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Industry and Employment

"We need to do all we can to boost our skills base and create opportunities for our people in high value industries. Lifting our skills base boosts wage growth" 

Chaired by Matthew Tukaki the National Taskforce for Access to Industry and Employment meets six weekly and focusses its mahi across a range of key kaupapa such as:

  • Growing and developing the Maori economy 

  • Growing and developing Maori small and medium sized business 

  • Focused on improving the employment participation rate and lowering unemployment 

  • Focused on policy related to increasing wage growth and skills growth amongst Maori

This also includes specific employment targets and focus: 

  • Priority: “Creating more opportunities for Maori in the digital, information technology and telecommunications sectors”

  • Priority Two: “From the Marae to the Boardroom – developing a new generation of Maori leaders”

  • Priority Three: “Steps to freedom – using employment to reduce reoffending”

  • Priority: “Supporting our mums into work”

  • Priority: “Maori in their middle to latter years” A tailored national workforce development plan

The New Zealand Maori Council has released its ambitious plan for both the future of the technical and vocational education sector and Maori employment in the 21st century. Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of Council and Chair of the National Maori Authority has said that its time to take reform seriously but also not to miss the opportunity to empower Maori to move from the low wage growth side of the economy into high yield, high growth sectors such as digital, online and technology focused sectors:

“We must prepare for the wholesale extinction of many roles Maori traditionally hold en-masse in the economy – the truth is automation is here and yes robots are taking many jobs.” Tukaki said


“For many decades the largest per head of population consumer of the technical and vocational education sector has been Maori. From the birth of the old Maori Affairs Trade Trainee program through to the demand placed on regions when it comes to trades across the blue collar, industrial and primary industries sectors, Maori have been dominant.” Tukaki said

“That said; Maori, in the main, have also been largely seen as part of the low wage side of the economy and have not always been given the opportunity (or invested into) to make the transition into skills and trades that are part of the high growth end of the economy where wages are higher. While trades skills have been in heavy demand many of these jobs face extinction due to the evolution of the economy and rapid innovation in technology and telecommunications; in other words, over the next decade, a great many traditional role types would have disappeared in favor of automation.” Tukaki said

“Over many decades employment and training strategies developed by Government have mostly focused on an immediate problem related to high rates of unemployment or sector demand. In fact, there has never been a much longer-term plan or strategy that has been developed around what the shape and future of work for Maori needs to look like and what needs to be invested in to achieve success. This document seeks to identify a series of ways and means to both begin the discussion, provide insights and ideas as well as move towards what it looks like to have a sustainable longer-term plan in place. In any event our goal should be a further lowering of the unemployment rates when it comes to Maori, future proofing the economy and driving up the rates of participation in the medium to highly skilled ends of the jobs market – thereby lifting wage growth and increasing rates of financial independence. Council very much sees both the reforms of the vocational and technical education as being aligned with the future of Maori employment and jobs” Tukaki said

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