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Maori, Pacific youth unemployment needs attention

16 February 2010 Media Statement
Maori and Pacific youth unemployment needs urgent attention

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres should be commended for bringing the issue of Maori and Pacific youth unemployment into the foreground, say Labour MPs Nanaia Mahuta and Carmel Sepuloni.

He notes with concern that almost one in three young Maori and Pacific people are unemployed. The unemployment rate for Maori aged between 15 and 24 is now 30.4 per cent (up from 19.5 per cent twelve months ago) and is now 29.8 per cent (up from 18.6 per cent) for Pacific youth.

“This is especially troubling because the Maori and Pacific populations of New Zealand are relatively youthful,” Nanaia Mahuta says.

“This means that youth unemployment has an even more significant impact on these communities. From these figures, it is obvious that New Zealand’s Maori and Pacific communities have been disproportionately affected by the recession.”

“Failing our young Maori and Pacific people will have an impact on both the present and the future of New Zealand. They want to work and thrive as active contributors to their community. Sadly the Government has failed to deliver a strong agenda to create jobs and training for young people. Get a move on Paula! Young people deserve better!”

“Not only has the door been shut on them for work opportunities, but under this Government their access to tertiary education has also been limited,” says Carmel Sepuloni.

“If this situation is allowed to continue, the social and economic future of this country is at risk.”

“Joris de Bres has issued a specific challenge to the Government. A lot of work needs to be done to address the issue of Maori and Pacific youth unemployment. The recession has increased inequality in New Zealand, and Maori and Pacific young people have been hit the hardest. They need the support and assistance of the Government. But will they get it?”


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