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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 06, 2010

Maori jobless rate over 16 percent

Labour's Maori affairs spokesperson Parekura Horomia is describing today's unemployment figures as shocking for Maori.

Mr Horomia says while unemployment nationally has jumped from 6 percent to a staggering 6.8 percent, the Maori rate has climbed from 14.2 percent to 16.4 percent.

He says it means that 26,400 Maori are now without jobs ... an increase of 3600 since the previous quarter.

“There are a lot of workers struggling at the moment to pay their bills, to meet their commitments that they had when both in the family were working if they are lucky enough to have an occupation but now there are a lot of single income families, there are a lot of families just struggling with the basic needs,” Mr Horomia says.

The situation is particularly bad in high Maori population areas like Gisborne - Hawkes Bay where the unemployment rate is up from 6.5 to 8.5 percent meaning more than 2000 more people are out of work.


Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says lifting the age of superannuation would mean a major shifting of wealth from Maori to pakeha.

Former National leader and head of the government's 20-20 taskforce Don Brash has called for the super eligibility age to be lifted from 65 to 67 to avoid a blowout in government debt.

This prompted Waikato University demographer Natalie Jackson to say it would only be fair to exempt Maori because of the Maori populations younger age structure with only one in 20 people over 65 being Maori ... while four in 20 under the age of 24 are Maori.

Ms Turei says it means that not only will young Maori be working to pay for superannuation they will be unlikely to get but for super their parents and grandparents wont get either.

“So it’s this a huge generational shift of wealth from older people and it’s also a shift of wealth from young working Maori communities to predominantly Pakeha communities,” Ms Turei says.

Raising the age would make existing equity issues even worse.


A te reo speaking pakeha hip hop artist and finalist in the contemporary waiata section of next month's Silver Scroll Music Awards says all New Zealanders should learn the Maori language.

Jamie Geeenslade AKA maitreya’s song Sin City is up for a gong alongside Ahorangi Winitana’s Oku Mareikura and Ngatapa Blacks' He Mamai Aroha.

He says as he travels overseas he's constantly reminded how te reo Maori gives him a unique sense of identity as a New Zealander.

“Kaitiakitanga, tino rangatiratanga, concepts like this gave me a better understand of how I wanted to treat the land and people in general. You need to go back to the original teachings of the country you are from in order to understand your country better,” Mr Greenslade says.

maitreya says te reo maori should be a compulsory subject in New Zealand Schools.


Maori list MP Shane Jones says in parts of Northland where he comes from more than 1 in 3 Maori are unemployed.

Latest unemployment figures show while unemployment nationally has jumped from 6 percent to 6.8 percent, the Maori rate has climbed from 14.2 percent to 16.4 percent, meaning 26,400 Maori are now without jobs ....an increase of 3600 since the previous quarter.

Mr Jones says it’s an indictment on the Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples who has been more interested in the Maori flag over prisons than unemployment.

“There's too many of our rangatahi who aren’t being provided with the necessary leadership by our Minister of Maori Affairs. There’s work that can be done. All that’s needed is some creative programmes, some initiative and really some boldness to do something and stand up to John Key and stand up to Bill English who are giving away the money to people who in many cases quite frankly don’t even need a tax cut,” Mr Jones says.


And Greens co-leader Meteria Turei says welfare reforms before parliament today will hit Maori hard.

She says the measures which include work testing for beneficiaries will be very harsh on the most vulnerable families and children in the country.

“Maori already have all of he social dislocation which comes from colonisation. On top of this social welfare case managers will be able to direct a person to do things, take a certain job or whatever,” Ms Turei says.

If those on the dole don’t take the job offered their benefit can be cut while domestic purpose beneficiaries will be required to find 15 hours a week work or face the same fate.

She says latest unemployment figures show the government is expecting Maori to find non-existent jobs.


The organisation which oversees Health Research Council grants for studying things Maori is pleased to see an emphasis on traditional knowledge in the latest grants round.

The chair of the Nga Kanohi Kitea, Kahu Mc Clintock says $1.5 million has been given to 7 community projects ranging from river cleanup methods to ways of building resilience among Taranaki rangatahi exposed to domestic violence.

“We were pleased to see applications like that come in because those were our traditional knowledge and the fund is about supporting not only research capability and capacity but also to return to some of those traditional ways of looking at health that have been part of us since our arrival in Aotearoa,” Mrs McClintock says.

She says developing Maori capability through traditional knowledge is the prime focus of the Nga Kanohi Kitea Maori Knowledge and Development Research grants.


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