Feedback sought on improving Māori access to capital

Te Pūtea Matua – the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is seeking feedback on its issues paper Improving Māori Access to Capital.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr said that helping to uncover barriers for Māori business was a key step in unlocking the potential of the New Zealand economy.

“In addition to enabling economic prosperity and wellbeing for all New Zealanders, our mandate requires us to consider where we can encourage new investment and financial innovation.”

The aim is to raise the productive potential of the economy, and to encourage the allocation of financial resources in a way that maximises sustainable long-term economic growth.

“The Māori economy is one such area of productive potential, for tangata whenua and Māori business and for the economy as a whole.”

“There are compelling reasons to design a comprehensive pathway towards a better financial system for all New Zealanders,” Mr Orr said. “Putting greater focus on these issues may encourage everyone involved to strive for better outcomes, with no one worse off.”

The issues paper outlines some of the factors that may act as barriers between Māori and specific forms of capital in the financial system, and identifies potential pathways for access.

“The unique nature of some Māori economic activity puts tangata whenua at risk of missing the full benefits of the financial system and carrying unrewarded risk and cost,” Mr Orr said.

“Negative outcomes could include rising exclusion, inequality, and the degradation of general wellbeing while we’re also missing out on the positive aspects of growing Māori business for the good of all.”

A multi-agency steering group has been overseeing this work, which was co-sponsored by The Treasury Te Tai Ōhanga Secretary Dr Caralee McLiesh alongside the Reserve Bank. Contributing agencies included Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), Te Tumu Paeroa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

“We also acknowledge and thank the many individuals, businesses, firms, banks and other lending institutions who have taken the time to provide their rich insights and experiences to inform this work,” Mr Orr said.

The Reserve Bank aimed to use its position at the heart of the financial system to draw together the research and insights on hand to create potential solutions.

“It’s then up to all of us – the private sector, iwi Māori, business and communities and a broad range of government organisations – to feed into this work and explore the best options to improve access to capital for Māori. When we can do that, Māori business will thrive and that is good for everyone.”

A six-week consultation period on the issues paper will start on 9 August 2022.

Alongside the issues paper an analytical note, Ethnic variations in firm financing, helped inform some of the findings. It is anticipated a final report will be shared at the conclusion of consultation and work with stakeholders.

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