• Wyatt Creech

"Once again Labour is showing it has no new ideas.

"Labour's fallen well short of offering any real alternative answers to removing the gaps in educational achievement, health status and standards of living for Maori," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

"Maori and those working with Maori to improve their circumstances will be very disappointed with Labour.

"Labour's Maori policy falls well short of expectations. It is short on new ideas and solutions.

"Further structural change seems to be Labour's answer to every policy area. Getting on and delivering better social services is National's.

"National will continue with getting on with the job of ensuring health, education and welfare work together to get solutions to lift the overall well being of all Maori.

"We are working aggressively with Maori communities to get on top of some of the poor health and education statistics and ensure everyone has the skills to get jobs.

"Programmes like Family Start, Strengthening Families, getting more young Maori into early childhood education, financial incentives for Maori and speakers of Te reo Maori to train as teachers. The Maori Provider Development Fund is also working to deliver social services like health to Maori by Maori.

"We're doing more to lift educational achievement and there are big campaigns underway to raise awareness about Maori education achievement, and expectations about what Maori children can achieve at school.

"The Low Deposit Rural Housing scheme is designed to improve living circumstances for Maori in rural Northland and remote areas of the East Coast.

"National has introduced a Business Development Programme giving Maori businesses and Maori providers the ability to determine their own needs, and determine the best way in which these can be met. There's also the Maori Training Programme piloted in two areas over the next two years to help Maori in to permanent jobs."