Report targets Pacific debt problem
Sun, 25 Nov 2012 9:14a.m.
Loan sharks and cultural obligations to donate money have been identified as the main culprits in crippling levels of debt among some Pacific Island families.
Research carried out jointly by the Families Commission and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs examined the impact of the debt, with figures showing 885 low-income Pacific Island families owe more than $24 million, on average more than $27,000 per family.
Families Commissioner Dr James Prescott said The Pacific Families and Problem Debt Report, issued this weekend, identified the reasons and motivations behind debt, which would help agencies target approaches to financial literacy and numeracy training.
"For example, the report identifies that a whole-of-family focus is required to resolve issues, and to be effective, any intervention needs to recognise the critical role of Pacific women in managing the family finances."
He said many families couldn't afford to adhere to the cultural practice of giving money to churches and at family and community events. Pacific Islanders were also vulnerable to predatory fringe lenders and often did not understand loan terms and conditions.
Another significant issue was a reluctance to approach budgeting agencies although help was welcomed once it was offered.
"This is a very sensitive topic and many did not want others to know they were struggling. The result of this reluctance was often that by the time they made contact with an agency they were in a financial crisis, facing eviction, repossession of household items and cars, or a mortgagee sale," the report said.
The research also highlighted the influential role of the church in Pacific communities and its potential to encourage families to take advantage of support services and to live within their means.
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4/12/2012 9:20:23 a.m.
I quite agree with Sewmanutafa, churches need to back off these low income families as they are sometimes the biggest cause of these financial hardships,it's bad enough that they have to keep up with culture than to be lumbered with giving to the church, the funds should go back into helping this families, not them going out to food banks looking for food because the church donation has to be met.
28/11/2012 3:58:13 a.m.
Its fair to say that sometimes family and church obligations become real tough to handle. Some churches and families need to back off the fiscal demands they make on their people. Our low income earners often end up stuffed financially like this. Sad.
26/11/2012 10:21:04 a.m.
Welcome to the western world. if it ant loan sharks its investment companies or wall-street ripping people off. Trust no one in the west. China puts people to death for fraud VS west that get little jail time. ask this question. who got jail time for the ‘Libor rate’ scandal? or BOA bank corruption in 08?
25/11/2012 3:39:04 p.m.
It doesn't matter what the issue is, these people are always coming off worst. It reminds me of the Winnie the Pooh character called Eeyore. Eeyore was always a chronic hard luck story. As he says, "Everything happens to Eeyore". You could say the same about Pasifica people too.
25/11/2012 12:00:27 p.m.
This report appears to get right to the point. It’s been obvious for some time that Pacific Islanders in NZ give far too much money to the church. It's no wonder then that they can't make progress in terms of health, education and jobs. Pacifica people do not seem to see a world that is full of opportunity and only look for opportunities within their communities.
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