Thursday, December 12, 2013

Huihuinga Wahine: Speech by Vicky Robertson at the Maori Women Leadership Summit

A speech from Vicky Robertson, Deputy Chief Executive of Treasurey, reiterates current political-economic discourse on the NZ economy and the place of the Maori economy within NZ Inc.

Robertson (Ngai Tahu) is confident the NZ will ride on the Asian expansion in the medium term but notes our GDP is 15% lower than the OECD average. Further, she highlights the relatively poor indicators for Maori though doesn't unpack this, indeed the salvation seems to lie in greater productivity as reported by MAF a couple of years ago:

  • only 20 percent of Maori land was well developed. 
  • If the productivity of the remaining 80 percent of that land was brought up to average industry benchmarks it could generate an extra $8 billion in gross output over 10 years
  • this equals $11,600 for every Maori living in New Zealand.

The BERL report is of course mentioned - I've posted on this before - but comments that the Maori economy is 'bold, brown and on the move' makes it sound like a healthy bowel movement!

Culture, and our relationship building expertise, is elevated yet again as the advantage we possess as a people. I don't accept that our culture is a necessary and sufficient condition for our development (technically I'd accept culture as an insufficient but necessary conditions that are themselves unnecessary but sufficient, a classic INUS variable) Robertson then goes on to talk about lifting education outcomes for Maori, a necessary piece of the puzzle for individuals and whanau.

All good stuff.

But we're in the midst of a paradox where standing still is going backwards yet our traditions are what make us. Of course we're adaptable - woe betide those Indigenous Peoples who won't change! - but it seems no matter what compromises we make, poverty tracks us like a hungry beast.

And lets not fool ourselves into thinking all Maori can tap into this Maori Economy. We are split along similar lines to Pakeha, with ruling elites and proles.


Anyways, yesterday I went on a tour of Ngai Tahu farms as part of Lincoln University's Whenua Kura programme. Massive scale (I'd argue it's the biggest Indigenous development in the world at the moment) with huge expectations for a) profit, b) employment for tribal members, and c) sustainability.

I'll post on this soon, with pix...

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