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Since when is 'Last Place' a Sign of Success?

Since when is ‘Last Place’ a Sign of Success?

Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader, Maori Party

Friday 12 May 2006

A release from Maori Affairs Minister, Parekura Horomia, stating he was “pleased” with new unemployment figures and that “8.6 per cent is a significant improvement” was greeted with dismay by Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

The Household Labour Survey released new figures (yesterday) confirming unemployment rates of 3.2% for European/Päkehä; 7.8% for ‘other’; 7.6% for Pasifika peoples and sitting on the highest rate, again, Maori at 8.7%.

“We have to stop settling for the crumbs” stated Dr Sharples. “The Maori Affairs Minister talks about a ‘Maori Potential framework’ and yet he celebrates the fact that Maori are still unemployed at rates far higher than any other ethnic group in this country, indeed, almost three times as high as for Pakeha”.

The Household Labour Force Survey has also released new figures which reveal Maori are earning on average, four dollars an hour less than non-Maori (the average hourly earnings for Maori full-time wage/salary earners are $16.89 in comparison to European $20.83).

“We know, that internationally, the reputation and experience of tangata whenua as entrepreneurs is world-class” stated Dr Sharples.

“The Maori Party is tired of the endless disparities being recorded in such vital indicators as employment, unemployment and income” stated Dr Sharples.

“We would urge the Minister of Maori Affairs to lift his sights higher, and to stop, settling, for second-best, or in this case, last place”.

“The Maori Party believes in the potential of Maori to earn the same as any other New Zealander, to enjoy full employment, and to experience the obvious economic benefits that come with an improved position. That would be something that we can all celebrate” concluded Dr Sharples.


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