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What Response From Maori Caucus?

What Response From Maori Caucus?

Wednesday 1 Sep 2004

Dr Muriel Newman - Press Releases - Social Welfare

While disadvantages relating to Maori in the latest Human Rights Commission report are not unexpected, what is surprising has been the Maori Caucus's failure to take the problems seriously, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"In its `Human Rights in New Zealand Today' report, the Commission identified that significant racial inequalities continue to exist in health, housing, employment, education, social services and justice. Yet Labour's only answer has been to waste hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars through its failed `closing the gaps' strategy," Dr Newman said.

"And, after it realised that money would not solve the problem, the Maori Caucus - elected on the promise of delivering better outcomes for Maori - has been woefully silent.

"The reality is - and the Maori Caucus knows it - that the problems engulfing Maori spring from family breakdown and entrenched long-term welfare dependency.

"This report repeats what everyone already knows: Maori are in trouble - especially Maori children. Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, over the past five years, over 37 percent of children taken into the State child welfare agency's care were Maori. Now, 58 percent of young offenders in `secure' state care facilities, are Maori.

"ACT has warned of the dangers facing Maoridom and its children for years: the need for family law reform to keep fathers involved with their children, and welfare reform to halt the damage that entrenched welfare causes children.

"But the Maori Caucus has done nothing. Instead - while it focuses on the foreshore and seabed, Maori TV, and in-fighting - the future generation of Maoridom continues to suffer," Dr Newman said.

ENDS


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