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Labour policy is Maori Party policy

Labour policy is Maori Party policy

Last weekend’s Labour Party policy announcements sounded so familiar that for a spilt second I thought a Maori Party conference was taking place without me.

Their policy statements on families, foreign land ownership, Maori youth and GST off food made good audio but were nothing new.

The Maori Party has been talking about these issues for years now.

In April this year the Party’s bill to remove GST from healthy foods was pulled from the ballot. The Bill received wide support from a number of quarters but unfortunately failed in the house.

The Maori Party drafted this Bill on the basis that it would help families to make better decisions about healthy food because it would be more affordable for them.

Another issue that received airplay was limiting foreign land ownership – a great idea and one that we introduced in July this year when we announced we would be drafting a Bill to ban the sale of land to foreigners.

Again nothing new except for the turnaround from a party that did nothing to address this issue while in Government and who actively promoted the sale of land to foreigners.

When announcing their policy on Maori youth the Maori trades training scheme was rolled out as another potential policy winner.

The Maori Party has long been calling for the return of the Maori trades training scheme. We believe that trade training is one tool that could address the rising number of unemployed Maori.

But we have gone one step further rather than replicating the trade training scheme of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

In 2008 we called for greater investment in industry training for those trades with acute skill shortages such as building and construction, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, welders and in growth areas of the economy such as Information Technology and Creative Innovation.

You only need to look at how our young people are embracing social and digital media to see that there is a real opportunity for young people to gain valuable skills and work in a sector that excites them and will provide an income.

From a personal perspective my husband’s trade of brick laying and plastering has meant that he has been able to be self employed and my whanau has been set for life.

I hope the Labour Party is genuine in wanting to advance these policies but I have grave doubts that this shift in their thinking is nothing more than a play for votes.

The reality is they had nine years to implement policy that would benefit Maori so forgive me for being cynical but I have been there and heard all the rhetoric before.

The proof will be in the pudding and the Maori Party will be there holding them to their word.


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