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Majority Of New Zealanders 'Non-Citizens'

New Zealanders who are non-Maori, non-Pacific Islander or non-ethnic are being treated as non-citizens by the Government in its public consultation over the Gaming Review, National MP Murray McCully said today.

The Government has published a booklet entitled 'Gaming Reform in New Zealand' and has held 15 meetings around the country.

Department of Internal Affairs documents state that the purpose of the meetings is 'to enable the public to have input into the form the new legislation takes'. Yet, Mr McCully points out, New Zealanders who are not Maori, Pacific Islander or ethnic are "virtually totally excluded from the process."

"Five of the meetings are listed as having a target audience of Pacific Islanders. Four are listed as targeting ethnic communities. One meeting will exclusively target Maori. Four more meetings had a target audience of 'Maori, general public and special interest groups'.

"The venues for those four meetings provide a good indication that they would not attract a broadly based audience. They were to be held at Nga Hau Wha Marae, Te Kupenga o te Matauranga Marae, Te Ao Marama Hall, and Te Puea Memorial Marae. These are hardly venues designed to provide convenient and meaningful input from the majority of non-Maori New Zealanders.

"There was only one meeting targeting the 'general public', held at the Christchurch East School Hall.

"The only conclusion to be drawn is that the Government regards those New Zealanders who are non-Maori, non-Pacific Islander and non-ethnic as non-citizens. It has certainly made no credible provision to take their views into account.

"This so-called public consultation process is political correctness gone mad. The existing date of 30 April for concluding consultation needs to be extended and there needs to be a meaningful programme devised to consult the majority of New Zealanders - people the Government would obviously prefer to be silent," Murray McCully said.


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