- Māui Hudson and Te Rau Kupenga have been appointed to Statistics New Zealand’s (Statistics NZ) new Governance Advisory Board. By way of further background, this advisory board has just been established, and Mr Kupenga and Mr Hudson are two of its six members. As the Ministerial press release states, the role of the board is to assist with strategy and direction; and “sometimes to challenge Stats NZ’s CEO and Executive Leadership Team”. The establishment of an external board like this for Statistics NZ is, in our assessment, highly desirable and is something we have suggested in the past. This is due to the poor performance of Statistics NZ in servicing the needs of Māori in recent years, including but not limited to, inadequate Census work. Having two proven Māori leaders in this area positioned to provide the Department with guidance and steerage is likely to be a step towards remedying this issue. This work matters because gathering and correctly interpreting Māori statistics is a critical first action in the delivery of quality Māori policy advice across government. For example, Statistics NZ’s lack of work on Māori businesses over the last four years now means the Government is somewhat blinded as it seeks to develop bespoke solutions for Māori businesses, such as Māori tourist operators, in its response to COVID-19 economic impacts. That is, the necessary baseline data just was not gathered by the Department (but it could have been). To date Statistics NZ has expressed only a diminutive understanding of the impacts on its failings on Māori wellbeing, so its likely Mr Kupenga and Mr Hudson, with the other advisors, will have some challenges ahead.
- Last month Oranga Tamariki published a report on youth justice entitled Youth Justice Insights: Separating Misconceptions from Facts. This report looks at youth offending data for the years 2010 to 2018. A key finding was that youth offending reduced for both Māori and non-Māori. However, the decrease for Māori was much less. For example the number of Māori aged 14 to 16 years who were prosecuted for medium-high level offences decreased from circa 1,350 to 750 rangatahi; which was a 44% decrease. Comparatively, the decrease was 59% for non–Maori. For high level offences the decrease for Māori youth was from circa 500 to 170 offences per annum; which was a 33% decrease. Comparatively for non-Māori the high offence decrease was 59% over this time period. https://www.orangatamariki.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Research/Latest-research/Youth-justice-insights-separating-misconceptions-from-facts/Youth-justice-insights-separating-misconceptions-from-facts.pdf
- Yesterday the Ministry for Women released the 2019 Gender Stocktake of State Sector Boards and Committees report. This provides an annual account of the number of women on state sector boards and committees. (The Government has previously set a target of at least 50% female representation on these groupings by 2021.) We advise the goal is nearly achieved, with 49% of these positions now being held by women (as at 31 December 2019). We note wāhine Māori hold 10.8% of these roles. https://women.govt.nz/sites/public_files/Gender%20Maori%20and%20Ethnicity%20Stocktake%202019.pdf
- This week the third reading of the Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill was completed in Parliament. When passed into law (after Royal Assent) this change will make it illegal for people to smoke in motor vehicles carrying children. For offenders, the Police will have the ability to issue a $50 infringement fee, or to issue warnings, and refer people to stop smoking support services. We advise 31% of adult Māori smoke compared to 13% of the total adult population. There is no data on the number of Māori adults who smoke in vehicles with children, but this law change has been supported by Hāpai Te Hauora (a Māori public health coalition).
- On Thursday the second reading of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill was completed in Parliament. The purpose of this bill is to establish a Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. The Commission will provide independent scrutiny of the Government’s progress in improving New Zealand’s mental health and wellbeing, promote collaboration between entities that contribute to mental health and wellbeing, and develop advice and a framework for the permanent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission. We advise that the bill proposes that membership of the Commission must include at least one commissioner who has knowledge, understanding and experience of te ao Māori and tikanga Māori. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_93099/mental-health-and-wellbeing-commission-bill
- The Iwi Collective Partnership, (comprising of 17 iwi who work together to manage their fishing quota) have reportedly been bulk buying fish products at discounted prices from Sealord and Moana New Zealand (companies with wider Māori interests), in order to distribute kaimoana to whānau within their respective areas. This is part of their COVID-19 response to support families in need. We believe the General Manager of the Collective Partnership, Maru Samuels, is correct in stating that this appears to be the first time the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Settlement has resulted in fish being directly supplied to Māori whānau.
- The Chief Executive of the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, Kim Skelton, has resigned. Media reports are that the reasons given are said to be due a ‘toxic culture’ and inappropriate power balances. (The information being referred to, however, is not in the public arena and therefore cannot be verified.) We also note financial reports are also not available on line, and there have been past disputes on land sales and purchases (Pānui 20/2019 provides details).
- Last week part-one of a five-part series focused on the Waikato-Tainui Treaty process was launched on Te Tai Treaty Settlement website. Part-two will be published 5 June. https://raupatu.com/category/the-signing/
 Media release from James Shaw, Minister for Statistics.
 Sealord has 50% Māori ownership. Moana NZ (formally Aoteaora Fisheries) is owned by a wide range of iwi.
 Normally benefits of the settlement are distributed as financial dividends to iwi.