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What Use Is The Maori Caucus?

What Use Is The Maori Caucus?

Thursday 22 Jul 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases - Social Welfare

It is ironic that the only Parliamentary Party to have a Maori Caucus is doing less than any other to help ensure that Maori children have a chance of a decent future, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman observed today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, as of the end of April 2004, an overwhelming 18,234 Maori children were growing up with absolutely no idea of who their father is," Dr Newman said.

"These children - up more than 1,000 since the same time last year - are being raised by DPB mothers who refuse to name the father of their child.

"While not surprising - this trend is certainly not new - this is incredibly worrying. Maori children account for over 52 percent of all children being raised on the DPB with a 70A deduction, far and away the highest proportion of any ethnic group in this situation.

"Labour is the only Party in Parliament to have a Maori Caucus, which is specifically elected to look out for the interests of Maori. But what has it done? Labour has been the Government for four years - plenty of time for the Maori Caucus to get its act together.

"But it has not. Under Labour's stewardship, the number of children - particularly Maori children - in this situation has done nothing but grow. With this sort of track record, it is no wonder that Maori are losing faith in their Labour representatives and are looking in other directions to cast their votes," Dr Newman said.


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