PM Jacinda Ardern says Labour wants to fulfill Māori economic aspirations

By Taroi Black

PM Jacinda Ardern says fulfilling Māori economic aspirations is a major concern for the Labour Government after winning all seven of Māori seats in September's General election. She spoke publicly at the 30th-anniversary national Māori business forum 'FOMA' in Rotorua. 

The Prime Minister's promise to enrich Māori prosperity was clear and simple.

"We have to deliver for Māori and no one will be holding us to account for that more than our own Māori MP's."

Māori already makes up a quarter of the Government's caucus in which Jacinda Ardern says the Federation of Māori Authority (FOMA) conference was a perfect space to establish their relationship.

PM Jacinda Ardern says, “What strikes me today is how much potential we have in working in partnership together; to create jobs, to support our regions, to make sure that economic growth actually benefits our communities. I know that's at the heart of what FOMA is doing and it's at the heart of what our government is doing too."

Primary industries takes up a large proportion of FOMA which represents 150 Māori Authorities with a collective asset base of $11 billion.

"So we'll be looking for areas in investing. Forestry is a great example where I can see the government and FOMA partnering because we've got a big goal of planting a billion trees over the next ten years, we're going to need some help with that."

FOMA Chairperson Traci Houpapa says this new relationship is to also ensure that the $1 billion regional economic development still aligns with their goals.

Chairperson Traci Houpapa says, "We'll be working hard on the areas like climate change, water, trade, and export growth. We'll be focussed more on the distribution models of that wealth through into our whānau and our hapū."

Earlier on in the event, the Prime Minister received a few gifts including the first Māori speaking doll 'Pipi Mā'. 

Co-founder Kristen Ross (Pipi Mā) says, “I felt so overwhelmed when we were part of gifting her one of our dolls on her arrival.

The milestone event with FOMA reaching 30 years continues as a platform for Māori businesses who have already contributed $50 billion to the New Zealand economy.