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ACT Condemns Racist Radio Auction

ACT has today launched a stinging attack on the Government following the announcement that on the basis of race alone a Maori Trust will be given $5 million and the exclusive right to buy one of four blocks of the (3G) radio spectrum to be auctioned by the Government on July 10 .

Communications Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said the Government’s announcement today sets a very worrying precedent. “This Government has set itself up to offer an alternative channel to the Waitangi Tribunal for Maori making claims. It’s clear from today’s announcement that Labour and the Alliance are a much softer touch,” she said.

“The Government is trying to hide what is blatant racial discrimination in favour of Maori behind the guise of ‘closing the gaps’. This is utter nonsense – the Government in its own question and answer sheet doesn’t manage to answer how the pan-Maori Trust will deliver benefits to Maori,” she said.

“The Government claims that the Trust will ‘deliver benefits to Maori throughout New Zealand’. The only New Zealanders to benefit will be the lawyers and consultants making money over the legal squabbles as Maori try to establish their share of the benefits,” she said.

Muriel Newman said there are crucial questions that neither Trevor Mallard or Dover Samuels answered in their public relations exercise today.

1. Who is a Maori in terms of benefiting from this settlement? How will those benefiting know who they are? Who will determine the distribution of the benefits? How will Maori be able to hold the trust to account?

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

3. What constitutional principle allows the Government to give openly racial preference with taxpayer money?

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

“The spectrum auction is long overdue. It should be being held on a proper commercial basis, creating a level playing field from the start for those buying the frequencies. We should not be having a racist radio auction,” said Dr Muriel Newman.

ENDS

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