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The Government has put forward $200 million to help New Zealand exporters currently trading internationally or intending to trade internationally, as part of its COVID-19 response.

One in every four jobs in New Zealand is derived from international trade. This allocation is welcome news for Māori businesses who could expect on a straight per capita basis to see around $33 million of support over four years.

Chris Karamea Insley, the Chair of Te Taumata, says that is a fair and reasonable expectation, although it is unlikely how it will play out, with funding delivered through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).

“We know most Māori organisations are ineligible to receive NZTE support because they don’t currently meet the criteria to export – which requires very large balance sheets and employing more than 100 staff.”

“This means almost all Māori trusts, incorporations and new start-ups don’t get a look in for government support to trade internationally,” says Mr Insley.

This needs to change, he says, because it is these organisations – especially the trusts and incorporations ­– who hold the lion’s share of Māori assets, and in particular land assets for farming, horticulture and forestry, as well as new industries like Mānuka and honey derivatives, and aquaculture.

“If the government criteria doesn’t change, it is unlikely Māori businesses will receive anywhere near the support afforded to others. They will be lucky to get even half a percent ($1 million) of the $200 million government announcement.”

Have your say:

Chris Karamea Insley encourages Māori businesses to come together and request a change to NZTE’s export support criteria.

“Anei whānau, NZTE are consulting now, E tu (stand up) and call NZTE today and tell them what support you need to help your export trade plans.”

Here are the people you can call to discuss these issues with:

Tina Wilson, director of Māori business at NZTE

Dylan Lawrence, General Manager of Investment at NZTE

Joshua Hitchcock, Transformation Advisor, Māori business at NZTE

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