While many Māori are doing well in education and the labour market, a disparity in unemployment rates and benefit receipt persists. Māori make up 36% of all working-age people receiving a benefit as the primary recipient. While other social and economic factors play a role, the failures of the welfare system disproportionately affect Māori.
Achieving a benefit system that better promotes wellbeing will make a greater difference to Māori, and reducing the inadequacies of the current system will also address child and family poverty among Māori.
The Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommends an approach that provides a more realistic liveable income so individuals and whānau can live a more dignified life and participate more fully in their school, community and cultural lives. Given the youthfulness of the Māori population and the higher proportion of Māori in receipt of a main benefit, a dedicated case manager service would better help young people and those receiving a main benefit into part-time or full-time work by providing higher quality learning and employment opportunities that are more responsive for Māori during these transitions.