Māori business leaders promote economic potential of settlement assets

By Ripeka Timutimu

A Taranaki Whanui leader says treaty settlement assets should be used to grow economic power, as opposed to providing social services for their people.

Neville Baker was part of a select group of Wellington Māori who were privy to a special post-budget breakfast with Finance Minister, Bill English.

It was a who's who of the Maori Business World in Wellington, with the Māori party showing what sitting at the table can get you.

It was a relationship hard to miss, with Minister English and Minister Sharples selling their budget gains to all those that would listen.

Neville says that some of his people are still at the bottom of the heap, and believes this years budget didn't quite hit the mark.

Neville has recently leased prime Wellington property, Shelly Bay to a developer in the hopes of growing their economic asset base. However he says if the government isn't there to back iwi, it will be all for nothing.

No doubt Neville and other keen Māori business people will keep a close eye on the elections in September, so they know where they stand in the coming years.