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Labour Panics Over Closing the Gaps Policy


Labour Panics Over Closing the Gaps Policy

Tuesday 3rd Oct 2000
Dr Muriel Newman
Media Release -- Social Welfare

Labour poll results are behind the blatantly transparent attempt by Social Services Minister, Steve Maharey, to re-launch the GovernmentÆs Maori/ Pacific Island æClosing the GapsÆ policy, ACT Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman, said today.

During question time today, the Minister attempted to reposition the strategy as closing the gaps between rich and poor, not Maori/Pacific Islanders and the rest.

ôFor two weeks after I tabled the Chapple report on æMaori socio-economic disparityÆ, Mr Maharey argued with seeming abandonment, firstly that the report had been around for years, secondly that it did not conflict with Government policy, to finally claiming that LabourÆs programmes were not race-based after all, but targeted to the disadvantaged,ö Dr Newman said.

ôThe fact is that Government policy has been explicitly based on closing the gaps between Maori and Pacific Islanders, and other New Zealanders.

ôBut the emerging public view is that racially based policies are unfair and wrong. Government strategies that favour Maori and Pacific Islanders, excluding disadvantaged people of other ethnic backgrounds, have now been seen to seriously damage, and undermine the Government,ö Dr Newman said.

ôThe MinisterÆs feeble attempt today to repackage the Maori/Pacific Island closing the gaps strategy as a rich/poor strategy, as a result of the Chapple report, shows how flawed the assumptions underpinning the governmentÆs key political and economic strategy were.

ôIt further highlights the lack of a robust analysis to underpin the spending on over $200 million of taxpayers money. This move has seriously damaged the credibility of this Labour-Alliance Government, and now it is in panic modeö, Dr Newman said.

ENDS.

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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