Māori enterprises are in line for greater opportunities to do business with government agencies under an initiative to spread the benefits of the economic recovery.
The Ministers for Māori Development and Economic and Regional Development have announced a new target to encourage public service agencies to cast the net wider when awarding contracts.
“The government spends $42 billion a year on procurement of goods and services. We are looking for more ways to use this buying power to accelerate the economic recovery for Māori businesses,” said Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson.
“This approach will support Māori businesses to participate in our economic recovery as we build back better.
“The new five percent target for public service contracts for Māori businesses is an important step towards a more inclusive and prosperous society. It honours a Labour Election Manifesto commitment to better support whānau Māori enterprise.
“Small and medium businesses face significant challenges as a result of COVID-19. That is exactly why targeting Māori businesses and jobs is a priority for the new government.
“The target will encourage agencies to use their buying power to create social and economic value.
“Indigenous procurement is already successful internationally. In Australia the targets resulted in contracts with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses increasing from $6 million to almost $2 billion in just four years,” Mr Jackson says.
“The Government moved quickly at the start of the pandemic to provide economic stimulus and support to small businesses through direct financial assistance such as the wage subsidy and interest-free loans,” Stuart Nash says.
“This new target for government procurement will further improve cash flow to Māori businesses. It also helps diversify the customer base for Māori businesses and build more resilience into Māori economic activity.
“By accessing more of the government’s annual procurement spend, Māori business owners and staff will benefit from greater training and employment opportunities, economic resilience and business growth.
“Māori businesses have a strong presence in the primary sector and tourism, in accommodation and the food industry, the retail sector and in the trades. This policy has the potential to further assist with kick-starting of economic activity into other sectors,” Mr Nash said.