The Reserve Bank and The Treasury are looking into why Māori small and medium businesses have trouble accessing funds to grow, which limits their potential.
Economic consultancy BERL’s Te Ōhanga Māori 2018 report on the Māori economy found access to capital, or the ability to leverage existing assets, was a barrier for Māori.
“I get told that the world is awash with capital, it’s one of the things that people love to say to you, it’s usually from very large private equity firms,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson told a Te Ōhanga Māori event in Wellington on Thursday.
“It’s true, but it doesn’t filter to small and medium enterprises, it doesn’t filter to indigenous businesses, it doesn’t filter to the people who are taking a shot at an entrepreneurial idea.”
The project aims to identify the barriers to accessing capital, and The Reserve Bank will then work with trading banks to improve access, Robertson said.
“I know that among iwi there is a frustration with our banking system and a desire to express a little bit of tino rangatiratanga there as well and that may well be where things end up one day,” Robertson said.
“But regardless, we need the whole banking system to be operating in such a way that it is supporting the growth engine of our economy and in this case that growth engine is both small and medium enterprises and the Māori economy.”
Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr said Te Ao Māori was incredibly important for the central bank and covered every aspect of its work.
“There are massive gaps and that’s where Te Pūtea Matua, The Reserve Bank, can play a significant role, particularly in making sure that everyone has access to the capital to invest, to grow, and to prosper on a sustainable basis,” he said.
The work is due to be completed in February next year.