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Encouraging improvement in employment rates

Encouraging improvement in employment rates for Māori and Pasifika

Associate Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Tariana Turia, has moved quickly to correct the tall tales being released into the public arena about the state of Māori employment.

“The reality is that in the last quarter there has been an encouraging improvement in employment for both Māori and Pasifika. In percentile terms, for Māori there’s been an increase in the employment rate between the first quarters of 2013 and 2014 from 56.2% to 58.7% and for Pasifika from 51.1% to 54.3%,” says Mrs Turia.

“Over that same period of reporting, Māori unemployment has decreased from 13.9% to 13.2% with an even more pronounced fall in Pacific unemployment, from 15.2% to 13%.”

“Make no mistake – I am vigilant in my determination to ensure we continue to achieve the progress we are seeing with Māori and Pasifika peoples, with employment rates rising and unemployment falling, but the reality is it takes a whole community attitude to ensuring employment is a priority for all groups.”

“The merchants of doom do a disservice to the great work I see occurring amongst whānau, hapū and iwi, amongst Pasifika and Māori communities, to pull out all the stops to lift the employment rate.”

“We have a huge work programme in the employment and training sector, to lift the unacceptably high NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) rates, and to continue to see progress in Māori and Pasifika employment. I am certainly not satisfied that we have made enough progress in these areas as yet, but I’m far more inclined to think of solutions and strategies to address these systemic inequities, than simply to sit around wishing we were back in 2008.”

“Of course the difference between 2008 rates and 2014 rates is marked. Let’s not forget that the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 in New Zealand and the rest of the world continues to affect the New Zealand labour market.”

“During the recession, employment fell, unemployment rose, more people stayed in study, wage rises were fewer and smaller, and labour market dynamics slowed. The impact of the recession on the New Zealand labour market will continue to be felt for a long time. But surely, when we are seeing encouraging signs as was reported this quarter, we should be welcoming that growth as a vital measure of the improving health and performance of the labour market,” says Mrs Turia.


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