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Treaty and Māori Affairs policies released

Treaty and Māori Affairs policies released

The National Party today released its Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Māori Affairs policies, signalling it will continue making real progress for Māori by settling Treaty claims, empowering Māori land owners and lifting educational achievement.

“National recognises the importance of settling Treaty of Waitangi claims in a fair and durable way,” Treaty Negotiations and Māori Affairs Spokesman Christopher Finlayson says. “Settlements not only provide iwi with an economic base to build on, but also enable the resolution of historical grievances, which is good for iwi and good for New Zealand.”

National has a great track record in Treaty settlements. By 2017, all willing iwi should have deeds of settlement.

“In government, National has made huge progress on Treaty settlements,” Mr Finlayson says. “We have reached 46 deeds of settlement since 2008, compared with the previous government’s rate of fewer than two per year. At that rate, settlement of historical grievances would still be going until at least 2060.

“We have significantly sped up the rate at which we settle historic Treaty settlements, and we are nearly there.

“The financial proceeds of settlements help iwi lay the foundations for economic success and grow their wealth,” Mr Finlayson says. “They also make a valuable contribution to regional economic development and issues, such as social housing.

“They allow us to move forward as a nation.”

National will reform Te Ture Whenua Māori Act to improve the governance and productivity of Māori land for its owners, in order to unlock its economic potential. This could create up to $8 billion in economic activity over 10 years.

“National has helped Māori get ahead and we will continue to do so,” Mr Finlayson says. “We expanded the 20 hours of free early childhood education to kōhanga reo and play centres.

“We will continue to lift achievement through our target of 98 per cent of all children starting school having participated in early childhood education by 2016, and by our investments in new teacher roles.

“We are investing in Māori educational achievement through initiatives like Māori and Pasifika Trades Training and the Youth Guarantee scheme,” says Mr Finlayson.

“This builds on the increasing number of Māori students reaching university since National came into government. These places are in addition to the gains in Māori education as a result of our reforms.”

National has also promoted improved health outcomes.

“We have raised immunisation rates for Māori children, and increased funding to fight diseases such as rheumatic fever.”

National will work closely with iwi and local government to address issues at a community level.

“The Crown does not have all the answers,” Mr Finlayson says. “We will continue to build strong Crown-iwi relationships, and will continue to work with iwi leaders on important issues, such as fresh water policy and RMA reforms.”

National’s Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Policy is available at:http://ntnl.org.nz/1tLnuty

National’s Māori Affairs Policy is available at: http://ntnl.org.nz/1wgkOVJ

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