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English Visits Ratana Celebrations

20 January 2002

Bill English Makes Historic Visit To Ratana Celebrations

I am looking forward this Thursday to becoming the first National Party Leader to attend the annual celebrations at Ratana, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"Accompanying me will be a contingent of National MP's and key party members including Georgina Te Heuheu, Gerry Brownlee, Nick Smith, John Carter, Bob Simcock, Simon Power and Wira Gardiner.

" I have been meeting with groups of Maori since I became Leader, and I have enjoyed taking part in robust discussion about politics, accountability, the role of the Treaty and how we can find a way forward.

"I want to attend such events as those held at Ratana as National stands for the national interest and not just those who support us .We intend working for a united New Zealand.

"I have made it very clear I want to see more National Maori members of Parliament and the Maori people I meet want exactly what we stand for - freedom, enterprise and self reliance.

""We can't build unity on what the Government is doing now for Maori - no Treaty settlements, more welfare, more handouts and the soft bigotry of low expectations.

"Clark's Government has decided Maori can have limited opportunity for self -determination and that no-one else is allowed any.

" I don't accept that, we can do better and we will," says Mr English.

Ends

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