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PM's Presser: Civil War, Brash & Being Kiwi

Prime Ministerial Press Conference 2nd August 2004

Civil War, Peters On Brash & Being Kiwi

By Kevin List

In This Edition:
Maori Language Commission CEO Haami Piripi's Foreshore & Seabed Submission
Winston Peters Comments On Don Brash
The Refusal To Allow David Irving To Visit NZ
Re: Reported 'Utu' Changes To The Maori Fisheries Bill
Whether The PM Or Trevor Mallard Are 'Indigenous'
Question of the day (from the Christchurch Press)


Maori Language Commission CEO Haami Piripi's Foreshore & Seabed Submission

Prime Minister Helen Clark appears to have softened her stance against Maori Language Commission chief executive Haami Piripi over his submission that the Foreshore and Seabed Bill might start a civil war.

Answers relate to the political fallout and teeth gnashing following the discovery by the media that Maori Language Commission chief executive Haami Piripi had made a submission to the Foreshore and Seabed Bill. The submission by Mr Piripi was evidently put together with some vigour and asserted that the current Seabed and Foreshore bill may start a civil war. Opposition parties, particularly those with a rightward leaning were of the opinion that Mr Piripi should be severely chastised and preferably sacked for his impassioned pen to paper participation in the democratic system. The Government whilst less than pleased with Mr Piripi's desire to fully participate in the select committee system considered that until new legislation was passed (Public Finance Bill) there was no grounds to sack Mr Piripi.

"No at this time legislation is such that he is responsible to his board the Maori Language Commission. They in turn are accountable to the Minister of Maori Affairs. But it has been a general concern of Government's for quite some time, that predates our Government, that there should be clearer guidelines around behaviour ethics standards from Crown Entities and Crown Agencies that is why there is legislation in front of Parliament at the moment which has a proposal in it that the State Services Commissioner may set minimum standards of integrity and conduct to apply to Crown Entities. And the State Services Commission would be expected to provide leadership and guidance on ethics values and standards. Currently that is confined to the core public service.

"Clearly it is inappropriate [Mr Piripi's submission] but there isn't an ability at this time - the State Services Commission to have the role that I have just outlined. That is in the legislation currently before Parliament.

"The Minister will have to consider what course he takes. His first course will be to talk to the Chair of the Commission and seek some explanation. I imagine before they provide an explanation they would need an explanation from the Chief Executive [Mr Piripi].

"I have read the transcript of one of Mr Piripi's interviews this morning…while I didn't hear it I could see coming through the transcript that he feels, well, apologetic, I think would be the right word. Because he on several occasions said that he apologised for the concern he'd obviously caused. So I think that it is helpful that he realises that a public servant of some thirty years standing that he…he went too far. I think we need to take the matter from there.

"I think that clearly in the position he holds what he did wasn't appropriate."

"He [Mr Piripi] did appear to think that he had the same right as any other individual to make a submission. But I'm afraid that if you elect to take a full time salary from the State and to serve the government of the day, whoever it is, you have higher responsibilities. If you want a career as an outspoken political activist you need to bear that in mind when considering what employment to take."


Winston Peters Comments On Don Brash

Answers relate to a speech given by Winston Peters in which Mr Peters railed against the New Zealand media and their coverage of the Government's largest opposition party (National). Mr Peters was incensed that alleged ructions within the National Party were not being either investigated or reported by the New Zealand mainstream media and implied that Don Brash was getting an easy ride.

Concerned that Mr Peter's allegations of media bias (by both foreign and New Zealand owned media) may not actually make it into the morning's papers, Scoop alerted the Prime Minister.

"I haven't read Winston's speech"

Question: "Do you think that Don Brash is getting an easy ride in the mainstream media?"

"Well I don't intend to utter an opinion."


The Refusal To Allow David Irving To Visit NZ

Answers relate to controversial British historian and Holocaust denier, David Irving being informed by the New Zealand Immigration Service that he was prohibited from entering the country.

"It is not their [the New Zealand Immigration Service's] decision. What they have said is that the way our law is written [is that] if he [David Irving] has been deported from another country then he is automatically denied entry to New Zealand. So, it would take a special directive, a positive directive, to give him entry and that I would imagine would have to come up to the level of the Minister and I would be astonished if a Minister made a positive step to allow him [Mr Irving] to enter."


Re: Reported 'Utu' Changes To The Maori Fisheries Bill

Answers relate to an article in the New Zealand Herald which suggested there may be possible changes to the Maori Fisheries Bill. The Herald reported that some within Maoridom were accusing the government of enacting "revenge" for their respective iwi's stance on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.

"The Herald reported that those were allegations that others were making and I can assure you there is absolutely no substance to the Government seeking revenge on anybody, nor has the government gone into the Fisheries Allocation Bill with a desire to add more Iwi. Obviously some have made submissions directly to the Select Committee to argue for a status that they haven't yet managed to persuade the Maori Fisheries Commission to give them."


Whether The PM Is 'Indigenous'

Answer relates to a question regarding whether the Prime Minister considers herself indigenous and relates to a speech given by Hon Trevor Mallard, in which, Mr Mallard explored the concept of his own connection with the land (Wainouimata).

"I consider myself a New Zealander full stop"


Question of the day (from the Christchurch Press)

Question: Prime Minister, some of us were admiring your jacket. Is there a special occasion?

"It comes from the person who usually does my clothes, Jane Daniels. As I'm launching a new convention centre concept at the Aotea centre I thought it might be an appropriate occasion."


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