- Ruakere Hond (Taranaki, Te Ātiawa), Prue Kapua (Te Arawa) and Kim Ngarimu (Ngāti Porou) have been appointed as members of the Waitangi Tribunal.
- Te Paea Paringatai (Waikato and Ngāti Porou) has been appointed a member of the Library and Information Advisory Commission.
- The Ngā Tohu Reo Māori 2018 (National Māori Language Awards 2018) were held last week. The winners were:
- Iwi Award – Muriwai Jones;
- Whānau Award – Oti te Nanekoti by Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga;
- Rangatahi Award – Māori Television Giphy Channel by Fly;
- Takitahi Award – Mike Hollings (Ngāti Raukawa and Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi);
- Mātauranga Kaupapa Māori Education Award – Taringa Punua Pāoho by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa;
- Mātauranga Whānui Education Award – Mahuru Māori – Fortnite by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa;
- Kāwanatanga Award – Te Amorangi ki mua, Te Hāpai Ō ki muri by Rotorua Lakes Council
- Pakihi Award – Te Mātāpuna by Fonterra;
- Te Mahi Toi, Te Mahi Whakangahau Award – Oti te Nanekoti by Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga;
- Ngā Mahi Pāpāho Award – Sky TV, Tiki Towns;
- Ngā Hapori Māori Award – Dr Te Taku Parai (Ngāti Toa);
- Aotearoatanga Award – Kōrero Māori by Te Hiku Media;
- Te Wiki o te Reo Māori Award – Kupu App by Spark & Te Aka Māori Dictionary;
- Te Tohu Huia te Reo Award – Kupu App by Spark & Te Aka Māori Dictionary;
- Te Tohu Oranga Angitu Award – Ahorangi Whatarangi Winiata (Ngāti Raukawa);
- Ngā Tohu Kairangi: Special Commendations:
- #1miriona – Te Māngai Pāho
- Hīkoi Reo Māori Whangārei – Te Kura Taitamawāhine o Whangārei
- Guyon Espiner – Te Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa
- Fush Uka – Anton Matthew
- Te Tauihu – Te Kaunihera o Pōneke.
- On Saturday 1 December Wakatū Incorporation will hold their annual general meeting in Nelson. A highlight for Wakatū Incorporation this year has been the twenty-year anniversary of Tohu Wines. In 1998, Wakatū Incorporation, in partnership with Rarua Atiawa Iwi Trust and Wi Pere Trust, launched Tohu Wines. Tohu Wines is recognised as He mātāmua taketake – the first Māori-owned and operated wine label in the world. In 2010 Wakatū Incorporation became the sole owners of the brand. At the AGM three board appointments will also be decided.
- This week the former Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, announced his pending retirement from politics, in January 2019. Mr Finlayson oversaw the conclusion of approximately sixty Treaty of Waitangi settlements; and is therefore well known throughout iwi groups in New Zealand. During his tenure the total dollar quantum of settlements rose from a few hundred million to circa two billion in direct redress. Although his initial goal of settling all historic claims was not achieved while he was Minister (in particular the settlement with Ngā Puhi reads as the one that got away), Mr Finlayson hastened and streamlined the overall settlement process. In our view he is without doubt a Parliamentary peer in regards to how much time and effort he placed in resolving outstanding Treaty of Waitangi grievances whilst a Minister of the Crown.
- Parininihi ki Waitōtara Inc, Te Atiawa Iwi Holdings, and Taranaki Iwi Holding have formed Ngāmotu Hotels Limited Partnership for the purpose of taking ownership of the Novotel New Plymouth. The sale date is set for 1 January 2019, and the price is reportedly $23 million.
- On Tuesday the Parliamentary Committee stage of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill was completed, and the Bill was divided into two Bills: (i) Child Poverty Reduction Bill; (ii) Children’s Amendment Bill. This policy area is of importance to Māori, as current Ministry of Social Development research indicates circa 90,000 tamariki Māori live in poorer households / poverty. The new measures and goals within this proposed legislation will include Māori specific poverty reduction objectives, set in consultation with Māori, based on Treaty principles (Pānui 37/2018 and Pānui 2/2018 refer).
- On Thursday the second reading of the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill was completed in Parliament. This Bill proposes amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, allowing for the use of cannabis-based products for people with a terminal illness, and to legalize and regulate medical cannabidiol (CBD) products. A Government Supplementary Order Paper (i.e. a means to improve some parts of this Bill) has also now been put forward for consideration at the Parliamentary Committee Stage. We advise that the Ministry of Health has commenced issuing licenses to grow specific strains of cannabis plants for medicinal purposes, and that Māori and community-owned Hikurangi Cannabis Ltd has been awarded a licence to do so.
- On Wednesday the Minister of Health, Dr David Clark, announced that he had received the report of the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction – He Ara Oranga: report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. The report will likely be made public before the end of 2018 and the Government’s formal response will be published during March 2019.
- On Wednesday the Māori Television Board announced that its Chief Executive, Keith Ikin, had resigned and will leave the organisation in early 2019. Mr Ikin (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Apakura, Ngāpuhi, Whanganui) has been with the organisation for 18 months. Deputy Chief Executive Shane Taurima will step into the Acting Chief Executive role until a replacement is appointed.
- Last week Māori Television announced that its current affairs shows will end production shortly and will be replaced by a single brand in 2019. The current affairs programmes Kawekōrero, Native Affairs and Rereātea will end in December and the news programme Te Kāea will end in February 2019.
- Last week the Government released the Early childhood education draft strategic plan 2019-29 “He taonga te tamaiti, Every child a taonga”. Despite the title this document places little emphasis on tamaiti Māori or Māori mediums of learning.
- Tonight the 15th Ngā Tohu Reo Māori, the National Māori Language Awards, will be held at Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington. The awards will be hosted by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission.
- On Monday the Student Loan Scheme 2018 annual report was tabled in Parliament. As at 30 June 2018:
- 170,037 people took out a student loan during the 2017/18 year: of these 31,287 (18.4%) were Māori;
- 7,374 (17.5%) of first-time student loan borrowers were Māori;
Overall students used 67% of borrowings to cover course fees. We advise that Wānanga had the lowest average course fees of $3,645 compared with $7,048, $5,009, $7,696 for Universities, Polytechnics and Private Training Establishments respectively.
- The Waitangi Tribunal is continuing its inquiry (WAI 2358) into freshwater matters, with a fourth week of hearings set down for next week, starting on Monday (in Wellington). The inquiry is focused on two overarching questions:
- is the current law in respect of freshwater and freshwater bodies consistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi?
- is the Crown’s freshwater reform package, including completed reforms, proposed reforms, and reform options, consistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi?
