Enter your keyword

Employment

E31 Salient Māori News week ending 6 September 2019

  • On Wednesday the Minister of Housing, Megan Wood, announced changes to the Government’s Kiwibuild programme, which is a policy initiative designed to increase housing affordability for low and middle income first home buyers. One of the main changes is a ‘Progressive Home Ownership Scheme’, via either rent-to-own or shared equity ownership models.  (Both approaches are thought to reduce the deposit burden required by whānau to enter the housing market.) [1]

The shared equity concept may allow for third-parties – potentially iwi entities – to co-own a home with a whānau, until the whānau can afford to purchase outright.  This concept has potential to increase Māori home ownership, and better position iwi/Māori entities in housing provision.  However, no substantive details on how it might work have been provided as yet.  (We also note no new funds are attached, just the redevelopment of existing housing funding.)   Overall, given housing was a major policy platform for this Government, it is difficult to see much gain as yet and the lack of practical details does not instil policy confidence.

[Important background context: Housing is one of two policy levers that has high tractability (social change potential), because of the flow-on effects to other socio-economic outcomes – i.e. better education and health outcomes are directly linked to housing quality and stability.  (School participation, for example, is easy and more consistent if children are not moving between multiple rental properties.)  Moreover, better economic outcomes are also linked to home ownership: in short, home ownership allows for the investment of income into an asset (the house), rather than the expenditure of income on rent.  This can lead to inter-generational wealth changes. For these reasons housing outcomes matter to Māori, but Statistics NZ research shows that the (age adjusted) Māori individual home ownership rate is 35% (and falling).  Ultimately most Māori adults and children now live in rental properties – opposite to the non-Māori population.  This is one of the key socio-economic differences between Māori and non-Māori.   (Pānui 19/2016 refers.)]

  • On Monday the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a 1-page infographic on labour market publication entitled ‘Labour Market Statistics Snapshot to June 2019’. This brings together already published Statistics NZ information and other data.  The Māori labour markets statistics presented are:
  • Ranginui 12 Trust has been granted a $2.8 million investment from Te Puni Kōkiri for the development of a nine home papakāinga in Tauranga. The total cost of the development is circa $4.8 million.
  • This week the Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, announced details for the ‘opt-in-donations’ scheme. Up to 1,700 decile 1-7 schools will be given the opportunity to receive additional funding of $150 per student, if they join the scheme, and forfeit the right to seek ‘activity fees’/donations from parents/whānau. The purpose of the funding is to reduce the financial burden of schooling on low income whānau and families.  We expect this will be positive outcome for many Māori whānau.
  • Today the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced that the Central North Island township of Bennydale will now be officially known by the dual name Maniaiti / Benneydale and the main railway line between Te Awamutu and Taumarunui, is now named ‘Te Ara-o-Tūrongo’ The name changes were initiated by Ngāti Maniapoto.
  • On Monday the Associate Minister of Education, Kelvin Davis, announced the launch of Te Mataaho-ā-Iwi: Iwi Education Profiles Dashboard. Te Mataaho-ā-Iwi is an online tool which provides data for Māori Learners including the learners’ iwi affiliation.  We are presently reviewing the usefulness of this tool and will advise further if appropriate.
  • On Wednesday the Associate Minister of Education, Kelvin Davis, launched Kauwhata Reo, an online hub for Te Reo Māori resources.  https://kauwhatareo.govt.nz/
  • This week a prominent Māori Northland doctor, Dr Lance O’Sullivan, called for the Government to make the immunisation of children compulsory and to impose sanctions on caregivers (such as reducing benefit payments) for those who chose not to have their children in the vaccination programme. The Associate Minister of Health, Julie Anne Genter, debunked that as a policy platform, noting that children should not be punished for the actions of their parents.  We are not aware of any evidence to support Dr O’Sullivan’s proposal that sanctions on those receiving state support may increase immunisation rates.

[We note the Ministry of Health’s Director of Public Health, Dr Caroline McElnay, advises immunisation is the best way to protect against getting measles.  Measles (MMR) vaccination is free to everyone under the age of 50 and is said to be 99 percent effective after two doses.]

[1] Other changes related to minium deposite thresholds.  The annoucement can be viewed here:  https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/kiwibuild-reset-reduces-deposit-needed-buy-first-home

[2] We provide a fuller analysis of unemployment and related data as Statistics NZ releases it.  Refer Pānui x/2019.

