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Race-based bonuses must go

Race-based bonuses must go

Work and Income should stop paying bonuses to staff based on the ethnicity of their clients, says National's social services spokesperson Katherine Rich.

"There is no causal link between being Maori and being unemployed. Maori are over represented in welfare figures but this is more to do with other factors like education, health, job experience and long-term welfare dependence.

"All people need help to get over particular barriers, such as literacy, addiction, or health problems, to get back into work. But being Maori in itself doesn't make someone harder to place into work.

"If a case manager has Maori and non-Maori clients who are equally disadvantaged, skin colour shouldn't matter.

"I spoke to an ex-Work Broker last week who was taken aside by management because she had not met her Maori placement targets. She was told to increase her Maori numbers and send Maori candidates along for further vacancies.

"When she protested that employers she worked with wanted to know that she'd sent along the best people for the vacancy, not a demographic group, she was told that not upping the Maori figures would affect her bonus.

"Thankfully for employers she stubbornly continued to send along the best people for each vacancy.

"This sort of nonsense affects Work and Income's ability to be an effective recruitment agency. Employers want to know they are getting the most suitable candidate for the job, not just unemployed who are filling a target. Employers' needs are based on skill requirements, not ethnicity," says Mrs Rich.

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