Sunday, August 08, 2010

Maori Unemployment

Well, Aotearoa/NZ's unemployment rate is now back at 10-year highs with overall unemployment up to 6.8% from last quarters teasing plummet of 6%.

Maori unemployment is up from 14.2% to 16.4%. As the Pikiwhara, Parekura Haitch, sayz "That means 26,400 Maori are now without jobs, an increase of 3,600 since the previous quarter."

Talking to taxi drivers, barmen, waitresses and shirt sales staff as I do, the looming double dip has been a topic of concern for some time. But these national figures hide the true pain. For young people aged 15-19 years, the unemployment rate is 26.5%. For young Maori in this age group it is 38.7%. Two out of every five rangatahi are outta work.

Yet again the issue of mining on Maori land has arisen as a geological survey of Northland/Tai Tokerau is announced. I heard Margaret Mutu on RNZ decrying the decision. The issue I raised on an earlier post remains: poor countries (like A/NZ) and poor societies (like Nga Puhi) don't have the options of Luxembourg or Switzerland. I'm not advocating for ripping up the land for minerals (we allow Africans, Asians, South Americans and Australians to do that...) but unless we seriously address Maori unemployment (and underemployment when the economy is back up on its flat feet), we remain mired in the poverty, serfs amidst the plenitude of Papatuanuku. Mining is one of the many activities we can't exclude...

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Simon Lambert

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