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Willie Jackson comments on Budget 2002

Media Statement
For Immediate Release 23 May 2002

Jackson comments on Budget 2002

Urgent resourcing of the Waitangi Tribunal would be a key feature of the Alliance budget allocation for Mäori, Mana Motuhake leader and Alliance deputy leader Willie Jackson said today.

High priority would also be given to a comprehensive Treaty education programme.

"Both these projects carry a relatively small price tag but are fundamental if we truly hope to make headway on the social and economic equality of Maori in New Zealand."

Mr Jackson endorsed the government's funding of Maori development in Budget 2002, particularly those programmes that gave Maori the means by which to develop and lead their own projects.

"But clearly the Government is still depending on mainstream agencies to deliver for Mäori when history has shown us that this hasn't worked.

"Whilst there are millions of dollars allocated to health, housing and employment for low income and at risk New Zealanders a question mark still remains over whether that money will actually reach Mäori," Mr Jackson said.

The two key areas where the Alliance would like to see an immediate improvement for Maori are in the Treaty settlement and Treaty education areas.

As a priority the Alliance would allocate an extra $5 million over the next five years to the Waitangi Tribunal that would go a long way to clearing the backlog of cases before the Tribunal.

The Alliance will also allocate $ 5 million to cover the cost of a broad based Treaty education programme.

"It's going to take more than money alone to close the social and economic gaps between Maori and other New Zealanders, and I believe we won't make progress on changing attitudes if we aren't investing money in education.

"Past experience has made it very clear that devolution doesn't work for us, but what has actually been done to progress Maori self-determination in a practical sense?"

"By contrast, the Alliance's health, education and social security policies are a careful balance between universal provision and community driven implementation, and will clearly identify where Maori can become the leaders of their own programmes."

For further comment: Willie Jackson, 025 356 799

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