- Last week we reviewed Statistics New Zealand unemployment data, and again noted critical gaps in matters relevant to Māori from this Department. (For example the Department failed to produce Māori youth unemployment data, which is actually what is needed for the Government’s new Strategy and Action Plan, see items above.)
This week, we note a review of the Department’s management of the 2018 Census has been completed, which shows that only 68.2 percent of Māori responded to the 2018 Census. This has compromised the ability for iwi data to be collated through the Census, and as previously advised, iwi-based analysis from the 2018 Census now seems unlikely. Amongst other items the independent reviewers found that:
“due to a lack of field resources combined with the decisions to remove paper and contact from list-leave operations, targeted populations and dwellings were not properly equipped to fully participate. The strategies developed to increase participation, particularly for Māori, were not effective and in some cases not well executed.”
As an outcome some Māori leaders have – rightly in our assessment – expressed their disappointment with the Department in the media this week. We also note the Chief Executive, Liz MacPherson, has now tendered her resignation over the problems with the Census, and her resignation has been accepted by the State Services Commissioner. What is less clear is why the responsible Minister, James Shaw, is publicly thanking MacPherson and in particular affirming her work relating to Māori since the Census? To be clear, literally millions of dollars in Treaty settlements, as with health and education sector funding, is directly linked to Census data, meaning Mr Shaw’s comments are, in our view, well out of line and demean Māori expectations from the State for this service.
- Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, The Department of Conservation (DOC), the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and Fisheries New Zealand are calling for feedback on the recently released Te Kaweka Takohaka mō te Hoiho/Yellow-eyed Penguin Recovery Draft Strategy. Submissions close 20 September 2019.
- This week media articles named Mr Uenuku Fairhall as the former Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Koutu principal who had his teacher’s registration cancelled for breaching professional boundaries during a school trip to Mexico. It is reported that breaches included sleeping in the same bed as a student while naked, using sexualised talk with students, being partially clothed in front of students, and entering a bathroom and washing the back of a student.
- This week Te Puni Kōkiri published a brochure on how to apply for Whenua Māori funding. (This is a four year $56 million fund to support Māori land owners navigate through regulatory barriers to increase land productivity.)
- This week the New Plymouth Council agreed to make available a contestable fund of up to $50,000 a year for the up-keep of 43 urupa on Māori freehold or reservation land.
- The occupation of land at Ihumatao is continuing, with various parties and special guests visiting. Earlier this month Kingi Tūheitia visited, and this week Ms Universe New Zealand contestants were on the manuhiri list. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, however, has not taken up the invitation to visit as yet, and in response a petition is now circulating requesting that she go to the site and meet with the occupiers.
- This week the Government announced that the ‘Mana in Mahi’ programme will be expanded to support up to 2,000 young people into employment. Mana in Mahi is an apprenticeship programme targeting youth who have received a benefit for six months or longer. The programme seeks to promote apprenticeships, in lieu of these youth being in receipt of welfare. To facilitate this employers receive wage subsidies, generally equivalent to a benefit that Government would have otherwise paid to the youth, and the employer is then required to top-up that amount to at least the minimum wage. Employers can also access additional funding for the provision of pastoral care. (The Mana in Mahi programme is not Māori specific, but given its focus will have a high Māori uptake, and forms part of the Youth Employment Action Plan.)
- This week the Government announced three Northland based providers which will receive funding from the Provincial Growth Fund – He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) for initiatives specifically targeting rangatahi not currently in employment, education or training (NEET). The providers and initiatives are:
He Puna Marama Trust – will receive funding of $990,000 for NGEN Room a 12-month digital technology, life skills, education and work experience programme;
Kamo Driving School – will receive funding of $396,000 for 12-week digital skills, work skills development and driver licencing programme; and
The Ministry for Social Development – will receive a co investment of $2.5 million for He Poutama Taitamariki (HPT) an intensive employment and training outcomes programme focussed on youth at risk of long-term unemployment and poor social outcomes. The Ministry for Social Development will invest an additional $2.7 million into the programme.