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Media Release on Govt. Accord: Methodist Church

Media Release on Govt. Accord

The Methodist Church welcomes the Ministerial Committee on Poverty, announced in the Relationship Accord between The Māori Party and the National Party.

The Methodist Church has high hopes that this committee will start us on a pathway to reducing poverty. At the recent Annual Conference the Methodist Church President John Roberts said ‘the pay gap is the moral issue of our time’. At the Conference there was discussion of inequality with a strong message that the poverty currently in New Zealand is an affront to a fair society. Methodist members supported ways of redistributing wealth to ensure that people can participate and meet their basic needs.

The Methodist Church applauds the way the Committee is set up to include Health, Housing, Education, Maori Affairs, Social Development and Employment. This collaborative approach is one of the keys to tackling the complex issues of poverty effectively. The 6 monthly reports will provide accountability for the effectiveness of these measures.

This agreement shows that MMP makes political agreements possible that would otherwise be submerged in economic agendas. In this case the Māori Party have ensured that the interests of about 22% of New Zealanders living in poverty, including a high proportion of Māori and Pasifika families, are included in government responsibilities. The dominant Government agendas of economic growth and deficit reduction cannot overlook the ethical priority of reducing the vulnerability of families from poverty.

This Accord shows the Treaty of Waitangi at work in Government. The Māori Party are taking the lead in addressing poverty and associated issues of housing, education and employment. The recommendations of the Land and Water Forum are also a feature of the Accord, which highlights the action needed on water quality and water allocation by Government.

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