Dr Halapua would be the preference of the nobles.

There are now 17 people’s representatives and nine nobles’ representatives and while party affiliations are not recognised in the system, Mr Pohiva believes his people have won 13 of the 17 people’s seats.

Yesterday, Mr Pohiva and close advisers met for several hours in his party’s downtown offices, planning an agenda for today’s meetings.

The prospect of being beaten by the nobles in a race to form the Government was halted by King George Tupou V, who is thought to have not only ordered his brother out of the nobles’ contest but also insisted the nobles allow a people’s representative to be the first Prime Minister elected by the Parliament.

Meanwhile, National MP John Hayes, leader of the New Zealand observer delegation, said there had been some talk of a parliament of national unity.

“We have a confrontational style of democracy. It doesn’t need to be confrontational everywhere,” said Mr Hayes, a former High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea.

It could involve a commoners’ Prime Minister and nobles’ deputy prime minister or whatever the new MPs decided.

“I think you’ve got to see the political leaders as chiefs who are going to elect a paramount chief in Tongan terms when Parliament resumes.”

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Tokelau Boys 61 Days Adrift

Posted by Sai Lealea on November 27, 2010

FIJI TIMES NEWS – Saturday, November 27, 2010


One of the three Tokelau teenagers rescued after drifting for 61 days, Etueti Nasau, 14, is escorted by Fiji Navy officers and military doctor at the Naval Base in Suva

AFTER 61 days of drifting at sea and numerous search and rescue missions, three Tokelau teens were finally rescued when a New Zealand fishing vessel spotted them early this week.

In a media briefing yesterday afternoon, Fiji’s navy commander Francis Kean said they successfully transferred Etueni Nasau, 14, Samu Pelesa and Filo Pelesa, both 15, from the San Nikunau, on to the naval vessel, Kula, at 4am yesterday in Fiji’s exclusive economic zone.

“The boys had left their homes in Atafu Village on September 24 in an aluminium boat to visit relatives at Nukunonu, a neighbouring island in Tokelau. Along the way they ran out of fuel and the boat started to drift,” he said.

Commander Kean said the boys had drifted over an extensive area.

“With the rainfall we have experienced, one can only imagine the state of the seas they endured during the journey. Even the commanding officer of the Kula is in awe of how they survived the 61-day ordeal,” said Mr Kean.

He said the teens lived on flying fish, a seagull and sea and rain water.

“A doctor who accompanied them to shore has been injecting fluids into their bodies to rehydrate them. The doctor has said it is still not the right time for them to eat solid foods so they will continue to take in fluids until their bodies are ready.

“I thank God for the second chance given to the three teenagers,” Commander Kean said.

He said the boys’ families had been informed and that immigration issues would need to be sorted between the New Zealand High Commission and the Immigration Department before they could return home to Tokelau.

Also present at the Stanley Brown naval base in Walu Bay yesterday to receive the boys were officials of the New Zealand High Commission, including Phillip Taula, the acting head of mission. The boys are undergoing medical treatment at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

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Kris Faafoi first New Zealand MP from Tokelau

Posted by Sai Lealea on November 21, 2010


Wellington (NZ Herald) – “Let’s party. We won.”

With those words Kris Faafoi launched himself into Parliament as the first New Zealand MP from Tokelau after winning the Mana by- election, beating National candidate Hekia Parata by 46.4 per cent of the counted vote to 41.6 per cent.

The result was a 14 per cent swing to the National candidate since the 2008 general election.

Mr Faafoi, accompanied by wife Gina Faafoi-Rogers and 23-month-old son George, took the stage to rapturous applause, flanked by Labour leader Phil Goff and former MP for Mana Winnie Laban.

An emotional Mr Faafoi thanked his supporters and paid special tribute to an uncle who was on his deathbed, but had told him he couldn’t wait to get better so he could start waving placards on the campaign trail.

Afterwards he said it had been a hard-fought victory, but he was elated and looking forward to getting stuck into his parliamentary work and being a “strong voice” for Mana.

