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Maori Party Salutes Child Poverty Action Group

28 November 2005

Maori Party Salutes Child Poverty Action Group

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party;

"The Maori Party congratulates the Child Poverty Action group for their landmark case to bring legal action against the Government over its discriminatory policies" said Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party.

"Poverty is a huge blight on this nation" said Mrs Turia. "The Maori Party has consistently challenged the Government to recognise that poverty has become entrenched, especially amongst Maori, Pasifika, sole parent and benefit dependent families".

"Poverty works at many levels" said Mrs Turia. "It is of key concern that six out of every ten Maori adults had an annual income of $20,000 or less".

"For a Government that prides itself on its unemployment rate, it is an absolute travesty that the most recent Household Labour Force survey revealed that the unemployment rate for Maori has steadily increased over the last year from an actual rate of 8.3% in September 2004 to 9.1% in September 2005. This contrasts markedly to the unemployment rate for European which was sitting at 2.2% in September 2005".

"As the United Nations Special Rapporteur revealed on Friday, 'the gap in social and economic conditions is actually growing larger and an increasing proportion of Maori are being left behind".

"In the Poverty Indicator Project it revealed that Maori and Pasifika women were over-represented at every foodbank participating in the survey; and over-represented in low-paid work and benefit statistics".

"We met today with Te Puna Whaiora Children's Health Camps, and learnt that 48% of the families working with that organisation are Mäori" said Mrs Turia. "Poverty was a key factor in increasing risk amongst these families".

"One wonders what more evidence this minority Labour Government needs to address the issues of poverty and deprivation, which are particularly marked for Maori and Pasifika families" said Mrs Turia.

"253,000 children are in households supported by a benefit" said Mrs Turia. "It is these children that stand to gain most from the action of CPAG in being granted access to the Human Rights Review Tribunal for its case alleging discrimination in the Child Tax Credit, and the proposed In Work Payment".

"The Maori Party will not stand silent to the policy neglect of the poorest and most vulnerable children in Aotearoa".

ENDS


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