E28 Salient Māori News for the week ending 16 August 2019

  • 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.
    https://www.doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/conservation/native-animals/birds/sea-and-shore/draft-te-kaweka-takohaka-mo-te-hoiho-2019.pdf
  • 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.)
    https://www.tpk.govt.nz/en/a-matou-mohiotanga
  • 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.

E13 26 April 2019 Salient News Items

 

  • Briar Grace-Smith (Ngāpuhi) has been appointed to the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa (Creative NZ).
  • Shaun Awatere (Ngāti Porou) has been appointed to the National Climate Change Risk Assessment panel. The panel is tasked with creating the framework for New Zealand’s first National Climate Change Risk Assessment. The framework is to be completed by the end of June.
  • Acushla Dee Sciascia (Ngāruahine Rangi, Ngāti Ruanui and Te Āti Awa) has been appointed to the National Climate Change Risk Assessment panel.
  • Niwa Nuri (Te Arawa and Te Whakatohea), Matt Te Pou (Ngāi Tuhoe), and Bonita Bigham (Ngā Ruahine and Te Atiawa) have been appointed to the Lottery Oranga Marae Committee. 
  • The Ministry of Health released maternity data for 2017. The report shows 14,892 (25%) were Māori; and that Māori women continue to have the nation’s highest birth rate of 90.6 per 1,000 Māori females of reproductive age[1]https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/report-maternity-2017
  • The Government has announced increased independent monitoring of Oranga Tamariki, via the use of the Ombudsman, and the upcoming introduction of National Care Standards. These actions are to better protect children in State care, most of whom are Māori. https://www.orangatamariki.govt.nz/news/care-standards-support-tamariki-and-caregivers/#_blank
  • Te Puni Kōkiri has awarded the Taumarunui Community Kōkiri Trust $2.1 million from the Whānau and Community Development Investment programme. The funding will go towards the cost of repairing up to 20 homes, the development and implementation of home maintenance programmes and supporting whānau into home ownership across the Taumarunui and Te Kuiti rohe.
  • This week Des Ratima lodged an urgent application with the Waitangi Tribunal, (Wai 2882), concerning the proposed reform of the vocational education sector. (In brief these reforms propose merging all polytechnics and industry training organisations in one new entity, to commence from next year.) Mr Ratima is a current board member of Skills Active Aotearoa, which is one of the industry training organisations that would be disestablished if the reforms go ahead.  Mr Ratima claims that the Crown has breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in how it has consulted about the reforms, and that the reforms may result in poorer outcomes for Māori trainees.
  • Last week Pae Aronui, a skills and employment programme for rangatahi Māori, was launched in Hamilton. Pae Aronui aims to support and develop employment skills for rangatahi not in employment, education or training (NEET).
  • This week the Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis announced in 2020 Te Tai Tokerau will pilot Te Kawa Matakura an education programme which aims to develop young Māori leaders through mātauranga and te reo Māori. The pilot will target two groups 15-18 year olds attending formal education; and 15-25 year olds no longer attend formal education but display the necessary qualities and potential. All participates will be required to be endorsed by iwi and whānau.

[1] Median age for Māori women who give birth was 26 years compared to 30 years for all women.

 

Salient Māori News Items for the Week to 22 February 2019

 

  • Last Friday the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced her decision that Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay was now the official name for what was formally called – in legal contexts – Poverty Bay.
  • Last week the Minister of Employment, Willie Jackson, with the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage, announced the launch of ‘Ka Hao te Rangatahi’. This is a new training programme based in Ruatoria, focused on developing conservation skills and erosion management for youth who are not in employment, education or training.
  • A Waitangi Tribunal hearing commenced this week concerning Wai 2573, which is ‘the Mana Ahuriri Deed of Settlement (Ngāti Pārau) claim’. Ngāti Pārau claimants are challenging the mandate of the Mana Ahuriri post settlement governance entity, on the basis that due processes were not followed in the enacting of this settlement.
  • Last Friday Ngāti Paoa negotiators signed the Hauraki Collective deed of settlement – despite opposition from within the Ngāti Paoa Iwi Trust. This means six of the twelve Hauraki iwi have now agreed to the collective deed of settlement. (The Pare Hauraki Collective redress includes a settlement worth circa $250 million in total, the return of two Maunga Moehau and Te Aroha, along with 25,000 hectares of commercial forests. The collective consists of twelve Hauraki iwi: Hako; Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki; Ngāti Hei; Ngāti Maru; Ngāti Paoa; Ngāti Porou ki Hauraki; Ngāti Pūkenga; Ngāti Rāhiri Tumutumu; Ngāti Tamaterā; Ngāti Tara Tokanui; Ngaati Whanaunga; and Te Patukirikiri.    There has been significant opposition to various aspects of this broader settlement process, including from Ngāi Te Rangi iwi members who are opposed to Hauraki iwi being represented on a Tauranga Moana governance group, and from Ngāti Whātua who opposed Ngāti Paoa being offered property in central Auckland.)

