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Maori development through capacity building

I am especially heartened by the opportunity to focus on development and, therefore, capability rather than deficiencies, said Hon. Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Mäori Affairs, in opening her lecture to a class of Masters students at Waikato University today.

The Minister’s lecture was on closing the gaps for Mäori and the capacity building policy of the Government.

"In recent times, we have become obsessive about the needs our people have, all too often at the expense of their dreams and aspirations. Yet, for me, development is about finding ways to fulfil dreams.

"People are the most significant resource we have, and the socio-economic gaps between Mäori and non-Mäori are unsustainable. Therefore, we need to address the socio-economic disparities they endure. Hence our Closing the Gaps policy.

"For Mäori, the main point of the closing the gaps policy is to ensure Mäori are not prevented from having the best possible chance to lead, manage and control their own development. It also suggests, to me, that departments will have to be more rigorous in the development and implementation of their strategies, policies, programmes and services in terms of whether they work well for Mäori.

"Closing the Gaps does signal, however, how much of the Government’s authority, expertise and resources need to be brought to bear to make a substantial difference to socio-economic outcomes for Mäori. I am confident the Budget will show the Government’s commitment to closing the gaps in social and economic development between Mäori and Pakeha.

"Mäori want to manage and control their own development, and they should be supported by the Government to do so. Therefore, we have also developed a Capacity Building policy.

"Capacity-building focuses on enhancing capabilities so Mäori become the managers and controllers of their own development.

"The resources for the strategy would also be on top of current government contracts for iwi and urban Maori organisations to deliver social services.

"It’s a huge task. It’s a mammoth task but its necessary if we are going to ‘make a difference’," Hon Tariana Turia said this morning.

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