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Struggling Maori Need Opportunities - Not Slogans

Media Release
9 March 2004

Struggling Maori Need Opportunities - Not Slogans

New Zealand First says that despite policies designed to close the gaps and reduce inequalities, Maori are still languishing at the bottom of the heap.

“Maori continue to feature negatively in most social indicators, including educational achievement, income, employment, health, criminal offending and welfare dependency,” said Maori Affairs spokesperson Pita Paraone.

“They are also the highest users of foodbanks nationwide. The recent report on foodbank clients released by the Council of Christian Social Services confirms what we all suspected – there is a growing Maori underclass in New Zealand.

“This disturbing statistic calls into question the rhetoric currently being bandied about by politicians desperate for a headline. Needs-based or race-based makes no difference when you can’t afford to feed your children.

“Despite the government’s “good news” items on low unemployment and socially aware policies, Maori are still struggling.

“We all need to take a close look at what’s really happening out there before it’s too late.

“Current policies designed to alter the shameful statistics are simply not working. It’s time to stop the political point-scoring and get on with creating policies that provide opportunities rather than slogans,” said Mr Paraone.


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