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Focus needs to shift from grievance to development

January 27 2004

National focus needs to shift from grievance to development

The National Party needs to shift its mind-set from grievance to development, Progressive Party leader, Jim Anderton, said today.

"The much-heralded speech by Don Brash today suggests National is still reveling in the rut of grievance and conflict. Dr Brash's banging on about how many Maori were killed by other Maori in the 1820s is no substitute for a practical programme for a better future.

"The speech was clearly designed to direct attention away from the coalition government's employment and economic successes but only served to emphasize National's lack of ideas," the Progressive leader said.

"Dr Brash would do a lot better to inform himself, for example, on what the Labour Progressive government is doing to reduce skill shortages and promote the economic development and growth of Northland, a region where over the past two decades too many Maori left the labour market for the welfare system.

"This government is moving on a broad front to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural resources of the Te Rarawa iwi in the Far North. Just to name a fraction of the initiatives we are promoting, one aspect is a house building programme to address substandard housing inherited from National's rule, and a construction course to support this.

"At last count there were 3,850 industry trainees in the northland region with 455 enrolled in the Modern Apprenticeships Programme ? a programme established by this progressive coalition government to build up the nation's skills base after the disastrous decision of a previous government to abandon such schemes," Jim Anderton said.

"Maori unemployment in New Zealand under this government has fallen below 10%. When Dr Brash's soul mate Ruth Richardson was Finance Minister Maori unemployment never fell below 21.8%, and at times was above 27%.

"It is falling unemployment and active regional development policies which are paving the way for better education and health standards, less welfare cases, and a stronger, more harmonious New Zealand," the Progressive leader said.

ENDS

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