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We must care for our most vulnerable whanau - Turia

The Hon Tariana Turia
Maori Party Co-Leader
1 November 2011

Maori Party co-leader, Tariana Turia has today reacted to Government’s announcements around welfare reform by reinforcing the Maori Party’s call for caution in caring for our most vulnerable whanau.

“Let’s be clear - welfare dependency is not a concept supported by our people” said Mrs Turia. “Welfare does not promote purpose, dignity, pride or hope”.

“We remember the korero from Sir Apirana Ngata, and from composers such as Henare Waitoa and Tuini Ngawai. “Hei patu mahara

Patu tikanga a Maori e”. They opposed the benefit, fearing that it would undermine the work ethic of a people; it would attack the memories, it would erode the essence of their souls".

“Maori seek to be self-determining; to be in charge of their own affairs, and being reliant on welfare is not consistent with this view” said Mrs Turia.

“The principle behind the Supported Living Payment reflects the call from disabled persons to be able to take up employment by having the right support in place. I know how strongly they feel about having the opportunity to work; to be involved in meaningful activity which contributes to their sense of self-worth. Work is much more than a pay cheque – it adds to our satisfaction with life”.

“I support the emphasis on what people can do, not what they can’t”.

“We will however be keeping a vigilant eye on this area, to ensure no harm will come to our most vulnerable, particularly our children living in benefit-dependent homes. We also expect that every support is in place to enable single parents to re-enter the workforce – including childcare, transport and study support”.

“Our expectation is that whanau will have adequate income to enjoy a decent standard of living and that they are supported to develop their potential”.

“Maori Party Policy in this regard is very clear:

• We will reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance to support sole parents into work;

• We will support investment in Teen Parent Units

• We will encourage employers to develop part-time and flexible healthy working arrangements and subsidise childcare, to support whanau to benefit from quality time with their children as a vital ingredient in Whanau Ora, and in doing so, addressing time poverty as a cause of stress:.

“Investment in a better future must ensure all people are lifted up to achieve their aspirations – anything less will be actively resisted by the Maori Party”.

ENDS

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