E23 6 July 2018 – Quarterly Review for the Period 1 April to 30 June 2018

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.

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%[1]

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.

Economic Matters

The Budget

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.[2]  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.[3]  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.

Treaty Matters

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.

Treaty Settlements
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)[4];
  • 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.

[1] This data is from Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development data sets.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] The Ngāti Porou Bill relates to marine and foreshore matters.

Parliamentary matters 02 February 2018 (Edition 2/2018)

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.

Low Pay Research Released 02 February 2018 (Edition 2/2018)

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)

 

22% (386,600)
*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.
http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/employment-skills/labour-market-reports/low-pay-in-new-zealand/?searchterm=low%20pay%2A

Employment Sector – Policy Changes Underway 26 January 2018 (Edition 1/2018)

For the Labour Party, employment and labour laws have traditionally been a central policy theme. This Government is clearly returning to that core political platform, with a number of labour market policy changes announced and underway.  Many such changes are focused on ‘vulnerable’ employees, such as those on lower wages or challenging employment conditions.  Māori are over-represented in this group, and for example 19% of Māori (52,300 people) worked in ‘low-skilled occupations’ (mainly as labourers) in 2016 and 39% (111,000 people) worked in ‘semi-skilled occupations’, compared to 10% and 35% for all New Zealanders .  This means the cumulative effect of these policy changes has the potential to make a lift in overall Māori household incomes and well-being.  Because of this we intend to provide a more detailed analysis on these issues in April.  However key changes underway in this area include:

  • raising the minimum wage to $16.50 per hour on 1 April, and continuing to increase it to $20 by 2021 (Māori are over-represented on or near the minimum wage);
  • reconvening the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles as the next step in pay equity for New Zealand women. (Māori women are, collectively one of the lowest paid groupings in the workforce.)   This group will be (a) determining the merit of a claim as a pay equity claim, and (b) considering how to select appropriate male comparators when assessing the work subject to a pay equity claim.  The group needs to work fast, and report to Ministers by the end of February, so that legislation can be introduced in the middle of this year.
  • removing the 90-day employment trial for businesses with over 19 staff, meaning people gaining employment with larger organisations have more immediate job security – so this incoming legislative change will apply to about 71% of all workers, but to only about 3% of all businesses/employers. (This is because 97% of employers have less than 20 staff, but these companies only engage 29% of all employees).

 

Māori News Stories for the Weeks Ending 15 May and 22 May 2015

Social Matters

Valuation of the Benefit System

Last Thursday the Minister of Social Development, Anne Tolley, released a summary of key findings from the report Valuation of the Benefit System for Working Age Adults: as at 30 June 2014. The report was prepared by Taylor Fry (a consultancy firm) and was published on the Ministry of Social Development website in February. 

The report outlines the lifetime costs of approximately 570,000 working-age Work and Income New Zealand clients who received income support for the year ending 30 June 2014.  The total estimated cost (liability) of benefit payments and related expenses for clients who received income support until they reach retirement age is $69 billion.  Key Māori findings of note are:

