Monday, May 09, 2011

Maori Economy Update...size matters, right?

Guesstimates of the size of the Maori economy can rest on the latest update. BERL has released a report valuing the Maori economy at $36 billion, made up of ...

• trusts and incorporations of $4.0 billion
• other Mäori entities of $6.7 billion
• businesses of self-employed Mäori of $5.4 billion
• businesses of Mäori employers of $20.8 billion

Most of the media reports (I've yet to get my ringa ringa on the original report) are focusing on scenarios linking, or not linking, this economy to science and innovation. While obviously fitting into the coalition governments science innovation strategies, there's no doubt that Maori are - individually and collectively - missing out on the benefits of wider, better, innovation in the NZ economy.

Of course Pakeha could have the same complaint.

Minister Sharples announced "the Māori Asset Base has more than doubled since 2006 ... No longer will people question whether or not a Māori Economy exists. The Māori Economy, our sleeping giant has begun to awake—and it has a fierce appetite."

I think people can rightly question the operations of a Maori economy, and the ongoing economic marginalisation of Maori as outlined in the latest unemployment figures (portrayed as an improvement but continuing the sad commentary on Maori figures: overall, Maori unemployment is up from 15.5% to 16.1%; NZ-wide youth unemployment is 27.5%... in Te Tai Tokerau a horrific 67% for Maori rangatahi.

I think we have a three speed economy: those who are doing very well individually (they're the ones who give press releases); those in the middle who struggle like all other middle-class battlers (that's me); and those left-right-out, disproportionately Maori and Pasifika but also a distressing number of Pakeha. Why distressing? They're a big electorate, and they don't necessarily vote Labour anymore.

Anyways, have delivered two guest lectures thus far at Lincoln: COMM 101 and ERST 203, and giving two for MGMT 203. Lecturing presents the ideal space to inform the debate through getting in front of young people. Old people ain't gonna change their minds, or not without rather chilling empirical evidence.

What rough beast is slouching towards Jerusalem...

Image filched from Hangdogs Photostream (aka Chuan Chew)

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Simon Lambert

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