Tangata whenua are being encouraged to step up and consider an employment plan similar to one already under way in Australia, which is getting Aboriginal people into work.
The Australian Employment Covenant - a private-sector initiative - and some businesses have made a vow to employ indigenous Australians in areas such as mining and construction, and the Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs in New Zealand is keen to see something similar here.
A member of the taskforce, Kawerau mayor Malcolm Campbell, is praising the model because it means, he says, that big businesses are working with the indigenous people of Australia. He says he suspects the strategy allows companies to use the land, while creating work for the tangata whenua there.
Mr Campbell says the plan should be adopted in New Zealand because many big businesses are owned by iwi, and it's time for iwi step up and consider it.