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Ed Sheeran

Treaty settlements no substitute for welfare

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Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says treaty settlements aren’t the answer for Maori social ills.

He says while people are concerned infighting within Ngapuhi is slowing the path towards settlement, some of the expectations around what settlements can do is unrealistic.

The experience of Tainui and Ngai Tahu, which settled almost 20 years ago, is funds are used to build up iwi corporations that can survive over the long term.

Some money has been distributed to marae and for education, but the settlements would have made little direct impact on the welfare of ordinary Maori.

"If you ask most people on the street whether it has made a difference in their lives, I suggest to you that the answer is no. Therefore I do not think that we can rely on settlements to address all our ills, but one of the things it is certainly about is re-empowerment of ourselves and a belief in ourselves and that is at the heart of Whanau Ora. Taking back control of our lives and not relying on the state. And where the state does have resources it is appropriate that be made available to people. Why? Because we pay taxes and therefore should get some return on that investment and the government," Mr Flavell says.

He says Maori can also point to huge spending by government in health and education and ask where the return is for Maori from that investment.

Copyright © 2014, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com

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