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United Calls For Waitangi Focus To Be Broadened



United New Zealand Party leader, Hon Peter Dunne, is calling for the focus of Waitangi Day to be broadened to become a true national day.

Mr Dunne says New Zealand lacks a genuine national day, with Waitangi Day being the closest approximation of a founding day because of the Treaty.

"However, it is not a true national day for many people."

"The problems that have plagued Waitangi Day in recent years have demeaned its spirit, and when this is coupled with the increasing multicultural diversity of modern New Zealand, the time has surely come to broaden the day's focus to become a genuine national day, which we can all embrace and be proud of."

"I want to see us invoke once more the vision of Norman Kirk and his advocacy for a genuine New Zealand Day as 'an event of great importance in the development of racial understanding and national consciousness in New Zealand,'" he says.

Mr Dunne wants to see the Kirk Government's policy of renaming Waitangi Day as New Zealand Day restored, and he is drafting a Member's Bill to achieve that, which he wants to introduce to Parliament this year.

"Prime Minister Helen Clark is striking the right tone with the way she is celebrating Waitangi Day this year, and we should build on her approach by restoring the notion of New Zealand Day."

"Commemorating the signing of the Treaty would obviously and properly remain an important part of the day's ceremonies, but a broadened focus under the name New Zealand Day would also provide a powerful opportunity for embracing our increasing social and cultural diversity in a more equal and obvious way."

"Renaming February 6 as New Zealand Day would be a clear acknowledgement of our growth and maturity as a nation, and a powerful sign of our commitment to a new, more inclusive way of doing things at the start of the 21st century."

"It would be great to think we could celebrate our first New Zealand Day on 6 February 2001," Mr Dunne says.


New Zealand's Liberal Party

Parliament Buildings, Wellington 1.
h (04)471 9410 or (025) 469 808. Fax (04)499 7266.
e-mail: peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz. Internet Address: http://www.united.org.nz

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