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Maori Unemployment Could Rise Above 30% If Action Is Not Take Now – NZ Maori Council

The New Zealand Maori Council has urged the Government to work more with Maori small business and industry to develop a specific Maori approach to employment and business growth as Treasury Forecasts indicate a scenario where unemployment could hit past 26%. Matthew Tukaki, the Councils Executive Director told an online business briefing of its National Taskforce on Access to Industry and Employment that Maori unemployment is, under the Treasury scenario, to be above 30%.

“The reality is that Maori unemployment is always ahead of the national average for reasons of ongoing employment depravation in the regions, ongoing issues with low skills and low wage growth as well as a general lack of focussed support on the development of all aspect of the Maori economy.” Tukaki said (see here: https://www.maorieverywhere.com/single-post/2020/04/08/Maori-Council-releases-support-package-for-small-and-medium-business-%E2%80%93-%E2%80%9Cwe-can%E2%80%99t-just-survive-we-must-thrive%E2%80%9D)

Tukaki is the former head of the World’s oldest and one of the largest employment companies, Drake International. Tukaki also briefed the taskforce on its recommendations a week ago on support needed to strengthen Maori small business and invest in growth and taxation changes post the lockdown.

“While we have put forward a range of recommendations we are yet to hear from the Government which begs the question of who they are listening to in terms of the Maori economy but more so employment related matters. Maori small business must have seat at the table if we are going to arrest Maori unemployment rates hitting more than 30% - we cannot sit or stand by and wait for lockdown to end before a specific and targeted plan is in play.”

“I am deeply concerned with high unemployment will bring ongoing deprivation on the social side of things from more of our people becoming indebted to loan sharks, banks and financial deprivation, potential evictions from rental properties, increases in numbers of our people becoming weekly dependant on food banks and government benefits.” Tukaki said

Tukaki has said the Government must convene a national working group for and by Maori now to work on the plan, to ensure everything is done to prevent Maori unemployment in the triple figures and to ensure as many Maori small business come out thriving.

“There is no doubt this Government is doing a great job addressing the health crisis – but we must not delay in making plans on the economic and employment front for Maori and that is why we must progress this Kaupapa with great clarity and purpose now.”

Tukaki has said that a second national ZOOM hui on Maori employment will take place next Monday led by the Council.

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