“The Government is creating further ethnic division with its procurement policy of requiring firms to favour ‘Māori businesses’ hitting the inboxes of firms that contract to Government up and down the country,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The policy is one for elite Māori, those who are in business. For working class New Zealanders of any background, nothing will change except they will live in a more bureaucratic world better suited to consultants and compliance officers.

“Firms up and down the country who contract to Government agencies from Kainga Ora to Councils to Defence have received emails saying that they will be awarding at least five per cent of contracts to ‘Māori Businesses.’ It is the implementation of a Cabinet Decision last December that is creating disquiet up and down the country as the practical reality of the Government’s ethno-state agenda is seen in action.

"The first thing contractors and sub-contractors are being asked to do by Government departments and those who contract to them is define themselves as a 'Māori Business,' or not.

“It is difficult to imagine how the Government could be more divisive, usually a Government asking people to register along racial lines would be unthinkable. That it is becoming normalised in New Zealand shows how much constitutional trouble we are in.

“The Government claims that a “Māori and Pasifika businesses” are more likely to take on more Māori people and pay them more, earlier. Kainga Ora states that “Māori and Pasifika businesses are more likely to employ staff from their own communities, many start those staff on higher wages and may also offer meaningful training and career progression…” The Government has provided no evidence for this claim, appearing to rely only on stereotypes.

“The problems with this scheme are multiple. It is inherently divisive. People will see a contract awarded because a competitor showed they ticked an ethnic box. It is so grotesque it is difficult to believe an elected New Zealand Government is taking us in such a direction.

“The definition of a ‘Māori business’ will never be properly pinned down, in the long run it will be just another bureaucratic hurdle that those with the right consultants will navigate. It will be a boon for prosperous Māori, those who already have businesses. Those Māori who are truly struggling with education, housing, and jobs will be no better off.

“The Government needs to stop dividing New Zealanders by race. No good will come of it.”