Refer Panui 28/2017 for background information.
- On Monday the Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, was named on the 2018 BBC list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world. Ms Mahuta was listed as number 53 and was recognised as serving in the New Zealand Parliament for 22 years and for being the first female Parliamentarian to have a moko kauae (women’s facial tattoo).
- On Tuesday the following recipients for the 2019 HRC Māori Health Research Career Development Awards were announced:
Māori Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Dr Megan Leask, University of Otago (General Fellowship). Reducing the burden of metabolic disease in Māori, $284,600
Māori Health Research PhD Scholarship
- Sonia Hawkins, University of Auckland. Racial and ethnic bias among registered nurses, $129,000.
- Marie Jardine, University of Auckland. Deglutition (Swallowing) in advanced age, $75,000.
- Ngahuia Mita (Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Hako), University of Otago. Tairāwhiti waka, Tairāwhiti tangata – Examining Tairāwhiti voyaging philosophies, $141,000.
- Emerald Muriwai (Ngāti Ira, Ngāi Tamahaua, Whakatohea), University of Auckland. Nga kaiwhakaako, whakapakari tinana me te hauora hinengaro, $107,000.
- Marnie Reinfelds, University of Auckland. Ka Ora – Exploring the healing potential of birth, $129,000.
- Matire Ward (Te Rarawa), Victoria University of Wellington. The impact of micro-environment composition on oocyte developmental competency, $114,00.
Māori Health Research Masters Scholarship
- Nicola Canter-Burgoyne, Massey University. Māori experience of using CPAP treatment for OSA, $26,600.
- Abigail Johnson, University of Otago. Physiological changes to cerebellar Purkinje neurons in Parkinsonian rats, $30,200.
- TeWhaawhai Taki, University of Auckland. Te Tino Rangatiratanga o te Mate Ikura Roro, $25,000.
Māori Health Research Development Grant
- Dr Isaac Warbrick (Ngāti Te Ata, Te Arawa, Ngāpuhi), University of Auckland. Te Maramataka – Improving oranga through environmental mātauranga, $10,000.
Māori Health Research Summer Studentship
- Manurereau Te Maunga-A-Rongo Allen, University of Otago..Tane Māori access to and perceptions of primary care, $5000.
- Zaine Akuhata-Huntington (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Tuhoe), University of Otago. Māori rangatahi suicide – informant perspectives on determinants and solutions, $5000.
- Te Aomarama Anderson, Te Puawai Tapu Trust. Rights-based approaches to Māori health: A Kaupapa Māori review, $5000.
- Ellie Baxter, University of Otago. Qualitative analysis of Māori patients’ primary health care experiences, $5000.
- Kathryn Hippolite, University of Otago. Exploring Māori health provider workers’ perspectives of medication challenges, $5000.
- Rebekah Laurence, Te Puawai Tapu Trust. Māori women and abortion: A kaupapa Māori review, $5000.
- Esther Pinfold (Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto), University of Otago. Pharmacokinetics of Benzathine Penicillin G in children and young people in NZ, $5000.
- Maia Tapsell (Te Arawa) University of Otago. An environmental scan of indigenous oral health providers, $5000.
Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry
The Minister of Health, David Clark, has advised that an extension has been given for the report on the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry back to Cabinet. It will now be delivered by 30 November. This is to recognise the 5,500 submissions were received on this topic. (Note the submissions are considered sensitive and are therefore not available for public purview.)
By way of background, the inquiry is broad in scope, and the terms of reference enable recommendations to be made across all structures within the health and the broader public sector. The inquiry is chaired by Professor Ron Paterson, and there are two Māori on the panel of six (Sir Mason Durie and Dean Rangihuna). This is a policy area of particular importance to Māori, as Māori are significantly over-represented in mental health service areas, and in suicide statistics. The terms of reference acknowledge this health inequality, and require the panel to consider this matter, and to also work in ways appropriate to Māori, and in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi.
Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care
The Minister for Internal Affairs, Tracey Martin, has put out a media statement indicating circa 500 people have expressed interest in giving evidence into the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care. Fifteen staff are also apparently working with the Commissioner Sir Anand Satyanand in preparatory stages of the inquiry.
Yet what is missing from the media statement is any word on the appointment of other Royal Commission members – which is odd given this is such a significant inquiry, and it was announced over six months ago. That is, to date Māori input on this matter remains at zero – despite the draft terms of reference stating that, “a key focus of the Inquiry is to understand any differential impacts of abuse in state care for Māori”. Māori tamariki comprise over half of young people in State care, so the Government needs to appoint people to this Inquiry with a strong understanding of Māori care and abuse specific matters; and the sooner the better in our assessment.
Criminal Justice Sector Reforms – Further Consultation
The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, has announced that his advisory group for justice sector reforms will now hold a series of regional public consultation meetings. By way of background, this initiative is called, Hāpai i te Ora Tangata / Safe and Effective Justice, and commenced with a large national conference/hui in August. A key theme of the work programme is addressing and reducing Māori rates of criminal offending and reoffending; and as previously advised the working group has four Māori members: Quentin Hix, Tracey McIntosh, Carwyn Jones, and Julia Amua Whaipooti. The following two articles highlight new data relevant to this policy initiative.
Justice Sector Reforms Public Consultation Meetings.
|29 October||12:30pm – 3:30 pm||Timaru||Timaru Council Chambers|
|30 October||9:00am – 12:00pm||Christchurch||Aranui Library|
|5 November||1:00pm – 4:30pm||Tauranga||TBA|
|6 November||1:00pm – 4:00pm||Whangārei||Whangārei Central Library|
|13 November||1:00pm – 4:00pm||Tokoroa||Tokoroa Public Library|
|14 November||9:00am – 1:00pm||Te Kuiti||Te Kuiti Community Room|
|15 November||TBA||New Plymouth||TBA|
|17 November||9:00am – 11:00am||Palmerston North||Palmerston North City Library|
Homicide Victims Data Released
Last month the New Zealand Police published a report entitled Police Statistics on Homicide Victims in New Zealand 2007 – 2016: Summary of Statistics about Victims of Murder, Manslaughter, and Infanticide. The report showed between 2007 and 2016, 223 Māori were victims of homicide, which was 33% of all victims (686 in total). Māori males comprised 22% (154) of all victims and 69% of the total number of Māori victims. These statistics are a sad over-representation, given Māori comprise only 15% of the total population.
Injury Data Released
Last week Statistics New Zealand released injury data. There are two stand-out areas for Māori: injuries from assaults at 37 per 100,000 people, and injuries from motor vehicle accidents at 67 per 100,000. Both rates are significantly higher than for non-Māori. The overall injury data shows a similar rate of non-fatal but serious injuries (and a lower rate of Māori having falls).
