The Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council, Matthew Tukaki, has said unemployment in New Zealand will rise significantly over the next quarter and the figures out today are just the tip of a very fast-moving iceberg.
Tukaki has said earlier Treasury forecasts indicated unemployment could rise as high as 26% with Maori unemployment rates around 4% above that average. “The reality is that Maori unemployment is always ahead of the national average for reasons of ongoing employment depravation in the regions, ongoing issues with low skills and low wage growth as well as a general lack of focussed support on the development of all aspects of the Maori economy.” Said Tukaki
Tukaki is the former head of the World’s oldest and one of the largest employment companies, Drake International. As of last month, 1.7 million jobs were supported by the wage subsidy at a taxpayer cost of $12.3 billion – and there is no guarantee that small to medium sized business would be saved as a result. Since March nearly 70,000 people have taken up the JobSeeker benefit or Covid-19 redundancy grant.
“The prediction, by some, is that the unemployment rate will move from 4.2% in the June quarter to 6.4% - I would have thought it would nudge 7% - but either way based on those two predictions Maori unemployment could move as high as 8-10%. But it will be in the September quarter that we will see the rough and tumble of it heading past 10% for Maori unless we start thinking about more support.” Tukaki said
“That means each of the parties need a much stronger direction for the economy than they currently have and that means boosting infrastructure development and construction, a move to boost primary industries and invest more in the transition of many of those unemployed workers into new forms of employment – in other words they cannot only be programs aimed at young people – we need robust pathways to opportunities for older workers who might be 50 + because if we don’t do anything about them they will languish on the long term unemployment lists until national super.” Tukaki said
“For Maori that pain is going to be very real and that is why one of things that can happen now is boost investment to Iwi, Hapu, Hauora and service providers to scale their services up and support the creation of new jobs in mental health, community services, kaumaua care, social work and much more.” Tukaki said
The June quarter numbers will be published this morning.