Govt sets up unit to lift Maori economic performance

By Kate Shuttleworth

Maori Economic Development Panel chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said the panel planned on inter-generational change in terms of economic development. Photo / Warren Buckland
Maori Economic Development Panel chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said the panel planned on inter-generational change in terms of economic development. Photo / Warren Buckland

A Maori unit within the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment will be set up to drive a government plan to lift Maori economic performance.

The unit will drive a strategy to improve Maori economic outcomes by lifting Maori educational achievement,through on-job training.

The Maori Economic Development Panel released the Maori economic development strategy and action plan today.

A Maori economic development advisory board will be appointed by Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples and Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce to provide mentoring and evaluation of the strategy and plan.

The plan includes a focus on financial literacy, increased resources to enhance Maori governance, a private sector action plan to improve Maori land productivity and a new Maori-oriented investment fund.

The action plan includes 26 action points including improving educational outcomes for Maori through on-job training, improved governance of Maori assets and access to capital; and land productivity.

Maori Economic Development Panel chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said the panel planned on inter-generational change in terms of economic development.

"This report is the work of nearly 1000 New Zealanders who care deeply about improving the economic status of Maori and the economic performance of New Zealand," he said.

"It's an important day not just for Maori, but for all New Zealanders.

Mr Joyce said Maori education and training rates had been lagging and were not where they needed to be.

Underachievement in education needed to be dealt with in order for Maori to achieve their full economic potential.

This goal would form part of Ministry of Education public service targets to improve Maori outcomes.

Dr Sharples said the plan would provide user-friendly programmes for Maori.

He talked about Maori children performing poorly in educational achievement statistics.

"We have to stop kidding ourselves and have more meaningful programmes," said Dr Sharples.

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell said the strategy marked another milestone achieved in the relationship accord between the Maori Party and the National Party.

"We are very pleased to see that the Government has committed to a plan of action that will support Maori business to flourish into the future.

- APNZ

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