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Explanation for Axing of Manaaki Tauira

"Explanation for Axing of Manaaki Tauira Exposes Racism and Confused Logic"

Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader, Maori Party Thursday 25 May 2006

"The responses in the House today from the Minister of Maori Affairs defied all logic" stated Dr Pita Sharples.

"To say that the very successful needs-based Manaaki Tauira grant scheme should be cut because Maori tertiary enrolments have increased, is another example of the type of confused logic that is being applied to Maori people" stated Dr Sharples.

"One would have thought that the Minister would have advocated for more money to support Maori tertiary education - rather than taking money from these needy students, and giving it to secondary school teachers instead".

"Why can we not have both?" asked Dr Sharples.

"It is a blatant contradiction for the Government to say that they are progressing Maori Education, and then to cut the basic needs grant - Manaaki Tauira. We need more qualified Maori secondary school teachers, and we certainly need more Maori graduates. It should not be a case of either/or".

"This week in the House we have had two completely different excuses as to why these grants were cut" stated Dr Sharples.

"The other reason put forward for chopping the programme was, as presented by Dr Cullen, because:

"The administration cost of the manaaki tauira programme was very high compared with the amount of money that actually found its way to students. In fact, by being reallocated the money will be far more effective in that it will get to the people who actually need it, rather than being spent on officials". [Parliamentary Question time; 23 May 2006]

"We have undertaken some investigation into the truth of Dr Cullen's claims, and found that the truth has been sacrificed for political spin and the denigration of Maori administrative skill and professionalism" stated Dr Sharples.

"It is a racist slur on the quality of the administration undertaken by the Maori Education Trust - and its staff - and the Maori Party will continue to expose the subtle use of racism which our society needs to protect itself from" stated Dr Sharples.

"We care too much about our nation to let Ministers of the Government indulge in this abhorrent behaviour" concluded Dr Sharples.

Background

The administration costs for the Manaaki Tauira programme in distributing grants of $4.3m; amounts to $360,000 (8.37%). The Department of Internal Affairs has estimated that the costs of administering scholarships from the Maori Education Trust was only $39 per application.

Equivalent costs to administer one application in other grant and scholarship organisations are as follows:

o Canterbury Community Trust: $430
o COGS: $633
o Lotteries Grants Board: $1282
o JR MacKenzie Trust: $282

ENDS

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