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Ethnic Job Quotas a Clumsy Solution

Taito Phillip Field MP

Media Statement

13 July 1999

Labour Pacific Island affairs spokesperson Taito Phillip Field said today that forcing ethnic job quotas on the state sector would be a heavy-handed solution to the lack of career opportunities for Maori and Pacific Island people.

Tuariki Delamere has once again failed to get to the core of the problem. Accusing employers, in particular those in government departments, of discrimination in their approach to employment is a knee-jerk response to a problem that this government is largely responsible for, Mr Field said.

It is failings like the cost of education, the lack of support for more industries based on knowledge, skill and technology, and a diminishing commitment to training that are the real causes of high unemployment among Pacific Island people.

Suggesting that public sector chief executives have their remuneration packages linked to achieving certain quotas of employing Maori and Pacific Islanders does nothing to address the underlying problems.

What this country really needs is for National and its cronies, like Mr Delamere, to be swept out of office so we can have a Labour-led government which has a genuine commitment to the underlying causes of economic and social failure, which has hit Maori and Pacific Island people particularly hard.

It is clear that ignoring social issues facing a large number of Maori and Pacific people does not bode well for future race relations. If we do not confront issues like poverty, poor housing and ill-health, discontent will build to dangerous levels, Taito Phillip Field said.

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