“Over recent years, the proportion of young people in New Zealand who are not engaged in employment, education, training or caregiving (NEET) has been monitored as an indicator of youth engagement in training and employment. It serves as a good alternative to the traditional labour force participation rate, which is less relevant for youth given the high numbers of youth out of the labour force because they are at school or in tertiary study. Those youth who are categorised as NEET are disengaged from both formal learning and work, and as such, are considered to be missing the opportunity to develop their potential at an age that heavily influences future outcomes. While the NEET measure does not count young people involved in other activities that could contribute to their well-being, or are ‘in between’ activities for a short period of time (for example, just returned from or about to leave for overseas, or on holiday from work or study), it is still a particularly useful indicator of youth disengagement.” 8
As at March 2011, in the 15-19 years age group, just under one in ten (9.3%) of males were NEET, compared with 7.6% of females. The school leaving age is now 16. Among those aged 20–24, 12.3% of men and 10.4% of young women were NEET. Young MÄori aged 15–24 have the highest NEET rates, at 17%, followed by Pacific youth at 14.5% and European youth at 8.2%.