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Labour needs to get real and out there

Labour needs to get real and out there

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party
Tuesday 13 September 2005

'Labour has let Maori people down', the Maori Party was told today talking with people in Pomare, Lower Hutt.

"I had young parents tell me of their disappointment that during the time Parekura Horomia was both Minister of Maori Affairs / Associate Minister of Education the precious resource of Mapihi Pounamu was whittled away" said Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

Mapihi Pounamu is a financial assistance scheme that has been targeted to assist Maori students who are required to board away from home because they face barriers to learning.

"Under Trevor Mallard's review of Maori initiatives, the initiative was taken away from Maori students and re-distributed throughout the wider population" stated Mrs Turia.

"Maori parents have told me today that the support of something like Mapihi Pounamu was vital to help them address issues such as financial need, transport, clothing - in order to get the basic education they are entitled to.

"This was a clear programme based on need which has now been strangled by the changes of criteria forced upon it by the Minister of Education, and agreed to by the Associate Minister".

"The Maori Party believes that regardless of the ability to pay there must be opportunities for everyone to be successful to the highest levels of their potential.

"Instead, what Labour has done, is make it even harder for Maori students to succeed. On one hand, we have Don Brash removing any initiatives that include Maori, on the other we have Labour merging everything into one confused melting pot".

"The Maori Party is going into Parliament to say, loud and clear, that we can be Maori, we can be educated, and we can support Maori education without anyone missing out".

ENDS

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