Indigenous | Finance

Labour’s proposal to integrate financial literacy in schools an opportunity for Māori

A leading Māori economist says Labour’s just-announced policy to have announced schools teach students financial basics if it’s re-elected in October is a good idea and that a Maōri lens can be applied to it..

The policy means every high school student would have some basic knowledge of saving, budgeting, banking and borrowing.

“I’m pretty keen to see more financial literacy in schools and more of our kids coming through with a good understanding of budgeting, debt savings, investments, and also how to look after a household, how to look after a business,” Massey University economics professor Matt Roskruge (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Tama) says.

Financial skills for Māori are especially important, he says Many will earn less through their working lives than non-Māori and save less for retirement.

“They’re transferring less wealth on to their tamariki, and it is something that we need to start to think about, that intergenerational transfer of wealth, and whether there is anything we can do like financial literacy.”

Roskruge believes a Māori lens can also be applied to this, as well as Māori business expertise.

“The business community itself is huge, and there’s a big group of Māori business people, entrepreneurs, accountants, and lawyers. They have amazing financial knowledge, and I think if we can try and work with this group, get more of these leaders or influencing people into schools around our kids, so they can see the value of financial literacy, the value of looking after your money, making sure you’re picking a career that has good earning potential.”