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Clark lets Brash set the agenda

26 March, 2004

Clark lets Brash set the agenda

The Green Party says the Government's inquiry into state policies and programmes for Maori is an over-hasty reaction to its current position in the political polls.

"This is going to be a hugely expensive exercise, quite out of proportion to the expenditure they are reviewing," Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today. "Five new senior staff just to oversee the process will cost a minimum of half a million dollars a year; and the departmental staff doing the work will have to put other priorities on the back burner.

"This is money that could have been used for better health and education services," she said.

"Where's the consistency?" Ms Fitzsimons asked. "Will the Government review all the other targeted programmes, such as those targeted at certain types of businesses? Or programmes targeted at age?"

The Greens are also concerned about the length of time the inquiry is to run.

"It's always good to check periodically that programmes are delivering what they are meant to, but I don't understand how it will take 18 months for all these people to review policies and programmes targeting Maori. One explanation is that most of the programmes were started under previous National governments and the information will be held in old archives which are not on computer."

"At this time, the country badly needs its leadership to exercise a calming influence on the ripples of racial discontent being generated by some irresponsible politicians," said Ms Fitzsimons. "Instead, Clark is letting Brash set the agenda".

ENDS

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