Update on the data work for Māori Economic Activity
In October 2019, we sent a briefing to Ministers Mahuta, Davis and Twyford on behalf of NZ Māori Tourism, Federation of Māori Authorities and Poutama, on the lack of data on Māori economic activity. A lack of data on Māori economic activity makes it extremely difficult for government and Māori development agencies, to:
a. Develop evidence-based policy for Māori economic development,
b. Make sound investments in Māori economic development, and
c. To measure the effectiveness of current policies and interventions.
A key component of the work is to ensure that any information gathered must only be shared in a way that protects the security and confidentiality of individuals in businesses. The data that we need is at a high level (e.g. regional, sector or national level) and not about individual people or businesses.
In November 2019 we met with Ministers Davis, Mahuta and Shaw to discuss the issue and Ministers sent their officials away to identify how they can solve the problem.
TPK has since convened meetings of officials from MBIE, NZBN, Stats NZ, IRD, TPK and NZ Māori Tourism. Key points from the meetings are:
• Strong messages have come from Ministers and government CEOs to officials to find a way of collecting data on Māori economic activity.
• The preference is to use the NZ Business Number due to it being a single source that is connected to a broad set of databases. We have discussed using the tax system but it isn’t feasible.
• TPK and MBIE are pushing hard for the data solution and are strong allies in the discussions.
• Stats NZ want to undertake consultation to define Maori businesses which could take more than a year.
• MBIE, TPK and NZ Māori Tourism want to proceed with a simple definition of a Maori business and change it if the Stats NZ consultation gives a better definition. The simple definition of a Maori business is “a business that is 50% or more owned by Māori”.
• We agree that self-identification is the simplest way to identify a Māori business (as we do in the census and electoral process). This might change if there is a financial incentive to being a Māori business e.g. proposed changes to the government procurement rules.
We will continue to work with officials to get good data sources on Māori economic activity and to keep you updated.