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Anae's Comments Sheer Snobbery

3 August 2000. Media Statement

Anae's Comments Sheer Snobbery

Labour MP for Manurewa, Hon. George Hawkins is concerned that National List MP Arthur Anae is drumming down the Otara community's sense of esteem.

Arthur Anae criticised the Government's decision to change school zoning laws, saying "children from poor areas [would be] forced to go to poorer schools".

"Arthur Anae's comments are nothing short of sheer snobbery," George Hawkins said.

"Take this comment from his recent press statement: '… the reality of Labour's regime. If you come from Otara your kids go to school in Otara'."

Arthur Anae goes on to say 'if you're from a poor suburb your chances of getting a top quality education just got slimmer'.

"Arthur Anae makes a habit of lording it over people from low socio-economic areas. I say he needs to work towards empowering communities such as Otara instead of bagging the place," George Hawkins said.

George Hawkins said: "My experience of Otara schools is of progressive positivity. The teachers and students of such schools beam with smiles and self-respect. Especially when one takes an interest in what's happening in their part of the world.

"National's education policies attempted to take high academic achievers from low decile schools to prop up the academic records of so called 'elite' schools. National's tight fisted old boys style of politics eroded opportunity for low decile schools," George Hawkins said.

In contrast, this Labour/Alliance Government has invested in providing opportunity for our children, irrespective of where they come from. Manurewa's centrally-resourced schools received $314,290.56 in March 2000 to offset monies that the past government had put aside solely for bulk funded schools. Manurewa schools also received a further $1,775,122 for property works programmes and an additional $435,000 for health and safety projects.

"In short, this Government is turning around the expansive gap that Arthur Anae and his National Party colleagues created with their ideologically driven, and socially experimental, education policies.

"Arthur Anae once claimed to be the voice of Pacific Islands people within the National Party.

"If that's so, where was his voice when his leader Jenny Shipley insulted every Pacific Islander and Maori with her claim that 'Pacific Island people are like Maori because they cause trouble and climb through the windows of New Zealanders at night'.

"If that's the tone of National's public comments about our communities, what on earth do they say in private?

"If Arthur Anae is serious about doing something positive for Otara and its peoples, then he could do much by speaking out against deeply disturbing and offensive ingrained prejudice that expresses from within his party of choice," George Hawkins said.

ENDS

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