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Apology Won't Be Required From Lee

Prime Minister Helen Clark says Alliance Deputy Leader Sandra Lee’s use of the word ‘Holocaust’ in a speech was not in defiance of her edict that the word should not be used in the context of colonisation, and says she will not be seeking an apology.

Earlier in the year, Associate Maori Affairs Minster Tariana Turia was asked by the Prime Minister to apologise for calling the 19th century colonisation of New Zealand a holocaust.

Miss Clark said she had asked Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton to speak to Ms Lee about the incident, and said that Ms Lee has agreed that the use of the term was inappropriate.

“The word has been quite liberally used in Maori circles in reference to what happened in the 19th century,” Miss Clark said at today's post-cabinet press conference. “In my view holocaust isn’t an appropriate word to use. Before the mid 20th century the word meant sacrifice by fire, until six million Jews were sent to their death in the 30s and 40s. I strongly believe that the events that happened in Nazi Germany are without precedent or parallel."

The Prime Minister said both the current and the historical meaning of the word ‘holocaust’ did not apply to the colonisation of New Zealand.

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