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Maori Must Take Control Own Positive Development

Maori Must Take Control Of Their Own Positive Development

ACT’s Maori Affairs Spokesman today rejected the Government’s ‘closing the gaps’ measures set out in the budget saying they simply tied Maori tighter to the ‘apron strings of nursemaid politicians’ rather than encouraging Maori families and communities to take charge of their own positive development.

Donna Awatere Huata dismissed ‘closing the gaps’ as a PR term for Labour re-paying Maori support at the ballot box.

Mrs Huata said there was nothing in the Budget to stop welfare dependency amongst Maori. “Welfare is an addiction that this government is feeding by constantly telling Maori ‘not to worry, we are not going to make you work’. ‘If you commit crime, we are not going to make you pay’. ‘If you goof off on the job, we will make sure you don’t lose your job’.” This attitude where government nursemaids Maori will continue to cripple families and individuals and strip them of their mana, dignity and ability to contribute,” she said.

“The recent closing the gaps report made it clear that if Maori are to succeed, the focus must be on the current Maori population aged 17 years and younger. Why is it then that the Government has gutted all of the initiatives in education that were in place and working to lift the success of Maori children in schools. Why is it that poor performing parenting and reading recovery programmes have been allowed to continue. Why is it that so little has gone into the preschool area to attract more Maori into preschool,” she said.

“They have scrapped national testing so we can’t monitor the education of Maori children. They have scrapped the TIE scheme that was giving Maori children the chance to attend the very best schools. They are scrapping bulk funding which has more benefits for Maori underachievers than any other group. They are re-introducing zoning to force Maori children into second rate schools because their parents can’t afford to buy a house in the popular zones,” said Mrs Huata.

“This government has emphasised “capacity building” for empowerment. But you have to wonder how strong this commitment is. Its hard to get empowered if you can’t read. And 75% of Maori unemployed have the bare minimum of reading skills. School for them was an abyss of despair and hopelessness. Yet in spite of Ministry of Education contracted research proving that systematic phonics that can get Maori children reading early, this government is still saying, there’s no need to change,” said Donna Awatere Huata.

ENDS

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