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Time To Rename Waitangi Day New Zealand Day

United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne, has renewed his call to rename Waitangi Day as New Zealand Day.

Mr Dunne, who unsuccessfully promoted legislation two years ago to rename Waitangi Day, says events surrounding Waitangi Day 2002 have reinforced the existing day's increasing irrelevance to mainstream New Zealand.

"A national day has to be worth far more than appeasing Titewhai Harawira and an inter-tribal scrap about which marae the Prime Minister will go to at Waitangi, if it is to be honoured by the vast majority of Kiwis."

"It is time to recall afresh the wise words of Norman Kirk in 1973 that February 6th is not just a day for Maori, or for the people of Northland, but for every New Zealander, whatever their circumstances or their origins, to celebrate the unique gift we possess by virtue of the fact that we are New Zealanders."

"The shilly-shallying we have seen in recent weeks over this year's celebrations at Waitangi and the bitterness and protest we have seen in past years are a million miles way from that vision of a genuinely New Zealand Day of which we can all be proud."

"The Treaty of Waitangi is an important event in our history, which ought to be commemorated in the context of our wider nationhood, but its significance and symbolism as the agreement which forged our nation continue to be debased by the bitterness and infighting that surrounds every February 6th."

"A national day founded on bitterness and disunity lacks credibility and fosters cynicism and disillusionment, yet that is precisely what we have at present and is why February 6th is seen by many New Zealanders as just another holiday to go to the beach."

"As a nation we must do better, and that is why I am calling on us to invoke anew the vision of Norman Kirk and rename February 6th New Zealand Day," Mr Dunne says.

Ends

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