 Falls are associated more frequently with elderly citizens and there are fewer Māori elderly than others, i.e. a life expectancy disparity of 7 years. This fact sheet does not probe such matters.
- Professor Cindy Kiro (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine) has been appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Auckland.
- Ross Wilson (Ngāi Tahu) has been appointed Chair of the WorkSafe New Zealand Board.
- Karis Knight (Ngāti Porou) has been awarded the New Zealand Psychological Society Karahipi Tumuaki Scholarship. Ms Knight (University of Auckland student) has focused her research on the effect of whakamā (shame or embarrassment) on Māori mental health.
- Last month the Ministry of Justice published a factsheet on Adult Conviction and Sentencing for the year ending 30 June 2018. In 2017/18 circa 75,500 adults were charged with a crime, and 83% of charges resulted in a conviction. The most salient population disparity is via gender, with 78% of convictions relating to males. There is also a significant difference between Māori and non-Māori conviction rates, with 41% of all convicted adults being Māori.
- On Monday Mahuru Youth Remand Service was launched in Kaikohe. The service which will be rolled out across the Taitokerau region is a collaboration between Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services and Oranga Tamariki.
- On Monday the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was launched. The Government’s aspiration is that the agency will help reduce homelessness and improve housing affordability. The agency brings together housing policy, funding and regulatory functions from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Social Development and The Treasury. (Housing is a significant issue for Māori with over a third of Housing NZ tenants identifying as Māori, Māori home ownership being 35% and Māori being over-represented within the grouping of families without suitable housing; refer Pānui E24/2018).
- Last Friday the Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, advised she has received the report into the investigation into the affairs of the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, had considered the findings and recommendations, and written to the Board to implement the recommendations. What she did not do, however, is address the public interest in this matter by releasing the report, nor advising what the findings and recommendations were. We consider that unacceptably poor judgement from this Minister, as this Board is a statutory entity established by the Parliament of New Zealand, in receipt of public funds, and supposedly monitored by Te Puni Kōkiri (i.e. it is not a private entity). Minister Mahuta’s approach goes against the messaging of open and transparent government which we note is being espoused by the Prime Minister. The investigation followed allegations relating to governance and management concerns, and in particular the 2017 triennial elections of the Board. Fortunately, however, the Trust Board itself has acted with greater awareness of stewardship duties than the Minister, and has publicly released the report. Accordingly, we will advise on it further in Pānui edition 36/2018.
[Note: we further advise that voting has opened for members of Whakatōhea iwi to choose to continue the current settlement process led by the Whakatōhea Pre-Settlement Claims Trust, or alternatively restart the mandating process. Voting ends 26 October. Refer Pānui 13/2018 for details.]
- On Monday the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) released a report entitled Maiea Te Tūruapō, Fulfilling the Vision. The report is based on the OCC’s independent monitoring of Oranga Tamariki policies, practices and services: in particular the current practice of placing young people in large secure residences. This report is particularly important to Māori, given 63% of the circa 5,000 children and young people in State care situations are Māori (circa 3,100). We will provide a review of this report Pānui E36/2018.
Registrations are now open for the Federation of Māori Authorities Conference, to be held: Friday 2 – Sunday 4 November, Emerald
- Dr Charlotte Severne (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Tūhoe) has been appointed as the new Māori Trustee.
- Meka Whaitiri was fired on Thursday as a Minister of the Crown by Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. The decision was made after Prime Minister Ardern received a report into an incident that occurred between Ms Whaitiri and one of her staff on August 27. Ms Whaitiri’s portfolios had included Associate Minister for Crown/Māori Relations along with Minister of Customs, Associate Minister of Agriculture, Associate Minister of Forestry and Associate Minister of Local Government. Ms Whaitiri will remain as the Member of Parliament for Ikaroa Rawhiti.
- This week a reporter on mainstream radio, Heather du Plessis-Allan, when commenting on Prime Minister Ardern’s visit to Nauru for the Pacific Island Forum, advised listeners that the nation was a “hell hole” and that the Pacific Islands “are nothing but leeches on us”. When challenged about the inappropriateness of this comment, she sought to clarify that she was referring to the Governments of Pacific Islands, not the people. In our assessment, Ms du Plessis-Allan’s comments about Nauru and its economic exchange with New Zealand is almost certainty factually wrong, given it was New Zealand and Australia that largely consumed the island’s phosphate resources for agricultural production purposes, without sufficient recompense. e. the amount of a half pence per ton in 1921, being raised to one and a half pence in 1927 does have strong parallels with early purchases of Māori land, and extreme lowball prices being paid for resources due to uneven negotiation frameworks being set into motion. Unfortunately for Pasifika peoples, however, there is no equivalent of a Waitangi Tribunal for Nauruan people to raise this matter with the New Zealand Government now, nor for others such as Samoan people to raise issues of historic incidents of New Zealand Police brutality, etc. Given du Plessis-Allan’s comments, then perhaps there should be a parallel Pasifika Commission of Inquiry to address such matters to clarify how New Zealand has used Pasifika Islands for resources, labour, defence, and other purposes. Moreover, however, along with the ill-formed and offensive comments about other Pasifika nations, we consider Ms du Plessis-Allan also makes an incorrect assumption that New Zealand is not a Pasifika nation in and of itself; i.e. her statement indicates no acknowledgement that Aotearoa is the south edge of Pasifika and that Māori are part of Polynesia.
- This week celebrations of the Women’s Suffrage Movement have been held, as it is 125 years since New Zealand women won the right to vote – i.e. 19 September 1893. Accordingly, from then Māori women were able to vote for Māori men who were standing for election in one of the four Māori Parliamentary seats, established earlier in 1876. In 1919 women won the right to stand for Parliament in New Zealand, and the first Māori wahine to attempt to do so was Rehutai Maihi, in 1935. In 1949, following the death of her husband, Potiki Ratana, Iriaka Ratana became the first Māori woman to succeed at winning a seat in Parliament. Later, in 1972, Whetu Tirikatene became the first wahine Māori member of Cabinet. The first wahine Māori Prime Minister is yet to be determined.
- This week the Government’s tax working group has released an interim report. We are reviewing this for implications for Māori, in particular Māori land tax issues, etc.
- Ngāi Tahu Tourism has announced that it is adjusting wages to ensure all staff are paid at least the living wage of $20.55 per hour.