“This puts you through the wringer, this process. You’re away from your family. If you’re the favourite, you get targeted … We stayed classy. We held our own and I’m happy with that.”

Less than 50 per cent of registered voters turned out to give Mr Faafoi a 1080 majority. There are 1353 special votes still to come, but it is extremely unlikely to change the result.
Mr Faafoi won 10,397 votes; Ms Parata won 9317 votes.

Green Party candidate Jan Logie won 1493 (6.6 per cent); independent candidate Matt McCarten, who many feared would split the left vote, won 816 votes. Act candidate Colin du Plessis won 132 votes; Julian Crawford, from the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, won 107 votes; Sean Fitzpatrick, from the Libertarians, won 43 votes; and Kelly Buchanan, from the Alliance Party, won 37 votes. Both main parties claimed the result as a victory.

The majority was slashed to 6155, though there were 12,372 fewer voters. In 2008 labour’s Luamanuvao Winnie Laban won 53 per cent of the vote, compared with Ms Parata’s 35 per cent.

The total vote count was 22,387 out of 48,000 registered voters, which Labour said accounted for some of the result.

When asked about the swing, Mr Faafoi said: “We won tonight. Fullstop.”
Mr Goff said he wasn’t disappointed with the slim majority.

“It was a win. It was a very clear win. It’s not in doubt. There are no second prizes in politics.” Mr Faafoi said he was happy to be the first MP from Tokelau.

“It makes me very proud. My parents sacrificed a lot, came here with nothing and now their son is a member of parliament. This is a big way that I can repay the sacrifice that my parents made.” Prime Minister John Key said it was a great night for the National Party.

At the start of the campaign Mr Goff had said the byelection would be a referendum on the Government’s policies “and he was right.”

The result was bad news for Mr Goff’s leadership, Mr Key said.
“It is a victory,” Ms Parata said thanking her supporters.

“It has shown the people of Mana that there are other options.”
The Green Party’s Jan Logie caught 6.6 per cent of the vote, coming in third. Independent Matt McCarte
n, who many feared would split the left vote, won only 3.6 per cent.

The main contenders had been relentlessly pounding the streets over the past weeks. Mr Faafoi claims he has lost 10kg with the amount of doorknocking he has done. It has been a clean contest, though media have provided the candidates with plenty of opportunities to insult the other challengers.

One of the main focuses has been the lack of local candidates – only Green Party candidate Jan Logie and Act’s Colin du Plessis live locally.

The big three of Mr Faafoi, Ms Parata and Mr McCarten can’t even vote in the byelection because they don’t live there.

Mr Faafoi came under fire early on for implying in his brochure that he grew up in the electorate, when he in fact grew up in Christchurch.

“I had a great start because my family settled in Mana,” the brochure said.
Right-wing blogs also had fun at his expense after he claimed he remembered when the first McDonalds restaurant, which would have been when he was 1 year old.

He later said he had misspoke, but that didn’t stop bloggers posting digitally altered photos showing a smiling Kris Faafoi sitting among former Labour heavyweights David Lange and Mike Moore in the 1980s, or standing next to a young Elvis Presley and watching the King of Rock’n’Roll shake hands with then-US President Richard Nixon.

While Mr Faafoi was accused of being an outsider coasting to the candidacy courtesy of a shiny endorsement from his leader Phil Goff, Ms Parata found support in some unlikely places because of her presence in the electorate over the past three years.

Mr Faafoi mainly pushed the line that most people were struggling to make ends meet under National’s policies, while Ms Parata pushed the exact opposite view – that the Government’s policies were making life easier.

This may have given voters an easy choice – vote on how you think the Government has made an impact.

Mr Faafoi managed to sidestep a potential sore when one of his supporters called a fellow Pacific Islander a “dumb-ass coconut” for supporting National. Ms Parata, too, ran a strong campaign.

The main stumble she had was when she literally tripped over one morning, but none of the TV crews at the event managed to record it, saving her the indignity of it being replayed over and over.

She faced a group of protesters at the official launch of her campaign, a small group of locals who were against the expressway through the district from MacKays Crossing to the north of Otaki.

