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Maori Unemployment Rate Not Good Enough

13 February 2008

Maori Unemployment Rate Not Good Enough

New Zealand First Maori Affairs spokesperson Pita Paraone says the drop in Maori unemployment from 16.6 per cent in 1999 to 7.7 per cent in 2007 is an improvement but more needs to be done.

“The figures are unacceptably high when compared with the national average of just 3.4 per cent. That means Maori are two and a half times more likely to be unemployed than the national average.

“And that is just not good enough. New Zealand First would like to see that figure drop even further. When you consider that the average age of Maori is just 22 years and that there has been an increase in Maori aged 15 to 64 years, then you would expect more Maori to be employed.

“The failure to employ our potential workforce not only limits our labour market capacity, it imposes a huge fiscal cost to the nation, while indirectly contributing to the level of crime, and adding demands to our health system,” said Mr Paraone.

“New Zealand First has always believed that education is the key to upward mobility and we have fought endlessly to see that this ethic is embedded in every New Zealander regardless of race and background. In 2006, 2 out of 5 Maori aged 15 years and over left school with no formal qualifications and we would like to see a dramatic improvement in that figure.

“We need to promote success stories like 2007 Pegasus Health Maori and Pacific Scholarship winner Eli Leckey who against all odds has climbed from being an unqualified truck driver to now being well on track to becoming a doctor.

“We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world so why do more Maori continue to be unemployed?” said Mr Paraone.

ENDS

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