23 Feb 2012

MFAT proposes scrapping Maori policy unit

8:01 pm on 23 February 2012

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is proposing to scrap its Maori policy unit and to hire a kaumatua.

On Thursday, it confirmed that 305 jobs are expected to be cut as part of restructuring plans.

Of those, 169 are of New Zealand staff, both at home and abroad, with the remaining 136 employed locally at posts overseas.

The ministry aims to save $20 million to $25 million a year.

MFAT chief executive John Allen says it has reviewed the function of the Maori Policy Unit and is looking to make changes.

He says it is proposing to do away with the Maori unit and to allow Maori policy to be carried across all areas of the ministry.

Mr Allen says the ministry is also considering the idea of hiring a kaumatua, or elder, in a cultural support role for Maori.