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Response to Government's 'Package of Actions'

Response to Government's 'Package of Actions' for Te Wananga o Aotearoa

Tariana Turia, Co-leader Maori Party

1 March 2005

"We would have welcomed a full Commission of Inquiry into this matter which would have been able to address the full range of allegations that have made about Te Wananga o Aotearoa" said Tariana Turia today, in response to the Government's proposals to address concerns raised about Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

"What concerns me is that not only is there an inquiry, but there is an absolute attempt by this Government to contain Maori development. At the heart of any development, particularly for tangata whenua, is our people development".

"What is especially ironic about this package, is its announcement in a week where the Government is attempting to use Maori achievements to create the perception that their 'success' has been due to Government intervention".

"To deliberately limit an organisation that was established for all people in Aotearoa, to only provide services for Maori people, is racism at its worst. What it is saying in effect, is that Maori can not provide a way forward for others".

"We would have a lot more respect for the Government if it waited until all of the allegations were proven before coming in with their package of action".

"This institution's capital budget has been no more than the Government has used to bail out the failing Whanganui Polytechnic. Tax payers in this country would have seen the work of the Wananga as an investment in the future. If we want to move people from dependency to independence, then we should be praising the work of this organisation who has enabled not only Maori people, but other New Zealanders to get a second chance at education".

"The real issue is that there has been a problem by the State and previous Governments to address serious failures in the education system, hence the reason why we have so many adults who can not read or write, and who lack the vital numeracy skills required for today's knowledge age".

"It is time for the Government to stop sheeting the blame to Maori organisations and to start addressing the system's failures".

"If the Government handed over the $20m of settlement money that they had owed to the Wananga, there would have been no question of financial viability. In failing to fully address this settlement, they have placed this institution in a negative financial situation".


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