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Figures Tell Story Horomia Would Rather Ignore

Figures Tell Story Horomia Would Rather Ignore

Friday 16 Apr 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Social Welfare

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today wondered how Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia could sleep at night, when he spent his days making excuses to hide the fact that he is failing his own people.

"Mr Horomia and his Maori caucus have spent so much time arguing over the foreshore and seabed that they have allowed the bigger problem of Maori welfare dependency to fall by the wayside," Dr Newman said.

"Mr Horomia tries to dispute this by saying `there are more Maori in paid employment than at any time over the last 16 years' and `there are 800 young Maori taking part in modern apprenticeship programmes'.

"Indeed, these figures are encouraging, and point to Maori taking pro-active steps to improve their futures. What the Minister neglects to mention, however, is the number of Maori still dependent on welfare.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, as of the end of March, Maori - who make up around 15 percent of New Zealand's population - accounted for 33 percent of all those on the Unemployment Benefit alone. In comparison, pakeha - over 70 percent of the population - provide only 41 percent of Unemployment Beneficiaries.

"Maori are not just over-represented in welfare statistics, they are massively over-represented. Less than a fifth of the population is giving us almost a third - 24,932 - of our Unemployment Beneficiaries.

"Clearly this is a huge problem, and Maori should be able to look to their elected representatives for leadership. It is time the Maori caucus set its sights once more on the real goal: helping all Maori. Effective welfare reform would go further toward helping Maori society as a whole than rights to the seabed and foreshore," Dr Newman said.


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