25 Jan 2009

Maori economic summit 'proactive move'

11:30 am on 25 January 2009

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the harsh economic times are going to affect Maori in particular and opportunities have to be created to help Maori.

Dr Sharples will lead a separate economic summit on Wednesday addressing the needs of Maori in the economic crisis, a month before a wider Prime Ministerial job summit in Auckland.

He said the approach is proactive and is about Maori doing something for themselves.

"These harsh times are definitely going to impact negatively on Maori - we occupy a lot of the working class area, and a lot of the unemployed, a lot of beneficiaries and so on.

"So we have to look at creating opportunities to help our people, so we're not in the habit of just waiting for Government to bail us out later on."

At least 70 Maori from different spheres of economic activity are expected to attend.

Announcing the summit to Ratana followers at the marae near Wanganui on Friday, Prime Minister John Key said while relations between the Crown and Maori are not perfect, both groups are making small positive steps.

The jobs summit on 27 February will be chaired by Stock Exchange chief executive Mark Weldon, who says increasing productivity will be the focus of the discussions.