She also had to absorb a barrage of criticism because some public meetings about the expressway – where locals expected to be told which properties, if any, might be affected – were postponed until after the byelection.
Coincidence? asked Labour and the Greens.

But Ms Parata stayed afloat, and it must have been a relief for National supporters to see a good campaign after the train-wreck in Mt Albert last year, when Melissa Lee lost heavily to Labour’s David Shearer.

Independent MP Matt McCarten put some fire into the campaign, though many feared that the union leader would further split the left vote; no one on the right – with all due respect to Colin du Plessis – was really going to take a bite out of Ms Parata’s vote.

Mr McCarten pushed three policies, and tried to paint the others as void of their own ideas and just harmless extensions of their own parties.

He, too, had hurdles. In Porirua this week a Labour supporter heckled him relentlessly for gifting victory to Ms Parata because of the fractured left vote.

This may have pushed him to galvanise his own supporters to heckle Prime Minister John Key and Ms Parata the following day as they walked through a mall, an obvious publicity stunt that duly made all media reports that evening and the following morning.

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Report finds mismatch in young Pacific peoples’ Career choice

Posted by Sai Lealea on October 18, 2010

A new report by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and the Department of Labour, looking at possible careers for today’s young Pacific peoples has found a mismatch between future job growth areas and current subject choices and achievement at school.

Published by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, the report says the key to improving future employment prospects for Pacific people lies in effective schooling and choosing the right subjects.

Current trends show that Pacific peoples continue to be over-represented in low-skilled, low-paid jobs.

“The best way forward for Pacific peoples is sound education at primary and secondary level, and choosing the NCEA subjects that fit areas of future employment demand and/or tertiary studies,” Ministry Chief Executive Dr Colin Tukuitonga says.

“Pacific peoples will be ten percent of the population by 2026, compared with six percent now. Today’s Pacific students need to be better informed about subjects, qualifications and future career pathways, and they need better support at tertiary level so that they stay and complete their qualifications.”

Currently only 27.8 percent of Pacific school leavers qualify for university compared with 51.7 percent for Europeans and 67.8 percent for Asians.

“Our young people need to succeed not only for their own sakes, but so they can play their part in New Zealand’s future,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

The report, developed by the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and the Department of Labour, looked at occupations and industries with the highest future growth forecast, the current numbers of Pacific peoples now employed in those areas and the educational pathways required for high-skilled, high-growth employment.

It identifies the top 10 growth occupations by 2018, and offers a number of suggestions for improving labour market prospects for Pacific people.

For the full report click here

For more information:

Contact: Janine Gray
Senior Communications Advisor
Tel: 04 471 8246

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Decision to axe Samoan publication ‘dictatorial’

Posted by Sai Lealea on October 14, 2010

by <a href="“>Sua William Sio on Thursday, October 14

Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio is describing the Education Ministry’s plans to cease publishing the Samoan school journal Folauga as dictatorial.

Su’a William Sio is backing the call by FAGASA (Association of Teachers and Parents for the Teaching of Samoan in New Zealand) to continue publishing Folauga and the TUPU series of Samoan language reading resources.

This year Su’a William Sio moved a motion, supported by all parties, in Parliament to recognise Samoan Language Week.

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“I am aghast at the Ministry’s high-handed decision to cease publishing these resources,” Su’a William Sio said today. “Where is the evidence to support this sort of dictatorial decision-making? “No wonder some Samoan people now already see the Government’s apparent support for my motion, followed so quickly by the Ministry’s decision to axe resources, as an example of deceptive and misleading politicking,” Su’a William Sio said.

“If the Government hypocritically supports the language on one hand, and then withdraws funding with the other, it is just another example of National treating Pacific groups with disdain. “The evidence is that children who are bi-lingual or multi-lingual have a strong academic advantage,” Su’a William Sio said. “The Government’s decision is reminiscent of the days when Pacific and Maori people were forced to speak English.

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“The axing of these resources is offensive to all of us who believe we should be embracing diversity of cultures, ethnicities and languages as a real strength of New Zealand.”

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