- The Māori Carbon Foundation has selected Donna Awatere Huata as their first Māori Climate Commissioner. The role is designed to facilitate opportunities for Māori to learn about climate change. Ms Awatere Huata has a controversial past, including being convicted and jailed for fraud in 2005. (Equally she has a history as a Māori rights activist, a writer, and as a former Member of Parliament.)
- On Wednesday the Equal Pay Amendment Bill was introduced in Parliament. The purpose of this bill is to improve the process for raising and progressing pay equity claims, and to eliminate gender discrimination in the areas of remuneration and employment terms and conditions for work done within female dominated jobs. We note this bill should have a positive effect for Māori as wāhine Māori are, collectively, one of the lowest paid groupings within the workforce.
 This is the amount the British Phosphate Commissioners paid; the New Zealand Government was a part of this board.
- Leith Comer (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngai Tahu, Ngāti Pahuwera, Te Arawa) and Fiona Cassidy (Ngāti Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa) have been appointed to the Veterans Advisory Board. Mr Comer will chair the board.
- Marama Fox, a former Member of Parliament for the Māori Party, had her consultancy company liquidated this week over an unpaid debt, reportedly of circa $30,000 to an ICT company. Associate Judge Ken Johnston of the Wellington High Court made the liquidation order against Marama Fox Consultancy Group Tapui Limited.
- Applications for the Te Pūtake o te Riri | Wars and Conflicts in New Zealand Fund are now being accepted. Te Pūtake o te Riri is a fund which supports whānau, hapū and iwi to initiate, promote and deliver activities and events that commemorate the New Zealand Land Wars. https://tpk.govt.nz/en/whakamahia/te-putake-o-te-riri-wars-and-conflicts-in-new-zeal
- Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho – A Māori Cultural and Intellectual Property Issues Conference will be held 16 -18 September in Nelson. For programme details see weblink below.
https://www.taongatukuiho.com/On Thursday the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins announced that Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai, (Rotorua) will receive $10 million for new buildings.
- Today the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins announced the cancellation of the integration agreement for Hato Petera College, effective immediately. This decision will come as no surprise to readers.
- On Tuesday the Associate Minister of Education, Kelvin Davis, announced that a series of over twenty hui are being held across the country to discuss ways to improve Māori education. As these wānanga have commenced the Minister’s release is tardy; but the intent to ensure a wide range of input is received is positive. We recommend subscribers with an interest in Māori education matters attend; as it is time now for the Government to review its Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia. (Note presently the strategy for 2018 onwards contains only three dot-points and is predominately a blank white page.)
Ministry of Education Māori Education Wānanga
Date and Time
Lower Hutt 4 September 2018
6:00 – 9:00pm
Lower Hutt Events Centre, Lower Hutt Opotiki 5 September 2018
10:00am – 2:00pm
Opotiki College, Opotiki Masterton 6 September 2018,
Copthorne Hotel, Masterton New Plymouth 11 September 2018
2:00 – 4:00pm
Quality Hotel, New Plymouth Te Kuiti 11 September 2018
Waikato, TBA Whangānui 11 September 2018
6:00 – 9:00pm
Hawera/ Manawatu- Whangānui, TBA Coromandel 12 September 2018
6:00 – 9:00pm
Manaia/Coromandel, TBA Whangānui 12 September 2018
2:00 – 4:00pm
Cooks Gardens, Whangānui Whangānui 12 September 2018
6:00 – 9:00pm
Cooks Gardens, Whangānui Gisborne 13 September 2018
10:30am – 2:00pm
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Gisborne Hamilton 13 September 2018
Waikato, TBA Ruatoria 14 September 2018
10:30am – 2:00pm
Ngata Memorial College, Ruatora Palmerston North 14 September 2018
2:00pm – 4:00pm
Distinction Hotel, Palmerston North Palmerston North 14 September 2018
6:00 – 9:00pm
Distinction Hotel, Palmerston North Whangārei 17 September 2018
12:00 – 4:00pm
ASB Stadium, Whangārei Kaitaia 18 September 2018
10:00am – 2:00pm
Te Ahu Centre, Kaitaia, Northland Keri Keri 19 September 2018
10:00am – 2:00pm
Turners Centre, Keri Keri, Northland Auckland 22 September 2018
Alexandra Park, Auckland South Auckland 24 September 2018
Vodafone Events Centre, South Auckland North Auckland 25 September 2018
North Shore Stadium, North Auckland Hastings 27 September 2018
4:30 – 8:30pm
Heretaunga Taiwhenua, Hastings Southland 9 October 2018
Southland, TBA Chatham Island 10 October 2018
Chatham Island, TBA
Hikurangi Cannabis Ltd has been issued a license by the Ministry of Health to grow specific strains of cannabis plants for medicinal purposes. This is a Ruatoria-based company which has community and corporate shareholdings and investment; meaning if this business is successful then a proportion of profits will ultimately be returned to the Hikurangi Huataukina Trust (which supports communities between Waipiro Bay and Rangitukia.) Note the Government presently has legislation before Parliament which proposes amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, to allow for some uses of medicinal cannabis. Hikurangi Cannabis will need this amendment to pass into law before they can commence sales (Pānui 2/2018 refers).
 Plus other areas on the East Coast.
This quarterly review provides a summary of significant Māori focused social, economic and Treaty policy developments for the period 1 April to 30 June 2018.
Within the quarter we reviewed 12 data set publications, 10 research reports, 8 Government policy / legislative issues. Information summaries are provided within the following appendices.
- Appendix 1 – Social Policy Items;
- Appendix 2 – Economic Policy Items;
- Appendix 3 – Treaty of Waitangi Matters and;
- Appendix 4 – Political Items
This quarter there have been three Māori focused policy items of salient note:
- Budget 2018/19 reduced specific Māori Development funds – the Finance Minister said this is because Te Puni Kōkiri had not used past money, and that Māori are gaining outcomes elsewhere; whereas the Minister for Māori Development denied (wrongly) that was the Budget reality;
- Whānau Ora is to be externally reviewed – although a Te Puni Kōkiri evaluation released this month of the initiative finds no issues arising; and
- the Government has rejected building a mega prison at Waikeria instead a 500 bed rebuild will be undertaken, linked to a 100 bed secure mental health facility, a policy decision which suggests greater awareness of the significant link between criminal offending and poor mental health.
These items are further discussed below. Further information is available within the appendices and Pānui editions as referenced.