  • 38 percent of Work and Income New Zealand clients aged 18 to 24 years are Māori;
  • intergenerational benefit receipt was highest amongst Māori; with 87 percent of Māori clients aged 18 to 24 years having at least one parent receiving a benefit. The rate was 65 percent for non-Māori;[1]
  • 54 percent of Māori clients aged 18 to 24 years are clients with intensive family benefit history. A client with intensive family benefit history is described as a client whose parent was intensively in the benefit system during the years the client was aged 13 to 17 years.
  • Māori are disproportionately at risk of longer benefit reliance compared with non-Māori. The report identifies a correlation between intergenerational benefit receipt and longer benefit terms;
  • The concentration of Māori beneficiaries is highest in Northland, East Cost and Bay of Plenty regions;
  • Māori living in Auckland or Northland will receive on average $40,000 more in benefits than other ethnic groups in these regions.Despite these marked disparities between Māori and non-Māori, the study does not propose any solutions or recommendations for change.  We also advise, Minister Tolley’s press release on this matter failed to identify any issues presenting in relation to Māori – like her Ministry she remains silent on ethnic differences in this area.  That is, within the welfare sector there is still no formal acknowledgement of the need to consider and address Māori welfare dependency as a unique policy matter.The report can be viewed here:

http://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/newsroom/media-releases/2015/valuation.pdf

Census – Education and Training Data Released

Last Tuesday Statistics New Zealand published, 2013 Census – Education and Training Data.  The publication provides information on education, training engagement, and formal qualifications attained for people aged 15 years and over, derived from census data.

Overall the proportion of people with formal qualifications increased to 79 percent in 2013; up from 75 percent in 2006. For Māori 67 percent held a formal qualification in 2013; up from 60 percent in 2006. Noteworthy is the increase of Māori with bachelor degrees – increasing to 7.5 percent (27,057 people) in 2013, from 5.5 percent (17,907 people) in 2006.   Other findings of note were:

  • 30 percent of Māori aged 15-years and older have no formal qualifications;
  • the highest qualification for 41 percent of Māori (147,900) was a level 1–3 tertiary certificate; and
  • 48 percent of Māori aged 15 to 19 years were enrolled in school or tertiary study (circa 35,000 people).

The publication can be viewed here: http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports/qstats-education-training.aspx

 

Māori Life Expectancy

Earlier this month Statistics NZ published, The New Zealand Period Life Tables: 2012–14.   Findings show that the difference between Māori and non-Māori life expectancy at birth has reduced to 7.1 years (it was previously 7.3 years).  Male Māori life expectancy at birth is now 73 years, compared with 79.5 years for all males.  Māori female life expectancy is 77.1 years, compared with to 83.2 years for all females.

Quarterly Labour Market Scorecard – March 2015

Last Thursday the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a Labour Market Scorecard for the quarter ending 31 March 2015. The scorecard is a one-page summary on labour market statistics and indicators. The key Māori statistics and indicators for the March 2015 quarter are:

  • 63.3 percent of Māori 18 year-old school levers in 2013 attained NCEA level 2 or higher;
  • 29.6 percent of Māori school levers in 2013 did not attain NCEA level 1;
  • the Māori unemployment rate is 12.6 percent; and
  • the Māori Labour force participation is 66.5 percent.Pānui has already advised on these matters as the data was released,referto Pānui 15/2015 for details.

     

    Economic Matters

    FoMA Members – Agricultural Production Tables as at 30 June 2014

    Last Monday Statistics New Zealand published agricultural production tables from a survey of farms owned by members of the Federation of Māori Authorities (FoMA), as at 30 June 2014.

    Key findings show the average size of a FoMA member farm is circa 2,260 hectares – approximately nine times larger than the average New Zealand farm size.  Federation members own and manage 266,400ha of farm and forestry; which represents 1.9% of New Zealand’s total farm and forestry production land.[2]  Federation members also own 0.9% of deer; 1.9% of sheep; 1.9% of beef cattle, and 0.6% of dairy stock in New Zealand.

    Pukeroa Oruawhata Group Receives Tourism Funding

    On Wednesday the Minister of Tourism, John Key, announced the Pukeroa Oruawhata Group and its business partner, World Spa Ltd, will receive $350,000 from the Tourism Growth Partnership fund.  The funding will be invested in the first stage of a proposed large scale health and well-being complex on the Rotorua lakefront.

    Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study Published

    Last Tuesday a Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study was published on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website. The report was prepared by MartinJenkins (a consultancy firm) and commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

    The report is the third in a series of regional growth studies, which have the purpose of “identifying the sectors and commercial opportunities in each region that have the potential to sustainably grow incomes, jobs and investment”.   We are reviewing this document to determine relevance for Māori, and will advise further.

