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National To Increase Maori Participation

24 July 2002

National To Increase Maori Participation In An Enterprise Economy

The way forward for Maori will be defined by their full participation in New Zealand society, secured through economic independence and self-reliance, National's Maori Affairs spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu said today.

Announcing National's Maori Affairs policy at a forum of the Volcanic Interior Plateau Treaty claimants in Taupo, Mrs te Heuheu said that National would fully support the drive for Maori economic independence.

"Our policy is aimed at increasing Maori participation in an enterprise economy, and reinforcing the entrepreneurial spirit of Maori.

"The enterprise culture was once very much part of the lives of Maori communities, and was the answer to the culture of dependency which characterised the lives of some today.

"In recent years, Maori individuals and groups have shown that with an economy geared to growth and investment, they are as capable as any of exploiting opportunities to create wealth to secure their own, and their families' independence and prosperity.

"This is entirely consistent with Nationals' overall economic policy.

"Beginning in the 1990's with the transfer of assets following Treaty settlements, the better utilisation of those and existing assets afford by the Ture Whenua Maori Land Act 1993, improved participation by Maori in education and the workforce, and with increasing numbers entering the professions and the ranks of the self employed, a sound platform has been provided for future economic development and growth.

"National will work with Maori individuals, whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori communities to build on this success in order to increase their participation in and contribution to, the enrichment of our society.

"This new approach will mean a reorientation of the role of Te Puni Kokiri, as primarily being the coordination and facilitation of economic development opportunities for Maori, with the promotion of a Government wide development strategy based on quality education, skills, innovation and enterprise.

"It will also mean a refocusing of resources to match the strategy, and the removal of obstacles to enable the more effective use and management of Maori assets," Mrs te Heuheu said.

"The monitoring function currently assigned to Te Puni Kokiri will be reviewed with the possibility of its transfer to a unit with the authority to better monitor the responsiveness of Government to Maori.

"With the best will in the world Te Puni Kokiri is not geared for this important function.

"Maori aspirations are the same as those of all New Zealanders. They desire independence and self sufficiency, and National will work with them to achieve that," Mrs te Heuheu said.

Addressing the VIP Forum Mrs te Heuheu considered that National's Treaty and Maori policies together created a framework that had the potential to unlock unlimited economic opportunities for Maori communities in the central North Island.

She hoped that this would provide the impetus for claimants to support National's bid to become the next Government, she said.


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