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It Is Time For Labour Maori Caucus To Speak Up

ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata today called on the Labour Maori Caucus to be outspoken on elitist and racist zoning restrictions that have retarded the education opportunities of a generation of young Maori.

"The Labour Maori Caucus was never told of the implications of zoning. At no stage was the Maori Affairs Minister and Associate Education Spokesman Parekura Horomia even briefed. Mr Horomia and the Labour Maori Caucus were not told that zoning would widen the gap between rich and poor, white and brown.

"Last year, one percent of Pakeha attended the poorest schools, compared to twenty percent of Maori and forty percent of Pacific Islanders. Anecdotal evidence shows the gap has widened even further this year.

"Chinese enrolments at Auckland Grammar are up by 77 percent, while Maori enrolments are down 36 percent. Principal John Morris predicted this last year, and warned that Grammar would become a white bastion.

"Labour has put prison bars around dysfunctional ghetto schools, and forced poor Maori and Pacific Island kids to attend them.

"I bet none of the children of the Labour Maori caucus attend those schools. Otherwise, those MPs would be knocking down Trevor Mallard's door, saying, "Take down these prison bars."

"Mr Mallard has finally admitted we have a teacher shortage crisis. What he's not admitting is that the problem is far worse for destitute schools because of zoning. The worst-off schools have five times more teacher vacancies than others. What teacher wants to work in a dysfunctional institute?

"Two years ago, Labour demanded we judge them on the success of Closing the Gaps. Today, I tell the Maori Caucus that unless they speak up now, they will be letting down every family they claim to represent," Mrs Awatere Huata said.


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