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Tame Iti Deal An Invitation To Protestors

National MP and former Conservation Minister Nick Smith says that special funding of roading and the proposal to set aside areas of the Urewera National park for Maori is a nationwide invitation for activists to protest.

"Tame Iti has acquired everything he sought from the long 1998 Lake Waikaremoana protest. The Minister of Conservation is so keen to avert protest action that she is prepared to ignore the advice of her own Department and Conservation Board. This sets a dangerous precedent. It effectively says that if you want more money for roading or parts of a National Park for a marae, just ring Tame Iti," Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith said the Minister was using the issue of safety as a smokescreen for her sell-out to Tame Iti.

"The Department of Conservation is not a roading agency - that is the responsibility of Transit and Councils. The Department does not fund the main Tuapeupe Pass Road through the Urewera National Park and there is no reason to spend $260,000 on this side road except to pacify Tame Iti. This is why the Department and Conservation Board did not support funding the road.

"This cosy deal with Tame Iti is an insult to thousands of ordinary New Zealanders including Maori, who would dearly like their particular road of interest funded and their own special campsite created, but are ignored because they don't break the law," Dr Smith said.

Ends

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