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ACT Welcomes PM’s Return To Waitangi

Tuesday 15 Jan 2002

ACT leader Richard Prebble has welcomed the decision that the Crown, in the form of the Governor-General, and the government, represented by the Prime Minister, will go to Waitangi on our national day.

"There's no doubt that the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi marks the birth of our nation and it's appropriate that the Prime Minister and the Governor-General be at Waitangi to mark this important occasion," Mr Prebble said.

"The ACT Party believed the Crown's boycott of Waitangi was not sustainable and that the ceremonies would take place this year.

"The whole ACT caucus is going to Waitangi and we made our bookings four months ago. ACT MPs will participate in the day's celebrations, including the dialogue that occurs each year at the marae.

"The ACT caucus has scheduled a three-day retreat in Northland and will be attending other functions in and around the north from February 5 to 8.

"I hope the Prime Minister's statement means that her ban on the navy attending the Waitangi ceremony has been lifted. The navy is justifiably proud of its association with Waitangi and for many years it was the navy that kept the celebration going.

"I also hope that Helen Clark, as a woman Prime Minister, accepts the a challenge to speak at the marae. As I understand it, Mrs Harawira doesn't object to women speaking at the marae, but only that she, as a woman, has been prevented from speaking.

"Considering we now have a woman Governor-General, Prime Minister and Chief Justice, Mrs Harawira has a point. It's time, as Sir Graham Latimer has said, that women in New Zealand are entitled to speak on our national marae," Mr Prebble said.

ENDS


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