INDEPENDENT NEWS

Is imitation theft or flattery? asks Mâori Party

Published: Mon 27 Oct 2008 05:13 PM
Is imitation theft or flattery? asks Mâori Party
Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader
26 October 2008
Labour’s Maori Affairs policy shows they are completely bereft of ideas, according to the Maori Party.
“When you see how skimpy Labour’s Maori Affairs policy is, it’s not surprising they waited until after we released our policy,” said Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia. “They have no ideas of their own.”
“The nearest thing to new policy has been borrowed from us – such as ideas around developing Maori land, and supporting whanau-led strategies for protecting children at risk. We should feel pleased,” she said.
“However, the main driver of Labour’s policy appears to be fixing up holes, and ‘adding on Mâori’ to existing policy, and that’s disappointing” said Mrs Turia.
“On the critical issue of retaining the Maori seats, you need to read Labour’s words carefully. Helen Clark says Labour supports the Maori Option, which gives Maori the say over the seats. But in reality, until the seats are entrenched, a simple majority in Parliament can abolish them, and Maori have very little say.
“We have drafted a Bill to entrench the Maori seats, and we hope Labour will still be following our lead after the election, when we introduce it,” she said.
“They have agreed to review legislation and policy which we have criticised over the past three years, on treaty settlements, development of Maori land, and marine farming. But they have a long way to catch up, I’m afraid
“Unfortunately Labour has not taken up our education policies, which set out innovative ideas to address problems of retention and graduation in mainstream schools where most Maori children are enrolled.
“On the contrary, seeing that only 138 of 485 kohanga are eligible to offer 20 hours free early childhood education, Labour wants the kohanga to adapt to their discriminatory policy, not the other way round.
“The backbone of Labour’s election strategy has been to buy Maori votes with a rush of last-minute Treaty settlements. However polls are showing that Maori voters do not mistake Labour’s panic for a real commitment to kaupapa Maori.
“Fortunately, Maori voters have a real option this election to give them an independent voice on issues that really count – like poverty, education, recognition of the Treaty, and economic and social development,” said Mrs Turia.
ENDS

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