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Labour Leaves At-Risk Maori Children In Danger

Labour Leaves At-Risk Maori Children In Danger

Latest statistics on critical notifications of potential child abuse have exposed the Labour Government's role in perpetuating abuse against Maori children, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that Maori account for more than 37 percent of these notifications - despite four years of Labour promises to reduce Maori inequality and disadvantage," Dr Newman said.

"In 1999 the Department of Child, Youth and Family categorised 3,598 notifications as critical, with 1,371 - 38 percent - involving Maori. Four years later, despite all the rhetoric - not to mention $5 billion a year in special funding for Maori - critical notifications involving Maori children remain at the same level.

"Conversely, from 1999-2003, critical notifications involving pakeha children dropped 18 percent. By failing to address the entrenched welfare dependency - violence, neglect, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of responsibility and aspiration - afflicting a disproportionate number of Maori families, Labour is leaving too many children in a situation of critical risk.

"Further, by failing to address the fatherlessness epidemic that is now sweeping the country, again affecting Maori disproportionately, the Government will ensure that these numbers continue to grow.

"Slick talk of `closing the gaps' - through special race-based taxpayer funding - is simply a public relations technique to buy Maori votes. It will not save a single Maori baby from harm at the hands of a parent who sees welfare as an entitlement to fund a dysfunctional lifestyle.

"Only proper welfare reform - where benefits come with duties and obligations - and family law reform, which will ensure fathers remain responsible for their children, will turn this crisis for Maori children around," Dr Newman said.

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