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Newman Dismisses Maharey Attack

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Muriel Newman has dismissed an attack on her by Social Services Minister Steve Maharey as a desperate attempt to avoid debate on the Government’s “flawed” closing the gaps policy.

The Chapple Report, written for the Ministry of Social Policy, highlighted the necessity to target disadvantaged and needy people from all ethnic groups, rather than risk wasting resources on broad, racially-based programmes.

“The Government is setting themselves up for failure on its closing the gaps strategy. The Chapple report clearly warns against broad-based programmes which result in poorly targeted resources, like fisheries settlements, other treaty settlements, and cheap access to the radio spectrum.,” Dr Newman said.

Steve Maharey today defended the Government’s closing the gaps policies, claiming that they were effectively in accord with the findings of the Chapple report.

“That is simply rubbish” Dr Newman said.

“If you read the Chapple Report it clearly shows the Government’s principal policies for closing the gaps, such as so-called capacity building, is flawed and likely to fail. Capacity building initiatives make up nearly half of the Government’s $243 million closing the gaps funding and may provide assistance to any whanau, hapu, iwi, Maori organisation or community.

Dr Newman said the sort of programmes we are already seeing under the guise of “capacity building” ran a very real risk of being “captured by Maori providers who are already well-off.”

“It should come as no surprise that the more well-off and organised Maori provider groups are already lining up to clip the funding ticket,” she said.

“Yet more for Maori providers and consultants who are already well-off is not going to do anything for the kids in Northland who haven’t got shoes, or those dropping out of school on the East Coast.

Dr Newman said Mr Maharey’s response to a “brave report,” was “weak and belated.”

“He must meet the challenge that the Chapple Report has presented and carry out a fundamental revision of the Government’s closing the gaps strategy, since many if not most of the Government’s programmes are broad based,” Dr Newman said.

“Further he should re-examine the findings of the “closing the gaps report,” published by Te Puni Kokiri, which has become the corner stone of the Government’s flagship policy.

“The TPK results based on averages indicate that the socio-economic disparities between Maori and non-Maori has been growing over the last decade. This is clearly at odds with the conclusions of the Chapple Report,” Dr Newman said.


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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