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Labour Must Keep Its Promise To Maori Children

Labour Must Keep Its Promise To Maori Children

Thursday 15 Jan 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

New information, revealing that Maori children are more at-risk now than they were four years ago, shows that Labour is no friend to Maori - no matter how hard it tries to pretend otherwise, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions show that in 1999 the Department of Child Youth and Family received 7,256 notifications of potential child abuse, regarding Maori, that required further investigation. This has leapt 41 percent to 10,272," Dr Newman said.

"As of November 2003, New Zealand Maori accounted for 34 percent of notifications that CYF believed required further investigation. Meanwhile, notifications requiring further action - pertaining to New Zealand pakeha - rose only 11 percent from the time Labour took office.

"Instead of `closing the gaps', this Government is widening them. Labour alienates Maori from wider New Zealand with its race-based policies. What is worse, however, is that the Government is pouring taxpayers money into schemes it knows do not work.

"Labour is hitting Maori on both fronts - first by refusing to implement the serious welfare reform that everyone knows is the only solution, and then again by making them a target of public resentment by other racial groups deemed not worthy of special Government funding.

"If Labour were genuinely trying to help Maori, it would stop throwing money at a problem that money alone will not solve. Addressing fatherlessness, and implementing real welfare reform, is the only way to improve such worrying statistics.

"I am calling on Labour to show Maori a little integrity. Toothless, impotent PR vote-buying exercises are no way to keep the promises that this Government made to improve Maori child welfare," 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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