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Tau's cultural window dressing

Labour
2000 web siteLabour Maori affairs spokesperson Dover Samuels today condemned Maori Affairs Minister Tau Henare's proposal for all public servants to learn Maori language as being unworkable.

"The practicalities of teaching Maori to all 30,000 public sector employees are enormous, and the expense would be astronomical.

" There are not enough resources to carry out a programme of this kind. There's a shortage of Maori language teachers within schools, let alone the resources to teach all public servants.

" Compulsory courses for public servants to learn Maori would widen divisions in the public sector and create resentment towards Maori language. I would prefer the Minister to encourage public servants to understand Maori culture.

"To prevent Maori language from becoming extinct we must start at home, using the language in our every day lives, a living language, the Government's time would be better spent finding a way to encourage people to teach Maori to their mokopuna.

"Labour supports the promotion of Te Reo Maori and has proved it time and again.
Labour introduced legislation to make Maori an official language of New Zealand through the Maori Language Act and established Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori, the Maori Language Commission.

"Labour strongly supports a voluntary approach to the teaching of Maori as it generates a more genuine response. What Mr Henare is proposing amounts to cultural window-dressing," Mr Samuels said.


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