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Mâori Party misleads over Mâori unemployment

31 May 2006

Mâori Party misleads over Mâori unemployment

The Mâori Party has deliberately tried to mislead the public over Mâori unemployment in Northland, Bay of Plenty and East Coast, says Mâori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia.

Official statistics from the Ministry of Social Development shows the number of Mâori receiving the Unemployment Benefit has fallen by 58 per cent in Northland, 65 per cent in Bay of Plenty and a massive 71 per cent in East Coast since 2000.

Yet the Mâori Party tried to claim in Parliament that Maori unemployment in all three areas had grown worse.

"They are just wrong. The numbers show that thousands more Mâori have moved off the Unemployment Benefit and into jobs under Labour.

"The Mâori Party have ignored this fact and tried some slight of hand with the statistics – at best they have made a terrible error, at worst they have been down right deceptive," the Minister said.

Parliament's Hansard record shows Mâori Party MP Hone Harawira questioning what the Minister would do in the face of worsening Maori unemployment in these areas, claiming that as a percentage of those on the unemployment benefit, there were more Mâori unemployed today.

"Are the Mâori Party truly saying they would prefer to see one million Mâori on the dole if the total receiving the Unemployment Benefit was two million (50 per cent), than just 10 Maori on the dole if the total unemployed in New Zealand was 15 (66 per cent) – because that's how they have used the statistics?"

The latest Statistics New Zealand Household Labour Force Survey confirms that Mâori are closing the gaps. The rate of unemployment for Mâori has almost halved under Labour dropping from 16.6 per cent in 1999 to 8.6 per cent today.

In 1999 European New Zealander's unemployment rate stood 11.5 percentage points better than Mâori (at 5.1 per cent), by 2006 this gap has closed to just 5.9 percentage points.

Change in Working Age Mâori in receipt of Unemployment Benefit
2000 to 2006
Region 2000 2006 Number change % change
Northland 4,340 1,809 - 2531 - 58%
Bay of Plenty 7,062 2,481 - 4581 - 65%
East Coast 3,901 1,130 - 2771 - 71%

ENDS

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