Statement of Intent 2009-2012

Introduction from the Chief Executive

Tēnei ahau, me aku kaimahi o Te Puni Kōkiri, e mihi nei ki te hunga kua huri ki tua o paerau, me koutou ngā kanohi ora o rātou mā, tēnā koutou katoa.

The overall goal across government as a whole is to grow the New Zealand economy in order to deliver greater prosperity, security and opportunity. We are working to position Māori, within a context of challenging economic conditions, to be well prepared for future opportunities in a growing economy.

Historically, economic downturns have had a disproportionately negative impact on Māori compared to non-Māori, largely because of where Māori have been concentrated in the labour market and industry sectors. These negative effects have not been confined to economic effects, but also extend to the consequential impact on social wellbeing. In recent years Māori have made significant gains in terms of skills and education. More Māori are in skilled and highly skilled jobs across a range of sectors.

That aside, a relatively high proportion are still employed in lower-skilled, lesser paid occupations. Significant numbers of Māori are in sectors particularly vulnerable to current international economic developments, including the construction and manufacturing industries.

These characteristics present risks for Māori incomes and consequently, Māori housing. Māori are currently under-represented in home ownership statistics and there is a risk that the downturn will further entrench this difference, reducing the intergenerational benefits of Māori home ownership. Increasing Māori unemployment may encourage entry into further education or training. However, there is also the risk that if incomes decline significantly higher levels of education and training may be considered too costly.

Māori assets are concentrated in the primary and secondary sectors and thus exposed to global fluctuations. The value of Māori assets is therefore expected to decline over the short term. Most Māori businesses are concentrated in export industries such as fishing, forestry, agriculture and tourism sectors which are also exposed to global economic conditions.

The current economic climate therefore represents significant risks for Māori which need to be considered in terms of policy responses. These responses also need to take into account the longer term trends influencing the global economy and the shape of both the New Zealand economy and the Māori economy.

However catastrophic the global economic crisis is, it is not total despair. We all need to take stock of the many positive aspects of Māori development over the past decade. Particularly, Māori are in a prime position and are ready and willing to make a real contribution to the creation of employment opportunities over the medium term as an investment in the future of New Zealand.

The growth of Māori assets, the drive of Māori entrepreneurs coupled with the return of assets through the Treaty settlement process, places Māori in a strong position to make significant investment in the retention and creation of jobs in the immediate future and provide a window of opportunity to increase training and skills for the future.

Over the past twenty years, Māori have made extensive gains across the economic, cultural and social dimensions of our society to become a strong and vibrant force in all aspects of New Zealand. They have shown an ability to come together and present a united front on issues of national importance, and facts indicate that their collective wealth, investment and business growth will be a substantial factor in New Zealand growth. New Zealand will succeed and prosper as Māori economic development advances.

Assisted by the revival of Māori culture and language, the transfer of assets following treaty settlements and the emergence of successful Māori enterprises, has provided a strong base for further development and enhanced opportunities.

The new Government has made it clear that Ministers expect Public Service Chief Executives to demonstrate value for money and hold us accountable for doing so. This Statement of Intent presents a revised set of priorities for the Ministry. These changes arise from both sharpening our focus on the new Government’s priorities, and the significant changes in economic conditions. We expect these revised priorities to change over time, as economic conditions change and progress is made towards achieving the outcomes and priorities expressed in this Statement of Intent. The Statement of Intent indicates how Te Puni Kōkiri will focus on responding to the Government’s expectations over the medium-term and should be read in conjunction with the Māori, Other Populations and Cultural Sector Information Supporting the Estimates of Appropriations to 30 June 2010, particularly the performance information for appropriations in Vote Māori Affairs.

Achieving better performance and demonstrating value for money is paramount going forward that requires real effort to improve how we measure our progress. Good performance measures are difficult to define but vital to enable the impacts of outputs to be assessed and reported. Consequently, my executive team will focus on continuing to evolve our performance framework in line with the new Government’s priorities, to effectively link outputs to outcomes and build performance progress measures that assist us manage more effectively whilst also providing the Minister of Māori Affairs with confidence that Vote Māori Affairs appropriations achieve the results sought by Government.

He whakamoemiti ki te Atua, nāna nei ngā mea katoa.

Leith Comer
Chief Executive