    The report can be viewed here: http://www.med.govt.nz/sectors-industries/regions-cities/research/regional-growth-studies/toi-moana-bay-of-plenty-regional-growth-study-opportunities

     

    Ngāi Tahu Tourism Wins Trade Award

    Ngāi Tahu Tourism has won the Auckland International Airport Award for Excellence in Tourism at the HSBC China Business Awards.

     

    Te Tatau Pounamu – Māori Representation and Participation Conference

The New Zealand Māori Council will be hosting a one day Māori Representation and Participation Conference, 31 May 2015 in Palmerston North.  The conference is entitled Te Tatau Pounamu to register or view the full conference programme athttp://www.maoricouncil.com/2015/05/12/te-tatau-pounamu-conference-programme-and-registration/

 

 

Treaty Matters

Araukuku Hapū – Urgent Hearing with the Waitangi Tribunal Declined

This month Araukuku, a South Taranaki hapū lodged an application with the Wellington High Court seeking a review of a Waitangi Tribunal decision not to grant an urgent hearing into its claim (Wai 552) to have the hapū removed from Ngāruahine Deed of Settlement.  The Deed of Settlement was signed in August 2014, but the Tribunal application was only lodged in February 2015 (with Tribunal decision being released on 7 May).

 

The Crown purchase Battle of Ōrākau site

The Crown has purchased a 9.7 hectare property at Ōrākau near Kihikihi. The property was the site of the 1864 Battle of Ōrākau. The land will be placed in the Office of Treaty Settlements Landbank and maintained by the Crown while consultation with iwi, the Heritage Society and Waipa Council continue on its future governance and management.

 

Appointments

Dame Tariana Turia has been appointed to the Superu Board – Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit.

 



[1]Note, this is inclusive of beneficiaries aged 24 years.

[2]Federation members also own 0.9% of deer; 1.9% of sheep; 1.9% of beef cattle, and 0.6% of dairy stock in New Zealand.

 

Parliamentary matters and Māori news stories for the week ending 21 September 2012

  • On Wednesday the Local Government and Environment Select Committee tabled their report on the Mount Maunganui Borough Reclamation and Empowering Act Repeal Bill.  The Committee have recommended that the Bill is passed with minor amendments.  (This is supported by Tauranga Moana iwi, refer to E20/2012 for details.)
  • On Thursday the Commerce Select Committee heard oral submissions for the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill.  The purpose of this Bill is to increase community say over gaming machines within local authority areas, and includes a proposed power for communities to reduce the number of gaming machines.  The Committee will report back to Parliament by 9 November 2012.  (For details on this matter refer to Pānui E12/2012.)
  • On Thursday the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill was read for a first time and referred to the Social Services Committee. The Bill passed by 69 votes to 50 with National, New Zealand First, Act and United Future voting in favour; whilst the Labour, Green, Māori and Mana parties voted against it.  (Refer to Pānui E32/2012 for details on this matter.)

Māori news stories for the week ending 21 September 2012

  • John Bishara has been appointed Chairman of the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board.
  • Des Ratima has been elected Deputy Chairman of the New Zealand Māori Council.
  • On Tuesday the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) held a hui with Iwi leaders.  The focus of the hui was to discuss the potential of building a stronger relationship between iwi and the Council in order to improve the working lives of Māori workers.  This follows mediation from some iwi leaders in relation to Affco strikes and lockouts (refer to Pānui E15/2012 for reference notes).
  • On Tuesday Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust completed presenting their case against the Ministry of Social Development in the Auckland High Court.  Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust are challenging the Ministry’s decision to end a Family Start contract, valued at circa $1.4 million.  The parties are now awaiting the judges’ decision.
  • The Tainui Group Holdings Te Awa Retail Centre (‘the Base’) has won a silver award at the International Council of Shopping centres Asia Pacific Awards, in Shanghai.

