July 07, 2021
Procurement schemes a game changer for Maori economy
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A manager with Auckland Council’s Southern Initiative says supplier diversity schemes will be a game-changer for the Māori economy.
The Government’s new Māori and Pasifika procurement scheme, Te Amotai, is coming under fire from Opposition parties who say contracts should go to whoever will do the best job for the best price, regardless of the ethnicity of the company.
But Tania Pouwhare says minority procurement schemes started almost 60 years ago in the United States because of the Civil Rights movement, and have recently been successfully implemented across the Tasman for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island firms.
All the ingredients are here for success, with 72 per cent of the Māori asset base in Tāmaki Makaurau being in small and medium enterprises.
"They're the backbone of our economy and we at the Southern Initiative knew instinctively they were the overlooked, undervalued change-makers hiding in plain sight. If we could more gasoline on that fire, it's going to spread quickly and we've shown that it has," Ms Pouwhare says.
The Southern Initiative has found Māori and Pacific Island businesses across the spectrum, from helicopter operators to moulded earplugs.
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