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What Price Will Lee Pay For Holocaust Comments?

A Government Minister has again inflamed race relations using the word "holocaust" in relation to Maori, National Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"At a hui yesterday Conservation Minister Sandra Lee used the term holocaust to describe the experience of Maori."

"Holocaust? In 1840 there were 40,000 of our people in this country. 40 years later there was one quarter left. If that is not a holocaust how does a holocaust word apply to anything?" -- Sandra Lee - Health Hui Christchurch 4.11.00 (TV 3 News)

"Since the Government came to office its handling of Maori issues has seen the sharpest deterioration in race relations I can recall since coming into politics in 1987. Damage is being done - and it will get worse unless the people responsible are brought into line.

"Helen Clark must spell out the price the Conservation Minister will pay for defying her Prime Ministerial 'edict' banning Ministers from using the term to describe the experience of Maori.

"The Prime Minister put Tariana Turia - a Minister outside Cabinet - on notice for using the term and issued an 'edict' against it being used again."

'... that word must never be used again in a New Zealand context. I know the Treaty Tribunal used it with respect to Taranaki; I do not agree with that and I do not want to see Ministers using the term and causing offence again.' -- Morning Report, Monday 4 September 2000

"Sandra Lee is deliberately defying the Prime Minister.

"This is a major test for Jim Anderton - will he back his Minister or act like the Deputy Prime Minister of a united Government and take action against Ms Lee?

"This sort of talk highlights the inherent conflict going on inside Government between the Maori and non-Maori wing. Helen Clark thought her edict would hide the conflict, but it hasn't worked," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends

Regards

Anna Hughes


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