A study in New Zealand suggests Pacific people contribute at least $21.5 billion to the annual GDP, or close to three percent of a national GDP of $652 billion.
New Zealand Treasury in partnership with the Pacific Business Network has released the New Zealand Pacific Economy report, which outlines the impact Pacific peoples have on NZ’s economy.
The report was released at the first Pacific Aotearoa Summit to the Ministry of Pacific Peoples and various stakeholders.
Not only does the report outline its qualitative findings of the Pacific economy, but it also tries to define wealth and prosperity from a Pacific perspective.
On the matter of GDP, the report states: “It should be remembered that the GDP measure of ‘value’ is a narrow measure indeed....[and] should embrace broader measures – including, for example voluntary work, cultural capital, spiritual wellbeing and intergenerational considerations.”
Treasury summed up the Pacific GDP by dividing it into production, expenditure and income. It reveals that while the proportion is small compared to the non-Pacific GDP, it is a sizeable amount for the population.
Production GDP measures NZ$3.1 billion, while expenditure measures $10.4 billion, and income GSP is $8 billion.
On the non-Pacific side, production GDP alone measures 236.8 billion (expenditure 186 and income 229.2).
The research was done to estimate the total value added by Pacific organisations, the total income earned by those Pacific individuals, and the total spending of Pacific households.
Overall, the study found the way Pacific peoples contribute most to the economy is through their salaries and wages.
“More than 160,000 Pacific individuals earn salaries and wages, working across all areas of the New Zealand economy,” the report states.
Their findings showed Pacific peoples are overwhelmingly in the employee category rather than employer.
A dominant area for Pacific peoples is the trade and accommodation sector, which is not only the foundation of the tourism industry, but is also the “lowest paying industry.”
“While it may be a growth area in New Zealand, it is both a low-paying industry and contains a significant amount of part-time work,” the report states.
“The average income in this industry is around $25,000 for both Pacific and non-Pacific. Often this work is low or unskilled.”
The report concludes more tertiary qualifications for young Pacific people will improve income, wealth creation and doubtless impact on the housing they will access.
The study included 53 Samoans, 14 Tongans and 18 people from Fiji, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.