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Radio waves: Racism or just corrupt politics

"The Government's offer to Maori of a guaranteed discounted allocation of radio spectrum seems to be racist pork barrelling," says ACT justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

Recent auction sales in the UK saw breathtaking prices paid for spectrum. Telecommunication analysts expect some frequencies to sell for over one million dollars.

"The Government accepted the Waitangi Tribunal dissenting opinion that radio waves were not a Maori taonga. So if this offer is not to settle a claim under the Treaty, then what is it?"

"Mr Mallard is not making the same offer to non-Maori? What constitutional principle allows him to give openly racial preference with taxpayer money?

"Trevor Mallard needs to answer the following questions, if this is not to be another Fisheries Commission, still bickering over ownership a decade later:

1. Who is a Maori in terms of benefiting from this settlement? How will those benefiting know who they are? Who will speak for them and control the assets for them? Will the managers be democratically elected?

2. What protection will the structure have against nepotism and waste?

3. Has he taken legal advice on whether this offer does in fact amount to a recognition of a Treaty claim and, if not, why not, and, if so, what does that advice say?

4. Would he be making this offer if the government's legislative programme was not being held to ransom by its Maori caucus?

"Or is it instead designed to place spectrum under the control of people friendly to the current government? What protection will there be of the neutrality requirements for New Zealand political broadcasting?

"It appears the New Zealand taxpayer may be made to foot the bill for Government endorsed racism," said Stephen Franks.

ENDS

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