Supporting growth of Māori economy is vital for Aotearoa
Targeted new spending in Budget 2014 a good step, but more can be done
Budget 2014 provides for targeted initiatives supporting the Māori economy, including $8 million over four years towards a Māori Innovation Fund, $6 million over four years in operating funding towards New Zealand Māori Tourism, $1 million ($500,000 of which is reprioritised spending) for a joint New Zealand Māori and Chinese stage production and $5 million to establish a Māori Centre of Research Excellence.
Deloitte partner Mark Lash (Ngāi Tahu) says that given the Māori economy is estimated to be worth $40 billion and growing, it is fundamental that Government initiatives are targeted to support its growth as a major contributor to the financial and social wellbeing of Māori and all of Aotearoa.
“In particular, we need to lift the financial performance of the Māori asset base if we are going to create better outcomes for Māori and the greater New Zealand economy. Currently, that $40 billion asset base is fragmented and heavily biased toward property and primary industry,” says Mr Lash.
“While today’s announcements are a positive step in the right direction, more could be done to encourage creativity and innovation in the Māori economy and support the commercialisation of those ideas to lift financial returns from the putea,” says Mr Lash.
In the year since the Government’s last Budget announcement there has been accelerated progress settling treaty claims. But the real economic benefits for Māori (and the wider economy) will only come once this process is complete.
“The focus needs to be on real and practical programmes that will assist in lifting the financial return of the Māori asset base – it’s time for less hui and more do-i,” concludes Mr Lash.