12 May 2015

Maori in regions disadvantaged - report

8:29 am on 12 May 2015

A Salvation Army report released today reveals that Māori who live in regional areas such as Northland and Gisborne are getting what it described as a 'bad deal'.

The report by the Salvation Army looked at the state of life in regional Aotearoa and found they were the most disadvantaged parts of the country.

It showed the divide between the regions was growing, with the South Island faring well, but those in the North Island, apart from Auckland and Wellington, deprived socially and economically.

The Mixed Fortunes report measured progress in regional New Zealand based on four indicators: people and populations, work and incomes, wellbeing of children and presence of social and other hazards.

The results of regional wellbeing were mixed, but point to some regions in the country struggling to develop.

Senior policy analyst Alan Johnson, who developed the study, said there was a growing disparity between the regions, and Māori were suffering as a result.

"It appears as though people, for example, in regions such as Northland, Gisborne and Waikato to a degree, and also Manawatu and Whanganui, have tended not to do as well say, through the education system and that young people in particular seem to be more prone to committing crime and being prosecuted for the crime.

"Those areas tend to be in those communities where a large proportion of the population is Māori and in particular, obviously, a large proportion of the younger population is Māori.

"Northland and Gisborne appear to be the most dangerous regions to live in terms of social hazards and safety, whereas the people of Auckland, Canterbury and Otago do not suffer the same safety and social hazard risk."

Mr Johnson said beneficial outcomes for children and young people in Northland, Waikato and Gisborne were also less than in other regions.

The Salvation Army is calling for a national response to the issue including a national plan to meet the challenges of an ageing population, resource scarcity and rising inequality in the regions, the development of national sustainability goals that ensure even progression between all regions and speeding up the adoption of new technologies and social arrangements.

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