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Snippets Heard At The Tariana Turia PM's Presser

Snippets Heard At The Tariana Turia PM's Presser Today

by Kevin List

The following comments were made by the PM Helen Clark at today's 12.10pm PM's press gaggle at Premiere House concerning Tariana Turia and the Seabed and Foreshore issue. Please Note: Some questions have been paraphrased.


"She can abstain or simply be away when the vote is taken … We will then talk about a way of managing through, but as I've indicated earlier I don't intend to elaborate further than that. An abstention or not particapating provides a way through.

"It's fair to say that when you work with people for seven years you get to know them pretty well. When they get to this level of agonising it, (you know) it means a great deal to them.

"I said on the earlier occasion I wasn't going to crush the last vestige of spirit out of people. I want to find ways to include people. But I also have to uphold a fundamental principle, which is a Minister crossing the floor on something like this. It does go beyond what is acceptable.

"However, the caucus have given permission for people not to support the Bill which is the caucus signalling that it also wants to find room for these two [Tariana Turia and Nania Mahuha]."

Q: So she [Tariana Turia] hasn't advised you about anything yet?

A: "No .. I think the options are now very clear.... "

Q: But what about her comments on radio yesterday?

A: "I don't think that was her final position."

Q: If her warrants are lost - how long would this be for - the length of Bill throgh parliament perhaps?

A: "Obviously if someone is so strongly opposed that they are voting against (the Bill) that gives you a time period that would need to be considered.."

Q: What if she joined the Hikoi?

A: "I think it's clearly accepted that as a Minister you wouldn't join a Hikoi. It's also clearly understood by me that if people come to your Marae you have a host function to perform. I expect other Maori leaders to be at Marae on the way that's not an issue for us…That's a conditional responsibility. Joining a march is another matter and that's clearly understood."

Q: How is Tariana Turia's mental state?

A: "People have to believe in something very deeply to agonise like this. I accept that this is an agonising decsion for her. She has been involved with us/this for seven and a half years, four as a Minister. She loves what she's doing, she wants to continue what she's doing. I'm not detecting any desire for Ms Turia to go anywhere. She wants to do continue her work…

"The issue is how to do that, how to carry on through a difficult situation. How to step back while that situation is resolved."

Q So resigning wasn't discussed today?

A: "The only decsion was whether causus would be prepared to accept two people would not be voting for or voting against the bill… caucus has accepted that."

Q: Is there a possibility of a byelection?

A: "I don't think that is Ms Turia's first desire at all is to defy her Ministerial responsibilty. No I don't see that."

Q: The National Party is saying there is one law for Maori and one for Pakeha over Auckland Harbour Bridge issue?

A: "Those are Issues to take up with the Police - personally it's a bit hard for me to see why people who intend to drive a great deal of the way to Wellington need to walk over a bridge."

**** ENDS ****

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