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Clark Waitangi Day Decision A Cop-Out

Clark Waitangi Day Decision A Cop-Out

20 January 2000


Prime Minister Helen Clark’s decision not to go to Waitangi is a cop-out, letting down New Zealanders who are desperate for real leadership on Treaty issues, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

“New Zealanders want courage and confidence and determination in Treaty of Waitangi dealings.

“If the Prime Minister cannot stand at Waitangi to solve the problems New Zealand faces, then where will she stand? She should be prepared to stand up at Waitangi and take the Treaty process forward and be prepared to stare down conflict and delay.

“So much was achieved in the last two years – and I was able to have some very constructive dialogue with Maori. Many issues had been resolved and a lot of progress was made.

“There are issues to debate and discuss regarding the role of woman on the marae and these will not be solved overnight. However, Waitangi Day itself is the real issue.

“Helen Clark has let her own personal disappointment at the way she was treated at Waitangi two years ago get in the way of the genuine national interest. To let personal feelings get in the way of what is expected of her as Prime Minister is not appropriate.

“I hope she will reconsider and attend Waitangi this year, so that we can move forward as two peoples, one nation.”

Mrs Shipley also said she was very surprised that the Prime Minister would not attend commemorations at with the Governor General at Government House in Wellington.

“To ignore the Government House function sends a bad signal that the Prime Minister is happy to snub our national day and I urge her to reconsider,” Mrs Shipley said.


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