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Anderton warns against return to Muldoonism

Anderton warns against return to Muldoon-era divisiveness

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton says any repeat of National's divisive Muldoon-era risks New Zealand taking it's eye off the urgent need to maintain economic development.

The Progressive Party leader told an economic development audience in Rodney yesterday that the New Zealand economy suffered for decades when New Zealander was set against New Zealander during the Muldoon years.

"I'm old enough to have campaigned vigorously against the Muldoon government. What I disliked most about that government was the way one group of New Zealander was set against another. Old against young, rural against urban, brown against white, worker against beneficiary.

"Everyone spent so much time involved in those fights, not enough attention was paid to our economy. If we have made steady, constructive and continuous progress throughout those years, we would not have fallen so far behind other countries, like Australia. We would have dealt with real issues, and the causes we are united by, instead of dwelling on those few sharp edges of disagreement.

"And I say to those politicians who are advocating a return to the lurches, radicalism and division of the last decades of the twentieth century: We can't afford it. We can't afford to take our eye off the ball again, as we did in the Muldoon years, when one group of New Zealanders was set against another. We can't afford the navel gazing, the division and the tearing of each other apart.

"I went and saw the communities devastated by floods in the lower North Island last month. It makes you proud as a New Zealander to see the way we help each other as a community in times of need. When someone needs help, you don't stop and ask 'are Maori or Pakeha?' You don't ask any questions, you just pitch in and do your bit.

"If we can help each other in a crisis, surely we can help each other to ensure all our communities achieve a high level of economic success the rest of the time. That is why economic development programmes are established in all communities, especially those most in need," said Jim Anderton.

Jim Anderton said on Waitangi Day he believes New Zealand is on its way towards creating a new Pacific people he dubs 'Ngati kiwi'.

"Our future will not be a future where Maori - or any other group -- are expected to blend into some sort of amorphous grey mixture. It will be one where we all share and take pride in what makes us different, what makes us, ngati kiwi. Our future will be created by our uniqueness.

"In my economic development portfolio, our focus is to build on our uniqueness and turn it into jobs, incomes and opportunities. We set up a design strategy that will take New Zealand design to the world. We have a music industry export group, to take the sound of New Zealand to the world. We have helped the film industry make movies here and take our stories to the world. We need to celebrate our cultural expression, in design, in music and in film," said Jim Anderton.

Also see:

Nationhood and Ngati Kiwi

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