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Income gap between Maori and Pakeha grows

Georgina te Heuheu MP
National Party Maori Affairs Spokeswoman

13 December 2006

Income gap between Maori and Pakeha grows

The income gap between Maori and Pakeha has widened under the Labour Government, says National Maori Affair’s spokeswoman, Georgina te Heuheu.

“News that the number of Maori on the unemployment benefit has fallen dramatically is very welcome.

“However, we can’t lose sight of the fact that the Labour Government has failed to provide substantive improvements in Maori employment conditions.”

Statistics New Zealand’s annual income survey this year reveals Maori wage and salary earners now receive 80.9% of what Pakeha receive, down from 82.0% in 1999.

“This deterioration is unacceptable.”

Figures from the Labour Department show that from June 2000 to June 2006, average hourly earnings for Maori increased by $3.45.

However, across all New Zealanders, average hourly earnings increased by $4.40 over the same period.

“Maori are clearly lagging behind.

“Despite the Government’s spin, the numbers speak for themselves. Rather than closing, the gaps between Maori and Pakeha are increasing.

“The Department also reported that the drop in Maori receiving the unemployment benefit was due to many young Maori obtaining low-skilled, lesser paid positions.

“What we should be doing is putting more Maori into positions where they will receive training and have long term career opportunities. This is crucial to Maori development

“They should be offered hope of a brighter future – not turned into a source of cheap labour.”

ENDS

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