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Closing Or Widening The Gaps?

Closing Or Widening The Gaps?

New Zealand First Maori affairs spokesperson Pita Paraone says the Government’s “Closing the Gaps” strategy has failed to produce any real benefits or advancement for disadvantaged Maori and Pacific Islanders.

“Once again, the lack of accountability and consequences of the Labour Government have been exposed as reports produced by the Labour Department’s Community Employment Group show that, despite the investment of almost $6 million a year in taxpayer funds, the scheme is failing miserably.

“The Closing the Gaps strategy has, by the Department’s own admission, failed to deliver. The Government could have just opened a window and thrown the grants money out of it because the results would have been the same,” Mr Paraone said.

The first report, on the first 281 projects funded by the group, found that a prohibition banning the payment of salaries to grant recipients was routinely "subverted", and that it was sometimes difficult to reconcile funding applications with the grants approved.

“Where’s the accountability in this? If the Government is serious about improving employment opportunities for Maori and for Pacific Islanders, they would start focusing on results and outcomes, instead of squandering taxpayers’ money to advance a notion of what should be done.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the problems the Government claims to be solving have not been solved and the opportunities to do so have been thrown away,” Mr Paraone concluded.

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