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Labour Perpetuates Maori Misery

Labour Perpetuates Maori Misery

Monday 18 Aug 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today demanded to know how Labour could claim to be uplifting Maori, when it excludes them from the very initiatives that could help them escape the misery of entrenched, long-term welfare dependency.

"In November 2002, Maori made up 37.5 percent of beneficiaries on the dole more than 10 years, and 33 percent of those over four years. Welfare dependency is the biggest problem facing Maori today, and Labour has consigned them to the scrapheap," Dr Newman said.

"People survive on a benefit in the short-term, but long-term dependency steals self-esteem and motivation. By making only pakeha beneficiaries leave low-employment areas, Labour has removed motivation for Maori beneficiaries to escape the welfare trap. Labour `cares' about Maori, but excludes them from policies that might prompt them to build better lives.

"Further, it shows this Government's blatant racism and double standards. Many pakeha beneficiaries have lived in the same area for generations. Why then, do they have to move and Maori do not? The answer is simple: vote buying.

"Labour pretends to be effective, but does nothing. Jobs Jolt is a stunt with no new policy, aimed to counteract focus group polling showing that Labour is soft-on-welfare. It is supposed to show working New Zealand that the Government is addressing welfare - and by excluding Maori beneficiaries Labour also keeps its beneficiary vote.

"Once again this Government has left Maori on the scrapheap. As long as Maori are trapped in the welfare cycle, Labour can throw them a crust every now and then, and claim to care about Maori.

"Maori do not belong on welfare, no matter what Labour wants. Excluding them from Jobs Jolt is racist. It proves that Labour keeps Maori in the welfare rut by excluding them from the sanctions needed to help jobseekers into work.

"Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey has two options: either submit Maori beneficiaries to same rules as everyone else, or tell his Government to stop pretending that it cares about Maori outcomes," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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