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Government Deals Triple Blow To Maori

4 March 2002

"Government has dealt Maori a triple blow during the past week," says Georgina te Heuheu, National's Maori Affairs spokesperson.

"The first blow came last week when it became obvious that the Government's proposed moratorium on aquaculture has cut off Maori aspirations for self-sufficiency at the knees.

"Not only has this cost Maori interests millions of dollars in lost economic opportunities, but it has also dealt a serious blow to those Maori who are looking to break the cycle of dependency and create a sustainable economic base and jobs for their people," she says.

Mrs te Heuheu says news this week that Maori organisations have been side-lined in the funding decisions of Industry New Zealand represents another blow to Maori.

"The Government is big on talk about helping Maori aspirations of being economically self-sufficient, but the reality is a very different thing when you look at the figures. News that Maori businesses received only 1.82 per cent of the $14 million so far allocated by Industry New Zealand is devastating for Maori."

Mrs te Heuheu says the final blow came with today's admission by Government that funding pressures are forcing it to put some Treaty negotiations on the back burner.

Mrs te Heuheu says that the Treaty Settlement process is now at grave risk of collapse.

"Not only is this a serious blow to Maori economic self-sufficiency, but also to New Zealanders desire to progress the Treaty settlement process as we enter the new millennium. It's obvious that the Government has neither the inclination, nor the experience to move Treaty settlements forward.

"These three blows are sure to shake loose Maori support for this Government, which is failing Maori badly," Mrs te Heuheu concluded

Ends

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