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The Government needs to explain how it will ensure Māori continue to make real progress, after axing the public targets which have helped drive improvements in everything from education to immunisation, National’s Crown/Iwi Relations spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“The Better Public Services targets have had an immense impact on the lives of New Zealanders – and led to real improvement in the lives of Māori.

“The National-led Government focused on working alongside Māori to make real inroads in areas including child immunisations, crime, economic development, education and domestic violence, leading to real results including:

  • Almost 75 per cent of Māori 18-year-olds achieved NCEA Level 2 in 2016, up from just 57 per cent in 2011
  • 95 per cent of Māori children are now participating in early childhood education, up from 90 per cent in 2011
  • The number of children who experience physical abuse has reduced by 3 per cent – significantly better than the total population
  • A 38 per cent reduction in Māori Youth Offending between 2010 and 2016
  • 6 per cent of 8-month-old Māori children were immunised in 2016, up from 75.1 n 2012

“These represent real progress for Māori, and a platform to continue to build on and that’s exactly what should be happening.

“Taking these goals away will mean a less-focused public service, right when it was preparing to take the next steps to really dig into the hard core drivers of deprivation and to make real, long term changes for the better.

“Put bluntly, you can’t meaningfully progress on these complex societal challenges if you aren’t prepared to articulate and measure the change you seek – you just end up with words and good intentions.

“Coupled with this Government’s arrogant and paternalistic approach to Maori leadership there’s a real chance that this recent progress will be halted and that cannot be allowed to happen.

“The Government needs to show leadership and work with Maori, not abdicate its accountability while dictating an unclear path to progress.”

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