Election 2020: Affordable, quality housing most pressing for Pacific voters


Housing, wages and health are the three top election issues for Pasifika, a new survey shows. Photo / File

Vote2020

By RNZ

Housing, wages and health are the three top election issues for Pasifika, according to a new survey by a Pacific youth-led activist group.

“Pacific Votes Count 2020: A Survey Report” found that the political party seen as most likely to help Pacific people into warm, affordable homes would likely be rewarded with their votes.

Volunteers with the Pacific Climate Warriors (PCW) surveyed more than 500 Pacific respondents to gauge the most pressing issues before the election.

Report co-author and PCW co-ordinator Mary Moeono-Kolio said housing was the most important issue for 23.2 per cent of respondents.

Moeono-Kolio said the Auckland region it peaked at 62 per cent.

“But then also importantly, a lot of our communities who responded from South Auckland, it came across really strongly across all of the age groups that this is a concern that they can access affordable housing, warm housing.”

For many Pacific people, enduring long waiting lists for a reasonable-quality rental was normal, Moeono-Kolio said. Expensive and overcrowded living was the reality, with 32.6 per cent of people living with six or more people.

Fair wages and working conditions rated the second most pressing issue for Pacific people. Moeono-Kolio said it was important to note that while the survey was being conducted, the Temperzone industrial action was happening which may have influenced responses.

“Where quite a few of the Pacific workers had been laid off despite the company having accessed the wage subsidy,” she said.

“People were really worried about treatment at work [and] fair wages.”

Access to affordable healthcare was also important for Pacific people, rating third in the survey but an issue that had its importance amplified by Covid-19, according to Moeono-Kolio.

Pasifika experience a lack of equity in the health sector in normal times, she said, and were harder hit by the impact of cost which was relative to income.

“The affordability of GPs, you know. What might seem affordable, which is $17 to $25, isn’t necessarily affordable to a family of eight who are already struggling to put food on the table and get their kids to school.”

The survey found that despite public perception, Pacific young people are politically engaged and are acutely aware of the need of their communities. Among those surveyed, 80 per cent said they would definitely vote in the election.

The top three issues for Covid-19 recovery were seen as job security, health and well-being and financial security.

Other key insights from the 541 people surveyed

• 62 per cent were under the age of 30.
• 59.4 per cent were from Auckland including 34 per cent from South Auckland, followed by West Auckland at 14.6 per cent.
• 27.5 per cent were from Wellington, with Wellington City making up 11.7 per cent and Lower Hutt at 6.8 per cent.
• 77 per cent or 375 people were born in New Zealand with 50 in Samoa, 21 in Fiji and 11 in Tonga.
• 52.8 per cent were in full-time employment and 14 per cent in part-time work
• 32.4 per cent were in full-time study or training, and 8.2 per cent were in part-time study or training.
• 72.3 per cent identified as Christian.
• 54 per cent indicated they live with three to five people, 27.5 per cent live with six to nine people.



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