Prime Minister Helen Clark is today addressing the two yearly meeting of the General Synod of the Anglican Church.
Helen Clark said she welcomed the invitation to speak at the meeting in Auckland, at which she would be thanking the
Anglican Church for leading the Hikoi of Hope from all corners of New Zealand to Wellington in 1998.
"The Anglican Church showed great leadership in taking that initiative. It put the issues of poverty, unemployment,
housing, health and education squarely on the public agenda.
"I will be speaking to the synod about the measures the new government has already taken in line with the steps
advocated by the hikoi, and urging the church to continue to play a role in drawing issues of economic, social and other
importance to the government's attention."
Helen Clark said she welcomed dialogue with church leaders and would be inviting the Anglican Church to keep in touch
with her and other government ministers to ensure progress continued to be made on the aims of the hikoi.
"The Hikoi of Hope called for a fresh start and a new direction and the Labour-Alliance government is providing it,"
Helen Clark said.
"The government recognises it has a duty to close the gaps that have opened up between rich and poor – including those
between Maori and Pacific peoples and other New Zealanders.
"The government's first Budget next month will be further evidence of the new vision we have for New Zealand. A strong
feature of that vision is improving outcomes for Maori and Pacific peoples in the key areas of education, employment,
health and housing.
"The 1998 hikoi called for a demand for a new set of values and priorities in government. Our new government is heeding
that call," Helen Clark said.