In Focus

Change Agenda: Income equity for Māori

Thursday April 05, 2018

A report recently released in Parliament by Hon Willie Jackson, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, BERL and Tokona Te Raki shows that if current inequalities in education, employment and income for Māori are alleviated there would be a $2.6 billion per year boost to the economy.

 

The report looks at current inequalities in education, employment and income for Māori and then projects how these inequalities will grow over the next 20 years if the status quo is maintained, and projects what will happen if inequalities are alleviated.

 

Each of the partners who launched the report are committed to disrupting the current norms and re-wiring our system to ensure equity can be obtained for the benefit of Aotearoa.

 

Lisa Tumahai, Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu says this report is a call to action.

 

“Throughout Ngāi Tahu history we have never feared the unknown. Our tipuna set out on waka to explore the world and this report lays the foundation for a new journey,” says Lisa.

 

“This report identifies a challenge we must meet for the benefit of our whānau. Ngāi Tahu are committed to working with Government and all partners to eliminate the systemic inequalities that Māori face. We are committed to creating a vibrant and equitable future where māori success will benefit all New Zealanders,” says Lisa.

 

“Maintaining the status quo is no longer viable for both Treaty partners and we have both a moral and economic imperative to act,” says Lisa.

 

Hillmarè Schulze, Deputy Chief Economist, BERL said “that there are many dimensions of equity, but we focussed on education and income. If this income gap is ignored we will see it explode to $4.3 billion per year by 2040”. She also stressed that “technological changes will favour the highly skilled, while displacing low skilled labour, again putting a significant proportion of the Māori workforce at risk of losing their jobs”.

Tokona Te Raki Executive Director, Dr Eruera Tarena, says we need to start by engaging our hearts and realising we are on the same waka heading towards a shared future.

 

“There’s no short-term fix to turning around Māori outcomes – the challenges reach across the education-to-employment pipeline so the solution must also engage key influencers across multiple sectors. We all have a role to play and only by working together can we make a difference. There are no silos on a waka – we need to work together,” says Eru.

 

“This report shows that it is clear the fate of our aging Pākehā population is tied to the success of our younger faster growing Māori workforce,” says Eru.

 

“Our next phase will be working with all partners to ensure they are committed to sailing our waka forward. Government backing will be the wind in our sail as we move forward,” says Eru.

 

The full report can be found here.