Policy | Community Economic Development & Small Business

Mana is focused on lifting the poor, the powerless and dispossessed out of poverty and unemployment and into fulfilling lives and livelihoods as quickly as possible.

A key part of achieving this is through job creation initiatives in the state and community sectors, the development of grassroots tangata whenua and community enterprise initiatives, and through providing greater support for low income people seeking to enter self employment, small business and cooperative ventures.

Our economic vision is centred on the sustainability of Papatuanuku and on generating wellbeing for current and future generations.  The triple crises of climate change, peak oil, and food security call for policy solutions that will increase our independence from an oil-based economy and improve our ability to provide for ourselves

Within this context there are many and new opportunities for Maori, community and small businesses in the sustainable production of goods and services such as food, transport,  energy, creative arts and design, broadcasting, the revitalisation and promotion of te reo Maori, and socially and environmentally nurturing projects.  However, such ventures often need substantial backing from government, local government and intermediary iwi and community agencies if they are to get started, and remain viable.

Mana will:

Develop an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable economic development programme which encompasses national and regional development strategies.

Restore a community economic development function to Government, lost when the Community Employment Group was disbanded in 2005.

Improve access to grants and loan funding and facilitate an enabling legal environment for the development of community enterprises; consumer, producer, worker and housing cooperatives; ethical, community-run finance and banking initiatives; and alternative barter and currency schemes.

Ensure Government backing for the establishment of a community owned banking network, either as a new entity or as a non-profit stand alone part of Kiwibank, with functions including:

  • Assisting with housing loans for papakainga and other tangata whenua and community based social housing initiatives.
  • Providing capital for the development of other community enterprises which support job creation, and the meeting of social, cultural and environmental needs.
  • Enabling genuine community ownership through democratically elected, accountable shareholder directors.


Establish a Small Business Development Network through which whanau and individuals wanting to develop small businesses can attend business development courses, receive assistance in putting together viable business plans, receive ongoing mentoring and receive assistance with applications to a small business start up fund administered through the Network.

Restore much wider access to the Enterprise Allowance subsidy provided through Work & Income, and ensure that applicants for  the Allowance have access to quality support through those roopu which are part of the Small Business Development Network.

MANA will invest in:

  • Organic food production including hua parakore foods and extend current funding for the establishment of maara kai by whanau, marae and communities.
  • Development of a land transition plan which will include regulation of farming practices to reduce environmental damage, improve the quality of waterways, increase localised food self-sufficiency and reduce dependency on export agricultural production.
  • Development of a comprehensive public transport system in cities, towns, and rural areas.
  • Development of widespread, small scale sustainable energy generation such as solar, wind and micro-hydro by households and communities.
  • Development of clean energy systems.
  • The regeneration of native forests.
  • Development of a national biofuels programme for land, including Maori land that is unsuitable for growing food.

Maori businesses will be supported through much greater investment in:

  • Building sustainable Maori businesses through both start-up and bridging funding for 3-5 years, and through the provision of quality business and financial mentoring.
  • National Maori business coordination and infrastructure development.
  • Development (and possible broader application) of the Toi Iho Maori Trademark of Quality and Authenticity.

Overall framework for enterprise & economic development – Mana supports:

  • Changing the legal framework under which all businesses operate to make sustainability and ethics paramount in business decision making.
  • Developing procurement policies that favour local products and services for government, local government and state owned enterprises.
  • The withdrawal of New Zealand from free trade agreements that favour multinationals over local production or prevent support for locally owned businesses.
  • Establishing a fund to assist small businesses become medium or larger businesses providing they are kept in New Zealand ownership and meet ethical and environmental sustainability standards.