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Labour releases Maori Affairs policy ‘Me ara ake'

26 October 2008 Media Statement

Labour releases Maori Affairs policy - ‘Me ara ake’

Embargoed 12 noon

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia said that social and economic development was at the heart of Labour’s Maori Affairs policy released today.

The two were joined by other Labour Maori MPs, candidates, and supporters at Otamatea Marae in Northland for the announcement.

“Labour’s Maori policy builds on the foundation of substantial and positive change within Maoridom which has been witnessed over the past nine years,” Helen Clark said.

“The development of people must always come first - he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. Labour’s vision has always been for more fully employed, educated, and skilled, healthy and well housed people.

‘Me Ara Ake’ when translated means ‘the next step.’ Labour’s Maori Affairs policy is about taking the next steps alongside Maoridom, and about continuing to hold steadfast positions on issues which matter a great deal to Maoridom, such as the Maori Electoral Option which determines the number of Maori seats, and reconciliation through the Treaty settlement process.

“Labour is committed to honouring the Treaty of Waitangi and the spirit of partnership it embodies. An integral part of honouring the Treaty is acknowledging the wrongs of the past.

“We recognise the importance of achieving durable Treaty settlements as soon as possible. Our Maori Affairs policy clearly outlines our aim of settling all historical Treaty claims by 2020.

“We also remain committed to supporting the right of Māori to determine the future of the Māori seats in Parliament. Labour supports the Maori Electoral Option which gives Maori the say on the Maori seats,” Helen Clark said.

Parekura Horomia said that the landscape for Māoridom has been transformed since Labour came to office in 1999.

“Māoridom’s ambition has grown, as has its role in determining the economic and social future of Aotearoa. It is imperative that we continue to invest in a plan which ensures that Maori have the opportunities and support to achieve new heights now and in the future,” Mr Horomia said.

“This policy outlines our plan to invest in the economic development of Maori, to build strong whanau with strong futures, and to ensure that the next generation of Maori receive quality education from kohanga to kura and beyond,” Mr Horomia said.

Labour’s Maori Affairs policy commits to:

- Retaining the Maori Electoral Option
- Continuing to negotiate and settle claims with mandated groups in order to settle all historical claims by 2020.
- Providing opportunities through apprenticeships and other forms of industry training for Maori.
- Helping Maori realise the economic potential of Māori land by reviewing the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act.

- Supporting a Māori Conservation Cadetship/Tauira Māori Wananga Kaitiaki Taiao to assist iwi and hapu to meet their conservation responsibilities.
- Encouraging the development of papakainga and kaumatua housing by increasing the funding allocated for these programmes.
- Developing housing partnerships with iwi to extend housing options for Maori.

- Looking at ways to guarantee bank loans through the Welcome Home Loan Scheme for sustainable housing projects on Maori land, including on land with multiple owners.
- Encouraging agencies to work together in targeted communities to help address the issue of gangs.
- Support and fund the Maori Television Service and Maori participation in the television industry, and also continue to resource iwi radio.

- Advancing the Maori Language Strategy and encourage the learning and use of the language in New Zealand’s society.

Labour supports the high aspirations Maori have for the future. We are committed to working with Māoridom to ensure that these aspirations are realised.


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