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Government Confused about How to Advance Maori

Government Confused about How to Advance Maori Aspirations Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader, Maori Party

Tuesday 14 March 2006

Questions raised in the House today exposed the confusion and discomfort that the Government has found itself in, with regard to Maori development.

The Minister of Maori Affairs responded to the questions put to him from Dr Pita Sharples and Te Ururoa Flavell, with a repeated statement that he endorsed the comments of Mita Ririnui.

The Maori Party has spoken out about a damning report from the United States Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, on Human Rights Practices in New Zealand, which List Member Mita Ririnui dismissed as being part of another 'woe-is-me' agenda by the Maori Party.

The United States report identified a:

"continuing pattern of dis-proportionate numbers of Maori on unemployment and welfare rolls, in prison, among school dropouts, in infant mortality statistics, and among single-parent households" in New Zealand.

"I can not believe the cynical attitude perpetuated within this minority Labour Government when they know that by 2010, Maori will become the most imprisoned race in the world, something they appear to passively accept by building more jails" said Dr Sharples.

"It is a disgrace, when a Minister is able to say -and a Maori List Member at that - that he can dismiss the disproportionate societal problems, by saying these shocking statistics "tells us nothing we don't know".

"What they appear not to know, is the solution, and their performance to date has confirmed that".

List Member Mita Ririnui, earlier released a statement that "This government has identified unemployment as a major contributor to improving social standards".

"The Maori Party believes that unemployment is not a good indicator of genuine progress; it is not a way to improve social standards. It is negative funding, as all it does is to emphasize the loss of human potential" stated Dr Sharples. "We are interesting in realising human potential".

"It would have been much better for the Government to concentrate on employment, on health promotion and well-being, on support for whanau, including single-parent families, on educational opportunities"

"The situation that Aotearoa finds itself in, is too serious to play politics with, either party or person" stated Dr Pita Sharples. "To know about the very significant and "disproportionate societal problems of the indigenous people", and to do nothing about it, should not be laughed off or ignored".

"The Maori Party wants to work with any party who will work collaboratively to achieve progress in advancing the aspirations of tangata whenua for the benefit of all people who live in Aotearoa".

ENDS

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