Prime Minister Helen Clark should listen to the advice of the Maori Queen when it comes to “closing the gaps” for Maori,
ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.
At the weekend Dame Te Atairangikaahu, in her role as the patron of the Maori Women’s Welfare League, asked at the
opening of the league’s conference in South Auckland, if Maori women were waiting for Helen Clark to say where they
should be heading, when the women were old enough to make up their own minds.
The Prime Minister was the keynote speaker at the conference and said progress on closing the gaps between Maori and
Pakeha would not be seen for a generation.
“The Maori Queen made it clear that Maori were capable of knowing how to handle their own affairs, yet the Prime
Minister is determined to ensure the Government has a heavy hand in the issue,” Dr Newman said.
“What ever spin the Prime Minister wants to put on it, the fact is the Government’s plans of reducing so-called
disparities was very much about Maori having to adopt Labour-driven ideological aspirations, rather than their own,” she
A report, tabled in Parliament last week by Dr Newman, “Maori Socio-economic Disparities Papers for the Ministry of
Social Policy,” by Simon Chapple, clearly showed that over the last decade, the disparities between Maori and non-Maori
had been reducing not growing.
“The Chapple report shows that Maori are quite capable of closing the gaps themselves. “While they don’t need
ethnically-driven laws which treat Maori as failures, they do need policies that create jobs and growth, that ensure
excellence in education and health, and that maintain an open competitive labour market,” she said.
“The Maori Queen is right. Maori women do know what the answers are – they just need the right political support and
confidence to see them through,” Dr Newman said.
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at