Social Policy Matters
Overview of Socio-Economic Matters
Data released this quarter continues to show ongoing socio-economic disparities presenting between Māori and other New Zealanders, with no significant positive or negative change. Two key statistics for the quarter are that:
- 97,400 Māori (aged 18-64 years) and their household whānau are welfare reliant – this is circa 26% of working age Māori adults; and
- 6% of Māori in the labour force were unemployed, (33,100 people). By comparison, the New Zealand overall unemployment rate was about half of that, at 4.4%
Education Sector Summary
This quarter the New Zealand Qualifications Authority released the 2017 NCEA results; which showed around 74% of Year 12 Māori learners achieved NCEA level 2. This was about the same as the previous year, and ten percentile points below non-Māori. Research and ideas for addressing schooling disparities continued to be tabled, with a discussion on racial bias making it into the official policy papers as one rationale for reforming the school sector.
More positively, new research on literacy shows significant gains across the Māori population over the last decade – with 81% of Māori now having fair or better English language literacy (which is needed for workforce gains). Te Reo literacy is also strong, with Māori school learners found to be enjoying this subject and also out-performing others across the board. This success perhaps links back to the racial bias / differing cultural capital discussion – i.e. if most teachers were Māori and taught subjects such as maths and science from a Māori perspective (as Te Reo is) would the results across the nation be different? Other education items of note:
- The Treasury contributed to the disparity discussion with research that confirmed the obvious conclusion that students who change schools a lot are at educational risk – and they noted Māori more than others are in this grouping;
- the Ministry of Education’s tertiary research analyst released a report that confirms that greater proportions of Māori study at the lower levels in the tertiary education sector (linked to lower school qualifications). The result of the tertiary education outcome is that a qualification disadvantage presents within the workforce thereby suppressing Māori wages and employment opportunities;
- research about the Youth Guarantee initiative was released, which shows the programme is successful in keeping students engaged in education (good), but that links to tertiary level 4 study and industry training / apprenticeships and the like, are not clearly proven (not good). e. whilst these students (many are Māori) undertake trade preparation type courses, the initiative is not actually giving them a direct pathway into employment within the trade sectors.
Health Sector Summary
In the health sector, as always, an assortment of research data was published. This quarter disparities were shown in areas such as tamariki deaths, abortion rates, children with “major social, emotional and/or behavioural problems”, elderly nutrition, colorectal cancer, and non-seat belt wearing car accident deaths. Probably all well intended studies and data sets, but collectively all reflecting the differences in how Māori and non-Māori live so differently within the same geopolitical terra firma.
The key item within the health sector, however, was the announcement of a major review of how services work. We note, in regard to the review, Health Minister David Clark states, “we need to face up to the fact that our health system does not deliver equally well for all. We know our Māori and Pacific peoples have worse health outcomes and shorter lives. That is something we simply cannot accept.” Given the above data, which is relentless every quarter in showing some form of health disparity, in our view the Minister could not be more veridical.
Housing Sector Summary
In the housing sector Minister Phil Twyford (re)announced $63.4 million funding for ‘Housing First Fund’, which is focusing on increasing houses available for vulnerable families. The need for this was also (re)confirmed with the Ministry of Social Development also releasing its public housing quarterly report, to 31 March 2018. The report finds that 36% (23,600-odd) public housing tenants are Māori. That is disproportionately high, given Māori are 15% of the total population. In addition, there is a register of who needs a house and qualify for assistance, but do not have one – of these people we advise 44% are Māori (circa 3,500 tangata.)
Overall this type of data points towards housing being an issue of prominence for Māori – i.e. over 10% of all Māori may be living in or needing state/public housing – compared with about 1% of non-Māori. The next policy action required from this Ministry is to better link this data with sole-parent and gender information, as indicative links with household income data point towards sole-mothers, mainly Māori, being the grouping disproportionately in need.
Justice Sector Summary
There were two key items within the justice sector this quarter of relevance to Māori. First, as above, the Government announced it would not build a mega prison at Waikeria, but it would rebuild a smaller prison, and a 100-bed secure mental health facility. While this is well short of the radical tikanga Māori prison proposal Minister Kelvin Davis broached back when he was in opposition, it is a step towards better recognising the strong link between criminal offending and poor mental health. The Government’s Waikeria decision ties in well with the second item of note: robust research from the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Scientific Advisor showing that early intervention works best in preventing offending. This is partially because young offenders often have mental health issues: for example, alcohol or drug dependencies, which can be addressed early thereby mitigating offending and other social ills. Note also this quarter the Ministry of Health released a research report indicating perhaps 12% of Māori children, around 23,000, may have what they classified as ‘significant social, emotional and/or behavioural problems’.
In our assessment while there has been a known link between criminal offending and health previously, there does appear to be a conceptual shift away from the notion that some people are ‘criminals’ (full stop), towards an understanding that many people who commit offences do so because of a period of poor mental health, which means they do not appropriately regulate their own behaviours. This discussion is particularly important for Māori, as about half of the people incarcerated in New Zealand prisons are Māori, and Māori also have much higher rates of reported mental health issues. Accordingly, the scientific recommendation to focus on mitigation of poor health and behaviour issues early in life does present as a sensible basis for new policies, including the proposal that Māori approaches be used to support Māori tamariki. This in our view is ‘not rocket science’, but it is now published scientific research none the less.
Social Sector Summary
In the social wellbeing sector, as noted above, 97,000 Māori households are welfare reliant. Statistics New Zealand also released data which showed poor households such as these face greater inflation pressures. A link to the increased price of tobacco was made, implying tobacco consumption is detrimental to household finances, not just population health. In addition, funding to reduce family violence was also (re)announced; and The Treasury released a report indicating they are still beavering away somewhere on what wellbeing might actually be; (possibly it will mean having more money to pay the bills, having a home, being free of violence and the like, but they have not landed it just yet). A separate Māori wellbeing framework is also being considered by The Treasury. (We note Whānau Ora contains a solid Māori wellbeing framework, but The Treasury does not acknowledge its existence.)
The annual evaluation of Whānau Ora was released by Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK). We found it to be a weak evaluation report which identified no issues arising and continued to under-explain this initiative. Ironically, that report was released (without a Ministerial forward) just weeks after the Government announced it would review Whānau Ora, and with terms of reference that clearly signals that transparency and accountability are items for improvement. We interpret that as a vote of no-confidence in TPK in this work area. However, perhaps more directly relevant to many Māori whānau (circa one-third) is that this quarter the Government confirmed that it would review the entire welfare system. Quite what this entails is not yet clear.
The major economic item for the quarter is the Government’s Budget, released in May. Overall the Government is forecasting an operating surplus of $3.1 billion, even after taking into account its new spending. But as advised above, for Vote: Māori Development funding is to drop, this year, and every year forecast afterwards. As previously noted Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the drop in Vote: Māori Development reflects programmes that Te Puni Kōkiri did not deliver on being removed from the Budget – so again an implicit vote of no confidence for TPK, which is presenting as somewhat under siege. In his view, however, Māori whānau are estimated to receive $1.5 billion more in services through the Government’s wider programmes, such as the Families Package: however we can see no means for the Government to evidence that estimate.
