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Senator's Welfare Message An Inspiration For Maori

Aboriginal Senator's Welfare Message An Inspiration For Maori

Wednesday 25th Aug 1999
Donna Awatere Huata
Media Release -- Social Welfare

Australia's only federal Aboriginal politician will make history in his maiden speech tonight urging governments to stop throwing more money at indigenous communities, a message ACT Maori Affairs Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata said should be heeded by politicians and Maori in New Zealand.

''Australian Democrats Senator Aden Ridgeway's message that the welfare cycle in Aboriginal communities must be broken, is exactly the proactive stance we need in our own Maori communities," said Mrs Huata.

"I have known Aden since his days with the Aboriginal Land Council and am extremely pleased that his work for Aboriginal people is now beginning in Parliament. He has come from the very communities he speaks off and knows just how damaging the culture of welfare dependency has been for his people.

"Maori have fallen into the same trap as the Aboriginal people. We think of ourselves as victims of the welfare state rather than taking responsibility to get our kids and ourselves educated to get jobs and look after ourselves.

"We too are in a self-defeating cycle of dependency and just throwing more money at the problems in our Maori communities is not the answer.

"Welfare has done nothing to take us forward, it has instead become our greatest sickness. It has sapped our potential and ability to look after ourselves and our children. Like the Aborigines, particularly in rural communities, many Maori have become marginalised and disenfranchised.

"I totally agree with Senator Ridgeway that the welfare culture must be stopped and our people must become less welfare dependent and more self-sufficient.

"His words are an inspiration for the Aboriginal people and the Australian Parliament. They are also an inspiration for Maori and our Parliament," said Donna Awatere Huata.


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