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Brash cares little about facts or Maori

Wed, 19 May 2004

Further proof that Brash cares little about facts or Maori

The Leader of the Opposition has continues down the same old track track

"After a bad week for the National party where its true agenda on the nuclear question emerged Don Brash has fallen back on trying to reignite the race issue, to relegate Mâori to the margins. He has continued down the track National has been consistently plodding down in their opposition years - misunderstanding a Mâori situation, misrepresenting it and then encouraging the public to feel aggrieved about the imaginary "patronisation of Mâori people" Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said today.

"Dr Brash's on-going lack of understanding of Mâori issues followed by his misrepresentation of them and his constant claims that Mâori are after far more than they deserve is wearing thin.

"He was wrong back in February when he claimed the nation's universities were lowering their standards to pass Mâori doctors, dentists, lawyers and other professionals. He is wrong now to claim that Mâori are failing in the tertiary education system.

"In his speech yesterday Dr Brash said 'that there is a perception that National doesn't value the Mâori vote'. No kidding! Twice now the National party has given the very clear impression it is prepared to distort facts about Mâori achievement for political gain.

"It's all very well talking about what the "next National Government" will do. It's what the last National Governments didn't do that has a lot to answer for. This Government made a conscious decision to address the needs of those who fell through the system and were left with few options under National. This government decided to give them a second chance. Many have taken that second chance with both hands by initially engaging in courses that offer them a hand-up and build their confidence. That done, further education is often their next step towards reaching their aspirations.

"Already, in a little over two terms of Labour Government Mâori children are starting to reap the benefits of more targeted resources focused on them in their early childhood.

"What we inherited was an education system not focussing on Mâori needs. One thing this Labour government is striving to achieve is a high percentage of well-educated New Zealanders, including Mâori.

In recent years there has been a rapid growth in the number of Mâori participating in formal tertiary education. Since 1999, the number of Maori students in formal tertiary education has increased from 32,825 to 62,574 in 2003.

"The way Mâori have embraced tertiary education speaks volumes about their desire to tool up for the modern New Zealand economy. Dr Brash should be applauding this fact, not denigrating it.

"I am proud that more Mâori learners are going to university straight from school and that Mâori doctoral enrolments have almost doubled in the last six years.

"Statements recently made by the leader of the opposition can only be seen as divisive. They signal that National does not want Mâori to go forward; that National are used to Mâori being behind. I am from the last generation of children of manual labourers. Ninety-nine percent of my parents' generation, like a whole lot of Mâori, worked for the Ministry of Works, worked for the Post and Telegraph Department, worked for the freezing works, worked on the railways, and did all those great labouring jobs. They were loyal; they worked for 30 to 40 years. They were neither close to management nor close to enterprise, because other people kept them out of the opportunities.

"Times are a changing. For the third year in a row, Mâori exceeded non-Mâori in the Total Entrepreneurial Activity stakes. Just over 17 percent of the Mâori population has attempted to start a business in the past three years as opposed to 13.3 percent of the non-Mâori population according to the Unitec NZ Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2003/04 report. Globally, the Mâori entrepreneurship rate surpasses all but three countries in the GEM sample.

"Mâori want to be the business managers, Mâori want to be the business owners, and Mâori want to make sure that Mâori have their rightful place as the first-nation people, the tangata whenua in this country, and this Government makes no apologies for assisting Mâori to that end.

" What is good for Mâori is good for all New Zealanders - the sooner the opposition realise this, the better.


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