19 Feb 2009

Global financial crisis will hit Maori economy hardest - Key

9:29 pm on 19 February 2009

The Prime Minister says the Maori economy stands to be hit much harder than the general economy by adverse overseas conditions.

John Key says the Maori economy is estimated to be worth about $25 billion, compared with $180 billion overall.

But Mr Key says almost 65% of the Maori economy is exposed to international markets, compared with just 30% of the general economy.

"You have a lot of exposure in the Maori economy in areas such as agriculture, forestry, fishery and a big exposure in tourism," he said.

"It's important we come up with some good solutions and take the rough edges off the recession."

Mr Key says several iwi leaders, along with the Maori Party, have been invited to next week's job summit.

Meanwhile, rising unemployment and increased interest in higher education among Maori are boosting demand for Maori studies and trades training at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

Chief executive Neil Barns says enrolments at its Maori studies department, Te Puna Wanaka, has doubled this year.

The polytech is offering a Bachelors degree in Maori for the first time.