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Living Standards 2004 grim reading: Turia

“Living Standards 2004 grim reading” says Tariana Turia

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party

Tuesday 11 July 2006

Today’s release of the Living Standards 2004 report makes for grim reading said the Maori Party today.

“This report confirms what Maori families have been telling us” said Tariana Turia today.

“The gaps between the haves and have-nots have grown dramatically with our most vulnerable members of society - Māori and Pacific people, beneficiaries and low-income families with children – showing significant increases in the proportions of people in "severe hardship”.

“These families who are in dire straits were the reason why we introduced the whanau development programme” said Mrs Turia. “This was an opportunity for the people to do something for themselves – and this Government has squandered that opportunity by cutting the programme in this year’s Budget”.

“Part of the problem”, said Mrs Turia – “is that we have well-meaning social service agencies who provide services – but the people need meaningful assistance in the hand”.

“What we need is to look at how we can raise living standards for our families in practical ways – not more theories and strategies to discuss Maori potential”.

“In the lead up to last year’s election we saw the huge disparities out there, in the homes of our people” said Mrs Turia. “Our teams out door-knocking, were stunned at the levels of poverty in mainstream New Zealand”.

“This report describes an abject failure of the system” concluded Mrs Turia. “Our people need to be part of the solution – not just recipients of another Government report, or another strategy dreamt up by TPK”.

Mrs Turia noted with irony, that this report was released on the same day that Te Puni Kokiri set off on a roadshow to sell their “Maori Potential Approach”.

“This report is a tragic indictment on the focus of this Labour Government” continued Mrs Turia. “A Government which talks about supporting families, and yet punishes those who are already hurt most by economic hardship”.

“The report reveals the discriminatory impact of the Working for Families package, with people in receipt of an income-tested benefit, especially those with dependent children, amongst the groups who have lower working standards in 2004 than in 2000” said Mrs Turia.

“We are heartened to read the recommendation that “the results underline the importance of maintaining a strong focus on finding effective ways of reducing these disparities” stated Mrs Turia.

This report is now backed up by a substantial body of evidence urging this Government to address the disparities”.
“Earlier this year, we received the report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Professor Stavenhagen, which revealed that despite the Government's intention to reduce inequalities, persistent disparities between Maori and Pakeha continue to exist in a number of areas".

“That same finding has been repeated by numerous findings in the health sector, including the Decades of Disparity III report, and a series of shameful results reported in the Lancet last month which revealed that Maori received sub-optimal care in hospitals,

“That report, by the Prime Minister’s husband, Professor Peter Davis, found that 14% of Maori hospital admissions were associated with healthcare mistakes”.

“At the risk of playing a cracked record, when will this Government listen?” asked Mrs Turia. “What will it take, for the concerns to be heard?”


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