Report explains why New Zealand's Māori are better off than Australia's Aboriginals

  • 02/12/2018

New Zealand's Māori have better outcomes than Australia's Aboriginal people because our Government treats its indigenous people better, according to a report.

The Economist states Aboriginal people living in Australia face a decade-wide gap in life expectancy, high rates of incarceration and suicide, and their children are 10 times more likely to be in state care.

Aboriginal people make up 3 percent of the general population of Australia, but a whopping 25 percent of the prison population.

Māori in New Zealand face similar problems, but generally live longer and healthier lives than the indigenous population in Australia.

According to The Economist, incarceration rates are very high, and more than half of New Zealand inmates are Māori, but Māori are still less likely to be sent to prison than their Aboriginal counterparts.

The report put the difference down to colonial history, settlers reaching New Zealand much later than Australia, and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Settlers did widely flout the treaty, but The Economist pointed out the Waitangi Tribunal was set up in 1975 to address historical wrongs.

It reports 87 agreements have been struck between tribes and the state over the past 30 years, and such settlements have contributed to a growing Māori economy.

Aboriginal people have been trying to find a voice in public affairs, and have recently campaigned for amendments to the Australian constitution to ensure a voice for the First Nations people, as they are increasingly known.

But Australia's current conservative-led coalition government rejected their idea for a national representative body.

Conversely, The Economist pointed out New Zealand's Parliament has reserved Māori seats, and te reo Māori is regularly spoken in the chamber.