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New Associate Minister excited by higher duties

Tue, 21 Dec 2004

New Associate Minister excited by higher duties

More responsibilities come with Associate Ministerial roles outside of Cabinet

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Waiariki MP Mita Ririnui says he's humbled after being allocated Associate Ministerial status in all of his Under-Secretary portfolios areas.

In today's cabinet reshuffle announcement, the Prime Minister assigned Associate portfolio positions in Health, Treaty negotiations, Corrections and a new responsibility in Forestry to Mita Ririnui.

I am looking forward to the challenges that will come with these higher duties, says Mita Ririnui.

He has a particular interest in the Forestry portfolio given the high number of Maori working in that industry, and the vast land interests that Maori have tied up in forestry. Maori control around 10 percent of the industry, which has huge development potential.

Mita believes it will also compliment his role in the Treaty negotiations area. "Since taking on the Health portfolio as Under-Secretary I have been amazed by the hard work that many Maori providers are undertaking to improve health outcomes for their targeted groups."

"I am pleased to be given the opportunity to spearhead progress in this vital area and to carry on that task as an Associate Minister," Mita Ririnui said.

Over the weekend Mita took part in the Arawa Lakes signing which returned title to 13 lakebeds to local Maori. This adds to the three settlement Bills that were presented to parliament this year to settle historical claims from Ngati Awa, Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau and Nga Rauru.

"As an Associate in the Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations portfolio I am keen to ensure that the claims process continues to move rapidly.

"I also want to acknowledge the work that will be involved in the Corrections portfolio. There are far too many Maori in prison and rehabilitation is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

"Overall I am excited over the opportunities that lie ahead and the potential that comes with each of the portfolio positions," Mita Ririnui said.

ENDS

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