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Government must heed race warning

Friday 24 November 2000

Government must heed race warning

Helen Clark must listen to the Race Relations Conciliator's highly critical assessment of the Government's Closing the Gaps policy, National Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"I urge her to heed the Conciliator's warnings and acknowledge the damage that's been done. That would be the only way to get Closing the Gaps on a proper footing.

"The Race Relations Conciliator's Annual Report includes a ticking off over Closing the Gaps and the Government's handling of the policy.

"The Race Relations Office suggests the "policies are creating racial conflict" and states that "creating a division between Maori and other New Zealanders is not conducive to social stability".

"But it doesn't stop there. The Conciliator is worried about the Government's poor communication of the policy.

"Under National's attack this week we've seen the Closing the Gaps policy discredited even further. We have revealed that the Government's talk that it was expanding the policy to cover all New Zealand is just rhetoric.

"No-one seems to be any clearer about who will benefit from Closing the Gaps.

"The problems identified by the Race Relations Conciliator have not been rectified.

"There is major confusion and concern about what the Government is doing, the Government is not selling its policies well and its approach is still damaging race relations."


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