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Peters claims wrong

Peters claims wrong

Winston Peters is wrong to claim that there has been no progress in the review of targeted policies and programmes, Co-ordinating Minister, Race Relations Trevor Mallard said today.

"The government's review of ethnically-targeted programmes was announced in March 2004, with the aim of giving the public an assurance that they are based on need and not race.

"As a result of the review of the first tranche of programmes, I announced some changes in December, including the removal of the ethnicity component of the decile funding formula for schools. Other programmes were not changed as the review showed they were addressing proven need.

"I will be announcing the results of the final tranche of reviews on Thursday. Again, I would like to make it clear that this government will continue to use targeted programmes and policies for specific ethnic groups that prove effective at addressing their proven needs, just as we do for other groups of New Zealanders who need specific help, such as the elderly or those in rural communities.

"In terms of the settlement of Treaty of Waitangi claims, our government has made faster progress than ever in settling historical treaty claims. We have said that we aim to complete them within ten to fifteen years. In order to achieve this, a closing date for the lodging of new claims is not far from being set.

"Mr Peters has also claimed that tens of millions of dollars are spent on Treaty or Maori culture courses and staff training in public departments, yet admits he has no figures to back this up. From available information I have to date, the spending will be nowhere near this amount.

"I would also note that decisions on whether to have staff trained in issues relating to the Treaty or Maori culture is a decision for departmental chief executives. There is no public sector requirement for this to happen. Clearly there are jobs - such as in the Office of Treaty of Settlements or in departments which deal a lot with Maori communities - where such training is probably quite a good idea. "


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