8 Feb 2018

Govt to target Māori unemployment rates - Jackson

12:43 pm on 8 February 2018

The falling unemployment rate is tracking in the right direction but the percentage of Māori and youth out of work is still too high, Minister of Employment Willie Jackson says.

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Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

The unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in the December quarter, down from 4.6 percent in the previous period - the lowest rate since 2008.

Mr Jackson said while Māori unemployment fell more than 20 percent last year, it was still double the national average - which was not acceptable.

"If you think that everything is hunky dory, it's not," he said.

He said the previous National-led government failed to invest in training, which meant there were huge skill shortages in some areas and many people were under-employed.

Mr Jackson said Māori would benefit from government investment in families, health and housing, but he was also negotiating targeted initiatives.

"There's a dual strategy where there will be specific funding that Minister of Finance has committed to support - I've been talking to him over the last couple of days," he said.