Māori news stories for the week ending 31 August 2012

  • Tina Ngatai has been appointed General Manager of Ngāti Whakaue Tribal Lands Incorporated. 
  • On Monday an application for bail for Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara (two of the Urewera four) was declined in the Court of Appeal, Wellington.  The men were seeking bail while they wait to have an appeal hearing against their convictions for their involvement in military style camps in Te Urewera National Park in 2007.
  • On Monday Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust commenced its claim against the Ministry of Social Development in the Auckland High Court.  Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust are challenging the Ministry’s decision to end a Family Start contract, valued at circa $1.4 million.
  • On Wednesday the University of Otago hosted, Hui Poutama Research Symposium – Māori research symposium.
  • This week Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust hosted, Ngā Whetū Hei Whai: Charting Pathways for Māori Industry Futures Conference.
  • This week the annual Māori Medical Practitioners’ Association conference is being held at Ahipara.
  • This week the Minister for Social Development, Paula Bennett, announced that some beneficiary jobseekers will be required to take a pre-employment drug test from July 2013.  Jobseekers will be sanctioned if they refuse or fail a drug test.  Sanctions have three degrees of severity; (first) a warning, (second) loss of 50% of benefit payment, (third) loss of full benefit.  Given Māori comprise 32% of beneficiaries, it is possible this policy will affect greater proportions of Māori than others. 
  • Iwi delegates attending the Pacific Island Forum (in Rarotonga) have expressed an interest in joining the forum’s Polynesian Leaders’ sub-group.
  • On Wednesday the Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, Steven Joyce, and the Education Minister, Hekia Parata, released action plans on the Better Public Service targets relating to boosting skills and employment.   The information presented is largely a reiteration of existing planning in these areas.  There is some Māori-focused content, but it is not significant.  We are presently reviewing these materials, along with the recently released Māori Strategy of the New Zealand Qualification Authority.  

Māori news stories for the weeks ending 13 and 20 July 2012

  • Timoti Te Heuheu passed away last Thursday.
  • Philip Broughton (Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tahu) has been appointed as a member of the Education New Zealand Board.
  • Dr Selwyn Katene (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāruahine, Ngāti Tama) has been appointed as the Massey University Assistant Vice-Chancellor – Māori and Pasifika.
  • Enid Ratahi–Pryor (Ngāti Awa) has been appointed to the Housing New Zealand Corporation Board. 
  • On Monday Nelson’s first Kura Kaupapa Māori was opened, (Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tuia Te Matangi).
  • Last weekend an official opening was held for Pipiriki forest, Taranaki.  (Pipiriki is twenty hectares of Māori owned wetland. The area has been fenced and stock-proofed with assistance from the Māori Trustee, Te Puni Kōkiri, and other organisations.)
  • Last Monday the Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce, confirmed that $1 million would be invested into He Toki 2.0, a Canterbury Māori Trade-Training initiative.  He Toki 2.0 will be offered through Te Tapuae o Rēhua with support from Te Puni Kōkiri, which will oversee the initiative, along with the Ministry for Social Development and the Tertiary Education Commission.
  • On Monday the Glenn Family Foundation announced the launch of the ‘Otara Project’.  The project is focused on child and community wellbeing (reducing child abuse and domestic violence), and will receive $8 million from the Foundation.  The Glenn Family Foundation has pledged $80 million to national initiatives of this nature.
  • Te Whānau ā Apanui and Greenpeace are appealing the High Court’s decision not to overturn a permit to drill for oil off the East Cape, which has been issued to Petrobras (a Brazilian oil company).  The Gisborne District Council has also approved, without public notification, a consent for TAG Oil and the Apache Corporation to construct an oil drilling platform on a property north-east of Te Karaka.
  • Enviroschools Taranaki and Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre have signed new agreements to provide agricultural training on Parininihi ki Waitotara Incorporation farms.

Māori news stories for the week ending 4 May 2012

  • The Auckland Independent Māori Statutory Board has commenced a series of six hui to consult on health and wellbeing issues such as Te Reo Māori, housing and co-governance of natural resources.  Feedback from hui will be used to develop the Tāmaki Makaurau – Māori Wellbeing Plan.
  • Ngāti Kahungunu iwi continues to support locked out AFFCO (Wairoa) workers and their whānau through the provision of weekly food parcels and welfare advice.  The AFFCO  (Wairoa) plant is now in its tenth week of industrial action.
  • On Tuesday, Just Speak, the youth arm of Rethinking Crime and Punishment released a preliminary position paper called Māori and the Criminal Justice System: A Youth Perspective.  The position paper is highly supportive of research and recommendations made in Moana Jackson’s 1988 report He Whaipaanga Hou.

