Economic Development (Māori) Spokesperson
20 February 2012
Iwi leaders, Sharples letting our children down
Iwi leaders should spend less time dreaming of ways to profit from sales of state-owned assets, and more time on
salvaging the children of their tribes, says Labour’s Economic Development (Māori) spokesperson Shane Jones.
Commenting on a new Te Puni Kokiri report that government agencies are failing the children of Māori prisoners, Shane
Jones said: “It is hugely ironic that this report has been produced by a government agency that is in the process of
being made anaemic by Māori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.
“Dr Sharples, who is also Associate Education Minister, says schools could be more active helping children of prisoners
so we can prevent a new generation of offenders being created.
“The ‘logic’ is astounding,” Shane Jones said. “On one hand the Government is saying class sizes don’t matter
particularly at the margins, and on the other Pita Sharples wants schools to do more to help our children who are at
risk. And all the while he is also presiding over a department that he is making anaemic at the same time as he is
trying to force greater burdens on it.
“Asking for another review won’t serve any purpose other than to push out the day of reckoning for our children,” Shane
Jones said. “The reality is that our children can’t wait. Tomorrow will be too late for some of them. Next week will be
too late for even more.
“The end of the Māori Party’s love affair with National will come far too late for thousands more.
“There are already reviews into economic, Treaty and constitutional issues. That’s the Māori Party-National coalition
recipe --- if all else fails, have another review.
“Well, we don’t need another review into what happens to the children of prisoners,” Shane Jones said. “We know what’s
happening to them.
“What we need are short, sharp solutions. In the absence of leadership from Dr Sharples, iwi leaders must focus on
salvaging the children of their tribes instead of sucking at the teat of asset sales that won’t solve anything long term
“In times gone by issues concerning our children were often seen as a responsibility for the state,” Shane Jones said.
“Well, the state can’t solve everything, especially when Dr Sharples is ripping the heart out of Te Puni Kokiri. Our iwi
leaders must stand up, if Dr Sharples won’t.”