Maori assets vital to regional economy
Friday, 8 July 2011 9:50 a.m.
Māori assets are of vital importance to New Zealand's economic future, according to a BERL report presented to Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Māori Committee.
The Committee heard that the asset base of enterprises in the 2010 Māori economy totalled at least $36.9 billion - four percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, and an increase of $20.4 billion from 2006. GDP is an economic measure of the annual contribution of producers, income earners and spenders to a nation's economy. The information indicates that Māori have made significant social and economic gains in recent years.
The Māori Asset Base in Waiariki (the wider Bay of Plenty region) is estimated to be around $7 billion, 18 percent of the total national Māori asset base. It includes Māori Land Trusts and Incorporations, Māori business, Crown Forest Lease settlements, Te Ohu Kaimoana (fisheries) and other settlement entities.
At the Maori Economic Summit in May this year, BERL Chief Economist Dr Ganesh Nana presented a summary of findings of BERL's projects undertaken for the Māori Economic Taskforce and Te Puni Kokiri. BERL estimated the size of the Māori economy in terms of the asset base, as well as income, spending and GDP contributions to the wider New Zealand economy.
The definition of the Māori economy includes entities and enterprises that identify themselves as part of the Māori economy. It is not limited to collectively-owned assets, or those arising from Treaty settlements.
Almost $21 billion in assets is attributed to the enterprises of Māori employers, and $5.4 billion in assets is attributed to the enterprises of Māori self-employed. More Māori are employed in a wider range of jobs and have better qualifications than a decade ago. There has also been an increase in the number of Māori employers and self-employed.
The Bay of Plenty region is 2,183,500 hectares, and the land area owned by Māori entities in Wairaiki is 685,000 hectares - 31.5 percent of the region. If investment in land ownership by these entities and land owned by private Māori land owners is included, the area would be more than a third of the Bay of Plenty's land area.
Māori Committee Chairman Tai Eru said benefits to be gained from Treaty settlements were significant in the Bay of Plenty.
"We have had several major comprehensive settlements, with a further 13 iwi settlements in the pipeline. This will see the asset base steadily increase within the next five to 10 years as other iwi in the region settle their Treaty claims.
"These figures demonstrate the significance of Māori in the economic development of Waiariki, and the role Māori can play in influencing economic change and direction in this area," Mr Eru said.