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Don’t leave our kids behind says Pita Sharples

Don’t leave our kids behind says pita sharples

Employment spokesperson for the maori party

Thursday 14 February 2008

"How it can be that the Treaty partner is sitting on an unemployment rate almost 2.5 times higher than for other New Zealanders?” asked Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

He was responding to the 'good news' announcement by the Minister of Maori Affairs yesterday around Maori unemployment.

“We are pleased that the Maori unemployment rate is part of a wider downwards trend over the last decade” said Dr Sharples.

“But we must all look deeper at strategies to improve the labour force participation rate for tangata whenua”.

“Our first concern is for our very significant youth population.”

“It is a national shame that Maori (22.6%) and Pasifika (22%) youth unemployment rates remain so high above that of European youth (11.6%)”.

“What is going on in the labour market, firstly that youth unemployment is so much higher than for the population generally (3.6%) and moreover, that it is so obviously split on ethnic grounds?”

"These figures are for people registered as unemployed. The number actually not working is higher - and I believe the rate for tangata whenua is probably higher again," he said.

“At the local level there are further disparities. As I travel around the motu, I am told that many of our people living in rural locations have become unemployed because people outside of their district have come in, and according to them, taken the jobs off them” said Dr Sharples.

“Finally, of course, while unemployment figures may have dropped, sickness and invalid numbers are going through the roof – so one has to ask, is this just a movement on paper that we are seeing?


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