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Maori unemployment below 10%

11 Nov 2003 Media Statement

Maori unemployment below 10% for the first time in 16 years

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia has welcomed figures showing solid employment gains for Maori. Household Labour Force Survey results released today show the Maori unemployment rate sitting at 9.7%.

The last time Maori unemployment was below 10% was December 1987.

The HLFS figures show Maori unemployment has dropped from an average of 17.9% in the year to December 1999 to 10.6% in the year to Sept, 2003, a drop of 7.3 percentage points. This compares to a drop of 1.8 percentage points for Pakeha over the same period.

The survey also shows an average of 45-thousand more Maori are now in work compared with the year to Sept 1999. Over the same period the number of Maori registered as job seekers with Work and Income dropped from 69,407 to 50,699.

"While these results are positive the unemployment rate must drop further. Maori unemployment is still significantly higher than that of most other ethnic groups, and Maori still make up a disproportionate share of Work and Income clients," said Parekura Horomia.

"The Labour led government is serious about building a strong and confident nation and we are determined to do better.

"It is also essential that Maori are able to acquire the skills required for high quality and sustainable jobs in the modern economy.

"The Maori population is relatively young so it is vital that educational standards are improved at all levels. Maori are taking on tertiary study in increasing numbers and we must also ensure that there are appropriate and accessible learning opportunities for adults who are seeking work or already in the workforce.

"This government has also provided for young Maori seeking training opportunities. Maori now make up 38% of young people involved in the Gateway programme - while 14% of the more than 6-thousand students taking part in Modern Apprenticeships are Maori," said Parekura Horomia.

ENDS

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