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Radio spectrum deal dangerous precedent

Lockwood Smith

Opposition Commerce Spokesperson

4 May 2000

Radio spectrum deal dangerous precedent

The Government is treading on dangerous ground with its new radio spectrum deal that is only designed to placate Maori members of its caucus, Opposition Commerce spokesperson Lockwood Smith said today.

"Government Ministers are in big trouble with Labour and Alliance Maori MPs over the radio spectrum auction - but they face bigger problems down the track if they go ahead with Trevor Mallard's plan.

"Neither Labour nor National believe there's a Treaty right attached to the spectrum.

"But this latest proposal gives Maori preferential and special access to the radio spectrum.

"The Government is setting a worrying precedent.

"The Government could be forcing itself into a corner, and find itself open to a range of claims and demands relating to things such as minerals and hydro-electricity that aren't legitimate under the Treaty.

"The Government has a big problem on its plate trying to manage its own internal problems with its MPs - but resolving it by creating a huge set of new problems for the rest of the country is irresponsible."

Ends


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