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Dover's Actions Treasonous: Henare

6th October 1999

For immediate release

DOVER'S ACTIONS TREASONOUS: HENARE

Having a fluent Maori language speaker rubbishing a positive policy to promote the Maori language and culture was tantamount to treason, Mauri Pacific Leader, Hon Tau Henare, said today.

Mr Henare said he was shocked and dismayed to see Dover Samuels rejecting his party's policy to make it compulsory for the public service to learn the Maori language and culture.

"Northland is full of beneficiaries and unemployed people who have to deal with public servants on a daily basis. Those beneficiaries and unemployed people in Northland are mainly Maori.

"They have a right to expect that the people they will deal with will be versed in their culture, and can meet their needs in a culturally appropriate way.

"Government policies and their implementation all impact on Maori.

"Earlier this year a Maori family Invercargill asked for my assistance. Their brother had died on a Thursday night, it was Friday morning they were calling, and they'd just been in to WINZ to ask for assistance to get their brother back to Wairoa in the Hawkes Bay for the tangihanga. WINZ said come back on Monday when you've got an appointment.

"This is what this policy is about. The problem with Dover is that he actually agrees with the policy but because it's election time he feels duty bound to rubbish any good ideas that come along.

"I acknowledge it was them that set up Te Taura Whiri etc. But as the report released yesterday shows our language is in dire straits and Dover and the Labour party have no commitment to it or Maori. They certainly didn't progress what they started when they set TTW up.

"It's reflected in their policies - one size fits all - and their Maori development policy they're too scared to release is full of ideas I've already put in place but, again, no sign of any commitment to the reo."

ENDS

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