Will Shane ever get the nephs off the couch?

One of the objectives of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is to reduce the number of young unemployed Maori, particularly in the Far North. Straight away, I disagree with this policy. The fund should be used to get young, unemployed people into work, whatever their ethnicity.

There are lots of reasons, though, why this policy probably will not have much effect, particularly when it comes to Maori. One of those reasons is because the government has just made it easier for people on benefits to stay on benefits, without sanctions or reprisals. There is simply no incentive from a financial perspective for the nephs to get off the couch at all.

Then there is the other reason. Colonisation. Yes, you read that right. quote.

Jones announced $60m for regional employment hubs ? centres that bring together government services for employers and employees, all from the PGF coffers.

Alongside the hubs are investments in two existing programmes, $13.2m for He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) and $8.8m for the Pacific Employment Support Service, then another $20m for digital connectivity in rural areas and maraes. end quote.

A focus on infrastructure for Maori. What about planting all those trees, Shane?

Willie Jackson had a few words to say on the subject too. quote.

Jackson said all M?ori had a neph on the couch. (NEETs are actually slightly more likely to be women than men.)

He also touched on the structural issues that might explain that, although mostly as a joke.

“I’ve got some wonderful nephews. One of them had a good explanation for why he wasn’t getting off the couch: because the P?keh? stole our land and the colonisation and he’d rather watch the Blues play the Chiefs.”

Speaking to media soon after his speech, Jackson was more serious, saying the harm of colonialism was very real ? but not an excuse.

“Did colonisation play a part in terms of where M?ori are today in terms of the socio-economic conditions? Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. But that’s not an excuse for M?ori not to do anything, not to get involved, not to get off the couch.” end quote.

But it is an excuse. It is the perfect excuse. So long as Maori can blame the white man for their predicament, there is no need and no incentive to do anything for themselves. For those that buy into the colonisation trap, it is the excuse they need to live off welfare for the whole of their lives. quote.

There was a dearth of M?ori-targeted funding in the last Budget ? likely thanks to NZ First leader Winston Peters, who has called M?ori-targeted funding “creeping apartheid” in the past. Instead, the Government said universal boosts to schemes such as Working For Families would actually benefit M?ori more.

But Jackson signalled an end to this stance in the next Budget and the return of money specifically aimed at M?ori, pointing out on Sunday that $100m of NZ First’s own PGF was allocated to M?ori land development.

Stuff end quote.

So Maori have the general benefit of increased WFF payments, no sanctions for collecting the dole, and they are also going to have lots of government money thrown at them in targeted allocations from the PGF? Wow.

But it will all be money down the drain if, like the start of the tree planting project, there is no planned and co-ordinated programme designed to get the projects off the ground in the first place. The fund will just end up paying for trees to be mulched while the ground lays bare and barren because nobody thought about first preparing it for planting.

Throwing money around without a planned and co-ordinated programme of how the money is to be spent and accounted for is a disaster waiting to happen. Unless Shane Jones and Willie Jackson have got this in hand, the money will be completely wasted and the nephs will be on the couch for a long time yet.