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'Colonisation' comments not government policy

30 August 2000 Media Statement

'Colonisation' comments not government policy

Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today that a speech yesterday by Tariana Turia in which she linked "colonisation" of Maori and family violence was a personal view that did not represent government policy.

"The government does not accept any such excuses for the high levels of child abuse that occur through New Zealand communities – Maori and non-Maori.

"Nor is it a government view that the effects on Maori as a result of colonial contact amounted to a holocaust. While the human consequences were dire, the government does not accept that they can be characterised in this way.

"The government is committed to addressing grievances and overcoming the appalling economic and social gaps that exist between Maori and Pacific peoples, and other New Zealanders.

"Our focus has to be on this important exercise on finding practical solutions to these disparities, rather than debating questionable theories as to how the problems arose in the first place.

"The Prime Minister will next week be giving Tariana Turia a reminder of her roles and responsibilities as a minister of the Crown.

"We need to work together to progress Closing the Gaps programmes, and avoid political squabbling which is potentially damaging and does nothing to progress race relations issues in New Zealand," Michael Cullen said.


ENDS



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