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Unity of effort a key to lifting Māori economic performance

Unity of effort a key to lifting Māori economic performance

A strong partnership between central Government, Māori business and whānau, and their partners in the wider community, is essential to further boosting Māori economic performance, says Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

In speech notes for an address to the National Māori Business Networks and Māori Enterprises Conference, Te Hekenga III, in Tauranga today, the minister said improving the lives of all whānau and addressing inequality was a key part of the Government’s priorities.

“There is significant scope to raise the contribution of the Māori economy, for example, through iwi-led business initiatives such as the ones successfully carried out by the likes of Ngāi Tahu and Waikato-Tainui.

“Besides improving the well-being and security of whānau, this will benefit New Zealand as a whole. What’s good for Māori is good for the rest of New Zealand.”

But Nanaia Mahuta said an important element of achieving better whānau development outcomes is successful smaller-scale whānau enterprise, noting that small-to-medium Māori enterprises – employers or self-employed Māori - make up a large portion of the growing Māori economy.

“A growing body of evidence tells us when you build up whanaungatanga, the strength of quality whānau relationships, Māori get much better outcomes across the board.”

Nanaia Mahuta noted that the biggest current Māori contribution to the wider econ­omy is Māori earning salaries and wages, and with a young Māori population, this contribution will significantly increase over the next 20 years.

She said Māori already have the inherent skill, knowledge and passion to do even better in the economy. “All of us here have a critical part to play, and a responsibility, to unleash that potential, connect it to practical support and make it a soaring reality for us all to enjoy.”

Nanaia Mahuta outlined a series of steps for further success by Māori businesses, including working together, innovating in areas of established strength and boosting capability.

“The Government is committed to doing its bit in building capability in Māori business, leadership and governance to improve economic and social outcomes for Māori – with a focus on rangatahi to ensure future success.”

The government’s Crown-Māori strategy for Māori economic development He kai kei aku ringa sets some ambitious targets for Māori progress from 2017 to 2021 – with the overarching goal being to increase Māori median income by 20 per cent.

“When we all work together – Government, Māori business and whānau and our partners in the wider community – all of our aspirations stand a greater, more powerful chance of truly being achieved.”

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