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Government Gives Maori Raw Deal

Government Gives Maori Raw Deal

Press Release by Hon Sir Roger Douglas, ACT New Zealand

National is misguided if it believes that Treaty settlements will enable New Zealand to move forward, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Sir Roger Douglas said today. "Maori still underachieve at school, still have shorter life expectancy than pakeha, and are still discriminated against by a superannuation system that treats every one the same. All this occurs despite the purported success of the Treaty Settlements process," Sir Roger said. "The potential for Maori entrepreneurship is held back by strict rules that surround the conversion of Maori land to freehold title, and iwi are often prohibited from selling their land by Courts that think they know better than Maori.

"And while the Government holds back Maori entrepreneurs, Maori get a raw deal from the monopoly supply of health, education, superannuation, and welfare. "All Maori have the capacity to succeed in education – as demonstrated by the success of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Waiū o Ngati Porou in Ruatoria. Established in 1997 with the goal of establishing a Maori school culture for Maori students, the kura has high levels of academic expectation and success for its students. Such is its success that every 2009 Year 13 student will go on to universities around the country this year. "This an example of what can be achieved with the right leadership and incentives, yet too many Maori are locked into under-performing schools as the Government denies them the opportunity of going elsewhere through strict school zoning.

"In the area of superannuation, many Maori start paying earlier than their peers and then – because Maori have shorter lives – collect superannuation for shorter periods, if at all. This is what happens when the Government takes responsibility for superannuation: individuals are stripped of control of the money they are forced to pay, and given no choice over when they retire. "It is a tragedy that many Maori leaders spend millions of dollars fighting the Government in court or negotiating settlements that give Maori little real control over the land they once owned. The far more pressing problem is the ongoing failure of Government services to meet the needs of Maori. Until that problem is addressed by giving Maori choice and control over their personal health, education, and welfare budgets, settlements will do little to help," Sir Roger said

ENDS

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