In our assessment, funds removed from Te Puni Kōkiri will reduce its policy function from this year – effectively retarding its ability to give advice on the impact of mainstream programmes on Māori. This is despite the fact that there are service gaps – i.e. disparities being experienced by Māori in all social areas, including health, education and housing – some of which are shown in the discussion above.
We note there has been no consultation with Māori, and no explanation as to why Māori Development funds went unspent last year. The denials of funding cuts by Ministers Mahuta and Jackson do not help the situation. In short, the Labour Party holds all seven Māori electoral seats in Parliament and has the largest number of Māori members of Cabinet than at any time previously. At both Ratana and Waitangi Day earlier this year the Government indicated it would increase Māori services, so it follows some Māori voters may feel betrayed by this Budget, and particularly by the Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, who so far has tabled no clear initiatives nor policy plan for Māori Development. The pressure will be on her to deliver something in next year’s Budget; and she will also need to either express a higher level of confidence in Te Puni Kōkiri or to propose something better.
Pānui also reviewed other Vote areas in regard to Māori specific funding. Information is provided in the appendices: there were no radical changes of note.
Other Economic Matters
Six other economic matters of note are listed below.
- The consultancy firm TDB Advisory released a report summarising the financial performance of eight iwi, from 2011 to 2017. The iwi groups are Ngāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whātua o Ōrakei, Rangitāne o Wairau, Raukawa, Ngāi Tūhoe and Waikato-Tainui. All have made money, a few have made lots of money (e.g. Waikato-Tainui had a strong financial year), with very good returns on their investments.
- The Productivity Commission released a draft report on climate change, proposing new legislation and a new Commission to assist future Governments achieve a low emission economy. For Māori they suggest a Treaty of Waitangi clause would be useful for incoming legislation, combined with some type of Māori advisory committee.
- The Ministry for the Environment also published work on climate change, with a report from its technical working group being released. This group has a range of recommendations to reduce emissions, and for Māori specifically they suggest the Government “commission mātauranga Māori-led measures that reflect cultural impacts of climate change and are developed and managed by iwi/hapū”.
- The Land and Water Forum released a new report focusing on how to prevent degradation of water quality, particularly sediment and nitrogen pollutants. In relation to Māori, the Forum repeats its views that Māori interests in water (i.e. any proprietary and usage rights) are in their ‘too-hard’ basket, and thus the Crown needs to address such matters directly. They point out the current situation is creating uncertainty which undermines long term investment decisions needed to improve water quality. Hence their recommendation that “Central government must, as a priority, work with iwi to reach agreement on how to resolve rights and interests in fresh water.”.
- The Government announced that the offshore block offers for oil and gas exploration permits will end (i.e. no new offers to be made). The block offer was an annual tender process established by the former National led Government that allowed for oil and gas companies to bid for permits. Many iwi groups had petitioned about oil exploration in their respective off-shore areas.
- The Government has announced it is reviewing consumer credit regulations, of interest as Māori are identified as one grouping at risk – which is no surprise given the high percentage of welfare reliance noted above.
Waitangi Tribunal Matters
This quarter the Waitangi Tribunal released its report on its Whakatōhea Mandate Inquiry. The Tribunal found the Crown breached the Treaty of Waitangi by prioritising its objective of seeking to conclude a Treaty settlement over processes that were fair to the hapū groupings within Whakatōhea. Thus the decision to recognise the pre-settlement Trust mandate was found not to be fair, reasonable or made in good faith. This is consistent with the Tribunal’s view in other areas: that mandate issues, including hapū consent must be satisfactorily resolved before the Crown pushes ahead with negotiations.
This quarter Parliament made progress with five Treaty settlements; with two of these reaching conclusion and thus becoming law. The groupings were:
- Ngāti Rangi (legislation introduced to Parliament);
- Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Tamaoho (both had respective second readings);
- Heretaunga Tamatea and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki both had their respective third readings – thereby concluding these two settlements of circa $100 million and $13 million respectively.
Government and Parliamentary Matters
In addition to the above sector issues, we note three further Parliamentary matters of note this quarter.
- Adding to the Treaty settlement concerns of Whakatōhea, the Minister for Māori Development has advised she has asked for an independent review of the governance and management of the Whakatōhea Trust Board;
- A Bill to entrench Māori electoral seats was introduced to Parliament.
- Referenda were held by five local bodies in regard to the establishment of Māori wards – in all cases the notion of Māori wards was rejected by voters. This situation of predominantly non-Māori voters determining how Māori voters may be represented within local Government presents to us as manifestly unjust. The matter is discussed within Pānui 15/2018.
 This data is from Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development data sets.
 It will drop by $2 million in the year ahead (even after setting aside all extraordinary increases this year), and by $17 million over the next four years.
 Their answers to Parliamentary Questions have been provided in Pānui so that subscribers can determine for themselves the integrity of the responses given to challenging questions.
 The Ngāti Porou Bill relates to marine and foreshore matters.
- On Wednesday the sale of plain packaging tobacco products came into force. Plain packaging is a measure introduced under the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Standardised Packaging) Amendment Act. The potential benefit of plain packaging should be disproportionally positive for Māori. This is because the smoking rate amongst Māori is double that of the overall population, and tobacco consumption is believed to account for a significant portion of the life expectancy differential between Māori and non-Māori.More than 600 Māori are said to die ‘prematurely’ each year from smoking related illnesses. Former Associate Minister for Health, Tariana Turia, should rightly be acknowledged as a driving force behind this legislative change now coming into effect.
-  Ministry of Health research
- A petition by Renae Maihi asking the Prime Minister to strip Sir Robert Jones of his Knighthood on the basis of alleged inflammatory comments made about Māori has now reached 66,000 people in support. Ms Maihi and her supporters plan to present the petition to Labour MP Kiritapu Allan at Parliament on Tuesday 27th March 2018. (Note if a petition is formally received at Parliament by a Member of Parliament, then it can be announced to the House, and sent to a Select Committee for formal reporting on. Having Ms Allan indicate she will do this means it is likely the matter will go further.) There is a challenge of course, in removing Knighthoods, as that is not something any New Zealand Government has done before – and at present the Government (like the last one) is taking a long time to respond to a request to rescind the Knighthood bestowed upon Sir Ngatata Love for Services to Māori; (given the High Court has found he committed fraudulent activities against his iwi.) In this context, Ms Maihi’s petition essentially places perceived offences against Māori on a continuum, and could actually make the current considerations regarding Sir Ngatata more challenging. The petition can be seen here:
- Last weekend the inaugural national commemoration of the New Zealand Wars, He Rā Maumahara, was held in the Bay of Islands.
