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Cabinet's spectrum decision "racially divisive"

Maurice Williamson
Opposition Information Technology Spokesperson

16 May 2000

Cabinet's spectrum decision "racially divisive"

Cabinet's decision on the auction process for radio spectrum creates problems - and a very nasty precedent, according to National's IT spokesman Maurice Williamson.

"It's agreed by virtually all political parties - including Labour - that there is no valid Treaty of Waitangi claim on the radio spectrum," says Mr Williamson

However the Government is giving Maori special treatment by guaranteeing them a block of the spectrum at a discounted price.

"Quite frankly it's bizarre that this Government should slur the reputation of the Police one week with suggestions of racism - then make a racially inequitable decision the next," Mr Williamson says.

"It's a decision made to calm down Labour's own Maori caucus - who are feeling a bit left out, but it won't close the gaps for Maori - it will just open the racial divide".

Maurice Williamson says there's a real danger in giving one ethnic group a priority in access to any resource.

"The precedent this sets is an alarming one - and you have to ask whether other ethnic groups - such as Asians and Pacific Islanders - mighty not feel equally justified in trying to claim a chunk of a resource which rightfully belongs to all New Zealanders" he says.

He says that precedent paves the way for claims to be made on other resources such as hydro-electricity and minerals, which are not covered by the Treaty.

Ends

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