30 August 2000 Media Statement
Govt priority is improved opportunity for all
Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton is emphasising that the Government is committed to development of the economy to provide improved opportunities, more jobs and rising incomes for all New Zealanders.
"That is the most important thing we can do to close gaps in our society, regardless of anyone's view about the causes of them.
"Of course we need to acknowledge our past, since it helps to explain where we are now. We also need to address our current problems. But there are enormous successes to be proud of too. The most important thing that the Government can do is to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to become one of those successes.
"I don't have to agree with every comment that gets made to recognise that New Zealand has been incredibly lucky in the way we have worked through issues peacefully even when they have had the potential to divide Maori and Pakeha."
Jim Anderton is positive about race relations in New Zealand and he thinks other New Zealanders should be too.
"For everything that can be found to criticise in New Zealand's race relations, there is far more to praise. The challenge we all face is to praise the New Zealanders we are proud of – Maori and pakeha – each time we voice a criticism."