- Last week an Environment Court hearing between Maungaharuru-Tangitu Trust and the Hastings District Council was held. The hearing was regarding the Hastings District Council’s decision to grant resource consent on costal land considered to be wahi taonga, and is required as direct discussions and mediation on the matter have both failed.
- The Iwi Chairs’ Forum are holding a climate change summit in Wellington on March 24 and 25.
Parliamentary Items of Note
- On Wednesday the Minister for Education, Chris Hipkins, announced an overhaul of the education system, commencing with a three-year work plan for change. One of the ten main components is a continuous focus on raising Māori learner achievements. The associated Cabinet paper indicates:
- “there has been significant growth in early learning participation, particularly for Māori, Pasifika and children from lower socio-economic communities. However, participation rates don’t automatically equate to regular attendance, progress or achievement, nor do they take into account the quality of learning opportunities available to children;
- In English medium schooling, Māori and Pasifika children have poorer educational outcomes than their peers. Research has confirmed that teacher unconscious bias and low expectations are significant issues in New Zealand for Māori and Pasifika children and young people, and that this has an ongoing negative impact.
- In Māori medium schooling, Māori children and young people are experiencing educational success as Māori. However this pathway requires strengthening to address significant teacher workforce limitations, retention and capacity issues.”
(We intend to provide a focused review of Māori education in the coming months, and will further draw upon this policy work for that.)
- Last week the Child Poverty Reduction Bill was read for a first time in Parliament, refer to the article above for details.
- This week the Families Commission Act Repeal Bill was read for a first time and referred onto the Social Services and Community Select Committee. This bill, if enacted, will disestablish the Commission (operating as Superu), with its functions mainly shifting to the Ministry of Social Development. Subscribers may recall that over the last few years this Commission has delved into whānau wellbeing research, and last year ultimately concluded its work with the enlightening (sic) statement that:
“supporting and strengthening whānau wellbeing requires a multifaceted approach that includes social and human resource potential factors, as well as economic factors.”
(We described this work as well-meaning but odd-ball stuff; hence we are not completely surprised to see the beginnings of the end for this agency, refer Pānui 12/2017 for the research details).
Parliament resumed for the calendar year this week. Some items of note were:
- On Wednesday the Child Poverty Reduction Bill was introduced to Parliament (see article above.)
- On Tuesday the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill was read a first time and referred to the Health Committee. This is a Labour Party bill that proposes amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, allowing terminally ill people to use cannabis-based products, and to legalize and regulate medical cannabidiol (CBD) products. A supplementary Green Party Bill introduced on Wednesday that sought to allow people suffering from a debilitating condition to use cannabis if supported by a registered medical practitioner failed at its first reading, and will not be considered further. (I.e. the Labour Party bill is centered on developing and regulating cannabis-based medicine, the Green Party bill had been centered on allowing usage of cannabis (quality and quantity unknown) by anyone with a medical certificate. We have included the issue here given the Māori population has a high cannabis usage rate. (The New Zealand Health Survey indicates up to 25% of Māori adults used cannabis at least once within a twelve month period.)
- On Tuesday the Employment Relations Amendment Bill was introduced. According to the Government the purpose of the bill is to “restore key minimum standards and protections for employees, and to implement a suite of changes to promote and strengthen collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace.” Pānui edition 1/2018 advised many of the changes proposed will support low income workers, and Māori are over-represented in that area. e. one-in-five Māori (circa 50,000) are in ‘low skilled occupations’, such as labourers.
- On Tuesday the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill was read a first time and referred to the Justice Committee. This bill aims to prevent a person from remaining in Parliament if they leave the Party in which they stood for. We note National’s Māori Development spokesperson Nuk Korako, has advised he considers this ‘waka jumping bill’ to be bad for Māori representation, and Māori MPs have a duty not just to their party, but also to act in the best interests of Māori, and this bill could prevent that.
The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has published research it has commissioned on low pay. The research was undertaken by Auckland University of Technology, and is entitled, ‘Low Pay in New Zealand’. The findings are derived from tax data MBIE accessed from Inland Revenue for 2015, so a much better source than other surveys. The researchers use two definitions of low pay:
the ‘OECD method’ of anyone who earns less than two-thirds of the median wage (in 2015 the median wage was circa $23.50 per hour so anyone who earns circa $15.65 per hour or less);
anyone who earns less than 120% of the minimum wage. In 2015 the minimum wage was $14.75 per hour, so anyone who was earning less than $17.70 per hour at that time is included in this research definition. (The minimum wage is now $16.75 per hour so it currently refers to people earning less than $20.10 per hour.)
Māori, Pacific and Asian workers are identified as groups with high proportions of low income earners (i.e. ‘being non-European’). Other linkages were shown with ‘being female’, working part-time, aged 20-29 years or over 65, and low education attainment. As shown in the table below, the report indicates (in 2015) 31% of Māori earned less than 120% of the minimum wage. We calculate that to be circa 84,000 tangata Māori. Below is a table we constructed from data in the report, matched with Statistics New Zealand employment data.
|Low Pay 2015 – Proportion of Employed|
|All employed||Māori*||European NZ*|
|OCED low pay measure||11.1% (206,300)||14% (37,900)||9% (158,100)|
|120% Min Wage low pay measure||24.9% (463,000)||31% (83,800)
|*Percentages herein are from a graph within the research report. Numeric estimates are from Household Labour Force Survey September 2015 data. The Labour Force Survey counts people who were unemployed. I.e. 270,400 Māori and 1,757,200 European NZers. The sources mean there will be small sample size differences.|
Overall we advise this is a technical report, and the findings above perhaps says it all – one in three Māori are likely to be on low wages, compared with one in four non-Māori. We have no issues with the methodology, and the report is a useful contribution to employment and minimum wage policy debates currently occurring between political parties.
Yesterday the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, formally announced that there would be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into historic abuse in State care. This commitment had been part of her (Labour) party’s election manifesto commitments, so the announcement puts that into place.
The Royal Commission will be led by Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand – a former Governor-General. Draft terms of reference have been agreed by Cabinet, but these will only be finalised after consultation. The draft is not yet released, but the Department of Internal Affairs indicates the inquiry will consider “the nature and extent of abuse that occurred in state care, what its immediate and long term impacts were, the factors (including systemic factors) which may have caused or contributed to it, and lessons to be learned from the past.” The inquiry will also consider current settings to prevent and respond to any such abuse. Further, “a key focus of the Inquiry is to understand any differential impacts of abuse in state care for Māori and other groups where differential impact is evident…” This will include considering factors leading to someone being placed in State care.
