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Wilson's Attitude Jeopardises Settlements

Wilson's 'Eat-That' Attitude Jeopardises Settlements

The manner in which the Minister for Treaty Negotiations Margaret Wilson delivered the Rotorua Lakes offer to the Te Arawa people last week threatens to jeopardise the Treaty settlement process, National's Treaty Negotiations spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu said today.

"It shows an appalling lack of judgment and is irresponsible. Furthermore it highlights Professor Wilson's lack of experience in the portfolio and her incapacity to talk face-to-face with New Zealanders."

Mrs te Heuheu said the Minister's announcement to the media of the Crown's offer to settle the Te Arawa tribe's claims to 14 lakes in the Rotorua region directly breached previously agreed Terms of Negotiation between the Crown and the Te Arawa claimants in which the parties agreed that:

A. Negotiations would be conducted in good faith and in a spirit of co-operation. B. Negotiations would be conducted in private and remain confidential unless agreed otherwise C. Media statements concerning the negotiations would be made only when mutually agreed by both parties.

"The Minister's total disregard for basic negotiation principles and agreed terms of negotiation are a huge disappointment for Te Arawa and should be for all New Zealanders.

"The Government's willingness to ride roughshod over people's rights and legitimate expectations smacks of its whole attitude from the day they were elected - 'We won, you lost, eat that'.

"Nobody wants to be told to 'eat that,' not the business community, not John Yelash, not orthopaedic surgeon Joe Brownlee, not Christine Rankin, not Senior Police Officer Brett Marsh, not Te Arawa, nor the tribes yet to settle."

"This Government's 'eat this' attitude is no better than the colonial governments of the past. It's the sort of attitude that led to the grievances in the first place.

Mrs te Heuheu has talked to the Chair of the Te Arawa Trust Board, Arapeta Tahana and other Te Arawa claimants, and said while they were now considering how to deal with the matter, a level of distrust had tainted the negotiations.

"This is the Minister's first attempt at a settlement and Maori are concerned that she has isolated herself. However if she acts now she could help save the situation.

"Face to face and upfront is how you deal with Maori. If Professor Wilson is apprehensive about dealing with Te Arawa face to face, then I would be happy to accompany her to visit the Te Arawa people," Mrs te Heuheu said.

Ends


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