The blowout in the number of Māori benefit recipients to 56,500 is concerning and shows this Labour-led Government is failing Māori, National’s Māori Development spokesperson Jo Hayes says.
“There’s been an increase of over 11,000 Māori on the dole since this Government came into office, or almost 25 per cent. That’s equivalent to a town the size of Kaiapoi.
“Forty per cent of dole recipients now are Māori, the highest proportion in over five years.
“It isn’t kind or caring to let Māori languish on welfare. Employers are crying out for workers, so the number of people on benefits shouldn’t be skyrocketing.
“The number of Pākehā on the dole has increased too, but by 11 per cent, less than half the rate of the increase Māori have experienced. In absolute numbers, there are more Māori on the dole than Pākehā despite being a smaller proportion of the population.
“While the Government crows about low unemployment and a strong economy, it’s clear Māori just aren’t seeing that.
“Even proven initiatives like Whānau Ora that empower Māori to access health services and improve their lives aren’t being supported. This Government budgeted $80 million for Whānau Ora in Budget 2019 but still hasn’t distributed the funds to Commissioning Agencies, even diverting some of the money to government agencies.
“All this demonstrates is that Labour’s Māori Caucus is toothless and ineffective. Māori need a voice in areas like education, employment, health and welfare, and we’re just not being heard by this Government.”