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Maharey on the Closing the Gaps

27 September 2000 Media Statement

Maharey on the Closing the Gaps

Government policies are closing the gaps for all disadvantaged New Zealanders, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Responding to claims by ACT Leader Richard Prebble that the Government should abandon policies targeted to Maori, Mr Maharey said that Labour and the Alliance were actively targeting disadvantage wherever it was apparent.

"Closing social and economic gaps is the crusade which this Government promised New Zealanders we would undertake.

"Ensuring that disadvantaged New Zealanders get a real chance to improve their circumstances is at the heart of our programme. Examples include our changes to make tertiary education more affordable, improved access to health care and the reversal of National's cuts to superannuation.

"We also recognise that there are some groups in the population – including Mäori and Pacific peoples – where disadvantage is particularly concentrated. That is why we have specifically developed a Closing the Gaps strategy to target policies directly at these communities.

"All New Zealanders want to get access to better health care, employment and quality education. That is what this Government is delivering.

"Those programmes targeted to Mäori are designed to remove the barriers which have seen Mäori and Pacific people more disadvantaged than most. Closing the gaps will be good for the future of the country," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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