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No baby left behind

2 March 2005

No baby left behind

The primary goal of any Maori economic development must be that no Maori child is left in poverty, the Green Party says.

"Any Maori child left behind the juggernaut of Maori economic development renders it a dismal failure," Green Maori Affairs Metiria Turei, who has attended Hui Taumata this week, said today.

"Participation in the global marketplace will benefit a few, raising the minimum wage will benefit the many. Our whanau are our strength - so let's get our priorities straight.

"The strategy for future economic security for Maori must be to raise the living standards of every Maori family now. The Maori Affairs Minister has said our greatest contribution to the New Zealand economy is through the labour force, so let's start by raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour."

A recent OECD report found one-sixth of New Zealand children are being raised in poverty - a higher rate than in all but three of the world's 26 rich nations. Many of these families will be Maori.

"The Hui Taumata is very focused on education and participation in the global marketplace. These are factors in our economic development and have an important place. But in the meantime, many of our children live in poverty and ordinary working Maori families still struggle to provide the best for their tamariki.

"Poverty remains the key barrier to our rangatahi (youth) developing the skills for our collective economic advancement."

ENDS


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