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Public Won't Be Fooled By Fiscal Cap Posturing

The Government is fooling no-one with its posturing over the Treaty settlement process, National's Maori Affairs Spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu said today.

In Parliament today Paul Swain, speaking on behalf of Margaret Wilson, dodged direct questions about how much extra the Government is willing to spend on Treaty settlements.

"The closest Mr Swain came to giving an answer was when he said 'Claims will be settled... on a case by case basis, within the fiscal limits of the government's ability to pay'. That's meaningless in Maori, English or any other language.

"It does nothing to give certainty to claimants, who now have no fiscal limits on which to base their expectations.

"Increasing people's expectations without a determination to follow through leads to disappointment, which at worst could derail the settlement process.

"This is a real risk, particularly in light of the fact the Government also appears to be considering a watering down of the role of the Waitangi Tribunal.

"All New Zealanders want to see progress. If this is the best the Minister can come up with after 8 months on the job then it's a sad day for everyone," Mrs te Heuheu said.

Ends

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