Māori news stories for the week ending 9 March 2012

  • Retired High Court judge and historian Sir Rodney Gallen passed away last Saturday.
  • Te Putea Whakatupu Trust will be offering up to ten Rona scholarships to Māori students completing a degree in fisheries, aquaculture, or marine sciences.  The value of each scholarship is $10,000.
  •  The Bay of Plenty Regional Council will host Te Tōanga Mai o Te Ra, a one-day conference to promote and enhance ways to build Māori capacity and capability to contribute to Council decision-making.  Te Tōanga Mai o Te Ra is to be held on April 23, in Tauranga.
  • An interim report on the Rena grounding was publicly released yesterday by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission.  It has found the Rena was taking shortcuts to enter Tauranga harbour, in order to save time and beat the changing tide.
  • The Cabinet Office has posted Ministerial delegations on its website.  We note, of particular interest, that Tariana Turia’s role as Associate Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister has a delegation for leading the development of strategies and programmes to enhance and improve employment outcomes for Māori and Pacific peoples.  This is a new delegation and fits with the expressed intent in the National / Māori Party confidence and supply agreement to focus on employment programmes, and other comments from the Māori Party proposing that Te Puni Kōkiri be reoriented towards this task.  

Act Party: manifesto commitments:omnibus excerpt

ACT Party – Māori focused matters

The ACT Party has nineteen policy statements, and Māori interests are captured almost exclusively in one of these, entitled the ‘One Law for All’ policy proposal.  (The only other place the word Māori appears is under Welfare where ACT notes the high numbers of Māori on welfare.)  The ‘One Law for All’ proposal is, as the name suggests, a proposition that Māori-focused representative interventions are not required, and should be abolished from legislative frameworks at all levels.  For example, removal of Māori electorate seats in parliament, no Māori-wards at local government level, removal of Māori consultation requirements from the Resource Management Act, etc.  

Although not accepting Māori-specific representative mechanisms, the ACT Party does acknowledge the existence of Treaty of Waitangi grievances, and supports the acceleration of Treaty compensation processes.  (We note other parties tend to speak of Treaty settlements not ‘compensation’ per se, in recognition of the low value of settlements relative to the scale of the grievances, and value of assets lost through Treaty breaches.)

The ACT Party notes significant disparities between Māori and non-Māori in the social sector, and suggests the solutions to these are increased choice for Māori, in order to access better services.  Increased choice, however, does not extend to Māori language in schools, which Party Leader, Don Brash, yesterday dismissed as a policy option.

In our assessment, the ACT Party policy positions on Māori interests are reflective of two bygone eras.  First, limited Māori-specific input on social representative structures is reflective of the 1950s and 1960s when Māori had little input in macro policy developments, such as urban planning.  Subscribers familiar with Māori history will be aware this was a period of intensive (and facilitated) Māori urbanisation, and decision-makers (non-Māori) deliberately elected a Māori ‘pepper-popping’ housing approach.  This period is now acknowledged as a central disconnecting point for Māori communities, contributing significantly to the breakdown of inter-generational Māori language transmission, and a loss of iwi and marae identity amongst Māori at that time.  Given those types of historic negative outcomes, it is difficult to see any usefulness for Māori in foregoing representative models of decision-making in today’s context.     

The second aspect of ACT’s policy position is to create ‘market-choice’ in the social sector.  This is reflective of social policies attempted in the mid-1980s.  Again, the historic experience for Māori during this time period was significant social upheaval with negative social policy outcomes, such as record (25%) Māori unemployment.   There is no evidence that market-choice at that time improving Māori wellbeing – in fact the results of this policy era lead to a ‘closing the gaps policy in the mid-1990s.  As an example, research shows ‘choice-theory’ in the school lead to school selection of students and ‘white-flight’, leading to resources actually being shifted away from Māori – and consequently less educational provisions for Māori communities (and ultimately educational results for Māori learners did not improve).  Again then, the historic experience of this type of policy framework does not demonstrate policy advancements for Māori.

Although we have tried to highlight potential positives and negative  aspects within the policy framework of all parties reviewed, in the case of ACT it is challenging to see any degree of responsiveness to Māori collective issues based on historic evidence or stated Māori aspiration.  This is, of course, part of the political positioning of this party, on the political right, with a focus on individuals (not groups), and a focus on market driven choice (not targeted interventions). 

From week ending 11 November 2011