Māori still worst off in Salvation Army report

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

According to the latest report by the Salvation Army, Māori are still the worst off. The Moving Targets Report 2016 was released today. Children and high Māori prison rates were some of the concerns highlighted. 

Child poverty is one of the big areas of concern in the latest State of Nation Report by the Salvation Army.

Māori spokesperson for the Salvation Army, Reina Harris says ”It's a concern that our children are still living in poverty and are homeless.”

According to the report, although the NZ economy has grown by over 12% in the last five years, the child poverty rate has changed little. Another issue highlighted was that the Māori imprisonment rate is seven times that of non-Māori. This is the highest ever, with a 2.7% increase in just one year.

“The high number of Māori prisoners and repeat offending are still a huge problem. Corrections spends a lot of money on addressing this, with few results,” says Harris.

The report was named Moving Targets because of conflicting statistics given by government offices.

Harris says, “The report is reflective of the changing targets that are coming from the government and its departments.”

Minister of Finance Bill English says "While we welcome any debate on how progress is measured, any implication that government departments are using data and targets in a less than transparent way is completely incorrect."

One of the recommendations of the Salvation Army is that the government establishes a Child Focussed Group.