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Best Reason Yet For Renaming Waitangi Day

PM Provides Best Reason Yet For Renaming Waitangi Day

United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says the Prime Minister is providing the best reason yet for renaming Waitangi Day New Zealand Day through her continued refusal to announce how she will be spending the national day.

"On Morning Report this morning Helen Clark refused to say what her Waitangi Day plans were, and whether she would be participating in any bi-cultural or marae based events that day," Mr Dunne says.

Yet Mr Dunne, who unsuccessfully introduced a Bill to Parliament last year to rename Waitangi Day, says the major reason the Government gave for opposing it was that Waitangi Day was about the special relationship between Maori and the Crown, symbolised by the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and should not be diminished in any way.

"Now, less than a year later, the Prime Minister will not even say whether her Waitangi Day plans include any events with any link at all to marking the signing of the Treaty."

"She is instead hinting that she may be taking a more multicultural approach to the day, something I applaud, if it is correct," he says.

However, Mr Dunne says that such an approach would contradict the Government's strongly stated view at the time of his Bill that Waitangi Day was the day to commemorate the link between Maori and the Crown, and should not be diminished or broadened in any way.

"Now Helen Clark seems to be moving to adopt Norman Kirk's view, which I have always supported, that Waitangi Day is not just for Maori, but is an occasion for all New Zealanders, whatever their origins, to celebrate the unique gift we all possess by virtue of being New Zealanders."

"In making clear her preference for celebrating Waitangi Day more broadly the Prime Minister is providing the best reason yet for renaming the day as New Zealand Day," Mr Dunne says.


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