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Diva's comments 'unfortunate' - te Heuheu

Diva's comments 'unfortunate' - te Heuheu

The National Party Maori Affairs spokeswoman is questioning Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's 'unfortunate' comments about Maori in an Australian newspaper.

"I think her comments are neither appropriate nor accurate," says Georgina te Heuheu.

"As an ambassador for this country, I would have hoped for more from Dame Kiri than remarks based on stereotype rather than hard fact.

"She's clearly not familiar with recent reports showing the Maori economy contributes $2.4 billion in taxes and is going from strength to strength," she says.

"But she has made at least one valid point.

"Dame Kiri's again highlighted the very real dependency trap which many Maori are struggling to fight their way out of.

"For decades, Maori leaders have been justifiably critical of this country's welfare system.

"In fact one of our greatest leaders, Sir Apirana Ngata railed against the first Labour Government when it introduced welfare, predicting that it would destroy Maori initiative and self reliance.

"Sadly that prediction has been proved right and that's exactly why the National Party's been fostering debate on this very subject," Georgina te Heuheu says.

"While Dame Kiri's views may not be entirely accurate - it's refreshing to see another leading figure entering the debate on the direction of our culture and challenging the application of the welfare policies that affect Maori," she says.

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