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New Chief Executive, New Phase

The Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon Parekura Horomia, said today's (Monday 12 February) powhiri to the new chief executive of Te Puni Kokiri, Mr Leith Comer, marked a new phase for the agency.

Mr Horomia said he has already begun strategic planning with Mr Comer and he looked forward to working with the new chief executive to advance the social and economic outcomes of Maori people.

"This government is committed to ensuring Maori people can contribute equally to New Zealand society. Maori communities know their issues and their solutions. It is a challenge for Te Puni Kokiri and all government agencies to ensure that resources are used effectively to inform and empower Maori communities so they can lead their own development."

Mr Horomia said 2001 is an important year for Maori Affairs. He also said it is important to differentiate between social and economic development needs when working towards building the capacity of Maori communities. The Minister said fisheries, treaty settlements, broadcasting and Reo Maori are some of the specific issues that he wants to see addressed this year.

"It is important that we understand the practice of inclusiveness, both about Maori people and other partners who can move things forward – the community, businesses, local and central government. Serious and long-term progress can only be made when all of these groups are working together."

Mr Horomia said Te Puni Kokiri has very experienced and committed staff and he is confident that they, under the leadership of Mr Comer, will work with Maori communities to provide the best advice possible to Ministers and other government agencies.

(Please note: Te Puni Kokiri is also known as the Ministry of Maori Development)

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