Category Archives: Labour Studies

The Maori in the Labour Force

Labour Employment Work in New Zealand, 1994, p.206-213.

Keywords: Labour Studies; Maori;

Executive Summary

* The Maori is in an inferior position in the labour force compared to the non-Maori.

* The Maori are more likely to be Not-in-the-Labour Force and more likely to be unemployed.

* When these two effects are combined together the Maori unemployment rate is not the 2.7 times the non-Maori rate that the official definitions showed in 1991, but 3.9 for males and 4.5 times for females.

* The analysis confirms that when the Maori is employed, they are more likely to be in the secondary part of the labour market, that is with low quality jobs in terms of renumeration, working conditions, career opportunities, and job security.

* Crucial for understanding the labour market is the flux between the unemployed, those not-in-the-labour market, and those in secondary employment. This churning means there is a dynamic process going on.

* Because of the higher incidence of not-in-the-labour force, and in secondary employment it is unwise to focus on Maori unemployment. At issue is the high proportion of the Maori in the secondary labour market in comparison with the non-Maori. Some policies merely shift people between the different parts of the secondary labour market.

* Econometric work suggests that only one third of the difference between Maori and non-Maori employment participation can be explained by the personal characteristics measured in the population census.

* The report acknowledges there may be other personal characteristics not measured, which also have an influence.

* However it seems likely that the most important determinants of the differences are social variables, summarized in the concept of “maoriness”. A possible practical example is that it is known that the most important source of job recruitment involves family and friends. The Maori is handicapped in doing this because of their lower employment rates, but also possibly because the Maori network is not as geared as the non-Maori family to carry out this task.


Address to the 1994 National Biennial Conference of the New Zealand Engineering Union, 13-15 May, Christchurch.   Keywords: Growth & Innovation; Labour Studies;   Today I want to discuss economic growth strategies, by looking at the vision which underpins the Employment Contracts Act (ECA), and the alternative. One of the central tenants of a good…
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Waist Deep in the Big Muddy?

Listener 25 February, 1991

Keywords: Growth & Innovation; Labour Studies; Macroeconomics & Money; Social Policy;

A popular folk song on US campuses in the late 1960s was Pete Seeger’s “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy”. It described how one night an army platoon attempted to ford a swamp-river. The commander said he knew where he was going. It was just a matter of pushing on. Some of his troops were less certain, but were exhorted with such phrases as “don’t be a nervous nellie” and just show a little determination”.

Introduction :Unemployment and Its Consequences

This is an introduction to a symposium on Unemployment in New Zealand.  “New Zealand Journal of Industrial relations”, Vol 7, No @, August 1982, p.101-106.*   Keywords: Labour Studies;   Research on unemployment in New Zealand is not as widespread as in most affluent economies, no doubt partly reflecting that for the post-war period up…
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