Maori Unemployed to Benefit

  • Tau Henare
Maori Affairs

Maori will benefit significantly from the Government's employment strategy the Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon Tau Henare, said today

The latest Household Labour Force Survey showed the Maori unemployment rate was four times that of pakeha.

Mr Henare said while the result did not make good reading Government plans to target the most disadvantaged, including Maori, would go a long way to addressing the problem.

"This Government is talking about radical reform to devolve control of employment resources to the local level, the community.

"At the heart of the employment strategy is the delivery of better outcomes for those job seekers most disadvantaged... cutting out the middle man which will help to achieve that."

He noted that the Maori employment rate - that is the number of Maori in the labour force - had increased over the 12 months by 5,500 from 128,500 to 134,000.

"The number of Maori now participating in the labour force is now 62.3 per cent of the Maori population and it's the highest it's ever been. So it shows our people want to work."

The total employment budget had increased by $22 million this year; employment projections for the next three years (NZIER and Reserve Bank) forecast growth of 100,000 new jobs; and funding for Maori intervention programmes were higher than ever before.

"These show this Government is serious.

"The Opposition, led by the tooth fairy from Palmerston North, are saying we'll do this, we'll do that, but Labour's track record shows that 100,000 people were added to the unemployment register between 1984 and 1990, most of them Maori," said Mr Henare.

"Long term unemployment increased by 600 per cent during the same period under Labour rule. We've only been in Government a year and while the unemployment rate has risen.5 per cent in that time at least we're not prepared to sit back and sell, sell, sell to the detriment of Maori which was the legacy of their term in Government."