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Working paper

Indicators of inequality for Māori and Pacific people

28 Aug 2014

Abstract: This study investigates a number of inequality indicators in New Zealand. The research examines the current gaps in the indicators between the European population, and Māori and Pacific people. The study also undertakes a comparison of the changes in the gaps over a period approximating 10 years for each of the indicators. A total of 21 indicators are investigated in this study, incorporating measures of health; knowledge and skills; employment; standards of living; cultural identity; and social connectedness.

The aim of this research is to assess the extent to which indicators suggest that the inequality gap is increasing or decreasing between European and Māori, and European and Pacific people in New Zealand. In general, all ethnic group measurements are moving in the same direction, that is, most ethnic groups are improving or not improving for a specific measure. However, increases are visible in gaps for the majority of the indicators examined in this article, that is, the indicators suggest greater inequality has resulted over the 10-year period for both Māori and Pacific people.

Of the 21 indicators assessed in this study, eight (38 per cent) show improvements in the form of a decreasing gap between European and Māori, although not all of these improvements are significant. Less positive results are visible in 12 indicators (57 per cent), which produce increasing gaps between European and Māori. One indicator is largely unchanged. Not all indicators are available for Pacific people, but of the indicators measured, five (29 per cent) showed an improvement in the form of closing gaps between the European population and Pacific people. Again not all of the decreases in gaps are significant. Worsening differences were found in 11 (65 per cent) of the indicators measuring inequality between the European population and Pacific people. Similarly to the Māori population, one indicator remained unchanged.

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