In our assessment, given the United Nations had already asked New Zealand to investigate these matters, and given the Ministry of Social Development has already settled over 1,600 proven individual claims in this area – and has at least another 1,000 in process, there is no doubt that such an inquiry is warranted. The last (National) Government’s refusal to resolve this matter simply presented as a home goal in the lead up to the election. We note from the extract above, as with other inquiries being launched, the Government is conscious that the experience for Māori in this area may be different from that for others. This is useful, given Māori comprise over half of young people in State care; (i.e. circa 3,100 tamariki/rangatahi Māori are in State care, and a further 360 tamariki/rangatahi Māori are in State youth residences.)
Other members of the Commission have yet to be named, but we would expect at least one or two people with a strong understanding of Māori and State care issues to be appointed, and we will advise further as the matter progresses. Many subscribing organisations may wish to consider making submissions to this Inquiry.
This week the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction / Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, introduced the Child Poverty Reduction Bill to Parliament. This policy area is of major significance to Māori, as our research to date indicates up to 33% of Māori children – circa 130,000 tamariki Māori live in poorer households / poverty. (See technical note below.)
The Bill is centred on ensuring that the present and future Governments maintain appropriate measures of levels of child poverty, and set targets to reduce such poverty. (I.e. it is about regulatory direction to Government, not establishing programmes or services.) If the Bill is passed into law it will establish four primary and six supplementary measures of poverty and material hardship (noting that the previous Government had rejected expert advice calling on the use of such measures.) Future Governments will then be required to set both ten year and three year targets against these measures, and publish their results. Further, Governments will also be required to report on their strategies to promote overall wellbeing of children.
- Following the introduction of the Bill, the following day in her 100 days speech Prime Minister Ardern indicated that some of her Government’s ten year targets would be:
- Reduce the rate of children living in poverty (before housing costs are considered) from 15% to 5%;
- Halve the percentage of children living in poverty (after housing costs are considered) from 20% to 10%;
- Halve the percentage of children living in material hardship from up to 15% now to 7%.
Our initial assessment is that a focus on reducing child poverty – using any measure – will be good for Māori whānau, given circa one-third live in poverty/hardship. However, we advise that this disproportionally high percentage of Māori children in these circumstances is directly correlated with the high proportion (and number) of Māori sole parents who are welfare reliant. This means tax-credits and greater support for working families etc. will be insufficient to dramatically change Māori child poverty levels (as it is disassociation with the workforce that is a central issue). Accordingly, how the Government’s Families Package may impact on these children – in welfare reliant households – will be key for many Māori whānau. The Treasury is currently reforecasting these projections, and we will advise further once that work is completed.
Tamariki Māori – Our Poverty Estimate
Technical Note: in the debates around child poverty measures, different groups use different measures – which is partially why the Government is resolving this with the introduction of multiple measures in its Bill. For example, prior to the last election the National Party used a count of children living in households that receive less than 50% of the median amount of household disposable income, before housing costs (rent/bank loans, etc.) were considered. However, the Labour Party used a count with two variables changed – firstly those children in households with less than 60% of the median amount of household disposable income, and second, after housing costs (rents, etc.) are accounted for.
In previous Pānui we have considered and advised on the various child poverty measures, and have used the mid-range figure presented in Government research, namely;
those children in households with less than 50% of the medium household income, after housing costs have been deducted.
This presents as suitable in the New Zealand context given housing pressures, and is effectively the middle ground between the views of the two political parties. It is also the method that appears most prominent in Ministry of Social Development research on this topic. Using this method we advise that there are 230,000 children living in poorer households, and we estimate 130,000 are tamariki Māori, based on household ethnic group data. Pānui 33/2016 provides details.
We advise The Treasury is now recalculating how many children will be ‘lifted out of poverty’/impacted on using all measures, once the Government’s Family Package is in place. This is because they got this calculation wrong last year in the lead up to the election, by failing to properly account for the Accommodation Supplement that some families receive. Once their recalculations are done we expect to be able to provide advice on possible numbers of Māori tamariki impacted on by the incoming policy change.
On Wednesday the Leader of the Opposition, Bill English gave his ‘State of the Nation’ speech, which was followed later by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s ‘100 Day Progress’ speech; i.e. the two key opening political speeches for the year.
Overall Mr English’s speech reads as a lamentation – highlighting what he considered where all the good things his party had achieved, and bemoaning that the Labour-led Government might now risk it all, particularly in the areas of employment relations and economic growth. In that respect it was a classic right wing speech about the risks of a left wing Government. Nothing new there.
From a Māori policy perspective two points are salient. First, when Mr English talked of their past successes, he left off progressing Treaty settlements. This is an area where his Government experienced outstanding success, leaving its opposition in shreds, in regards to how many Treaty claims they progressed and settled. Chris Finlayson’s work in this area will be, in our view, the stuff of legend in the future – given he oversaw perhaps 50 plus settlements, and facilitated the package of settlements to extend above $2 billion, and gained cross-party support for this work. However, we note Bill English consistently leaves this out of his speeches: it is as if the National Party is not particularly proud of this achievement, or does not think it appeals to its core supporters.
Our second observation is that Mr English only made one mention of Māori, and it was in a negative context, saying that without the proposed Te Ture Whenua Māori reforms, the New Zealand First policy of planting forests on Māori land is unlikely to succeed. His linkage is not well made, and we note that for generations forests (including Government forests) have been planted on Māori land – i.e. the former reforms are not required for the tree planting scheme to proceed. Overall if this is a ‘State of the Nation’ speech, then Māori are entirely invisible to this political party at this time.
The Prime Minister’s speech followed later in the day, and focused on explaining what they had sought to put in place within their first 100 days, and why, and also what they intend to pursue next. The key focus areas were employment policies, poverty reduction (discussed below), and setting new socio-economic targets to measure the wellbeing of New Zealand, beyond just GDP. In regards to Māori, Prime Minister Ardern, noted the need for politicians to speak openly on challenging social issues of inequalities, such as the high Māori imprisonment rate. She also stated that,
“we are a nation that has duties and responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi that extends to, and beyond, the negotiating table. We must be a Government that builds not just relationships, but partnerships with iwi.”
We advise the Prime Minister made similar (but more articulate) comments last week on the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi, but that was to a largely Māori audience who would appreciate that – this week’s speech was aimed at a broader audience. In our assessment this signalling of approach is positive for Māori/iwi, and combined with having a strong Māori caucus it will be interesting to see what this transpires into.