April 07, 2020
Iwi sensitivities to be tested in pandemic recovery
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says changes are needed to the Resource Management Act and the Public Works Act to get the economy moving again after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cabinet is looking at what happens after the lockdown, including identifying the sort of large projects that will absorb some of the labour displaced by the decline in businesses like tourism and forestry.
Mr Jones says while some iwi leaders may be concerned about whether infrastructure projects could compromise their environmental rights or the way the Public Works Act has been used in the past to take land, there is a trade-off.
“If we get exceedingly bad unemployment outcomes, 300,000 or 400,000, then disproportionately it’s going to be our own people, so my message to landowners, hapū and iwi is park up your ideological opposition to economic large scale uber-projects. They are going to be necessary to train and absorb the growing lines of Māori unemployed,” he says.
Shane Jones says employers will no longer be able to use foreign workers or migrants to cover labour shortages, and there needs to be planning and investment to ensure Māori get the training needed to fill many of those jobs.
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