May 12, 2020
Long term jobseekers pushed down queue
The chair of Mangere’s Te Puea Marae fears Māori unemployed could get pushed to the back of the dole queue as people laid off because of COVID-19 get rehired first.
Hurimoana Dennis says the marae continued to address homelessness through the lockdown, keeping contact with the 270 whānau it has placed in permanent housing over the past couple of years and continuing to assess and manage new cases.
He says Māori on the margins are trying to navigate a system which hasn’t worked for them, and where then needs can easily be overlooked as thousands of people sign on with Work and Income.
“The new lot that have just joined the unemployment line are more attractive to potential employers so they will be picked up first. This pushes our cohort further down the line. I can see that happening quite easily,” Mr Dennis says.
Hurimoana Dennis says the COVID-19 crisis is a chance to do things differently, such as putting Work and Income staff out with Māori providers so they can get close to their clientele.
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