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Ed Sheeran

Economists warn of COVID impact on Maori
Photo: Getty Images.

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Economic research consultancy BERL says the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Māori could be far worse and more lasting than the health impacts.

Chief economist Hillmare Schulze says around half of the Māori workforce, including up to three-quarters of working rangatahi, were in industries which were directly impacted by the response to the pandemic.

The short-term entry-level low skilled jobs such as retail, accommodation and forestry might not be available for rangatahi entering into the job market, and they may have to learn new ways to work, rather than relying on a single full-time job.

Dr Eruera Tarena from Tokona Te Raki Māori Futures Collective, which partnered with BERL on the study, says rangatahi Māori are the fastest-growing part of the workforce, and COVID-19 should be seen as an opportunity to fix a broken system and create a more equitable Aotearoa.

"There are some threats in terms of the economic harms of this recession can be concentrated on Māori but also too there are lots of opportunities as to how do we really shift things, look at the positive aspects and really focus on those future skills so our rangatahi are positioned to really lead us," he says.

Dr Eruera Tarena

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