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Cuppa places Maori interests in too-hard basket

Georgina te Heuheu National Maori Affairs and Treaty Negotiations Spokesperson

27 February 2002

Government's cuppa places Maori interests in "too-hard basket"

"Government is placing Maori interests in the too-hard-basket with its plans for a two-year aquaculture moratorium," says Georgina te Heuheu, National's spokesperson for Treaty Issues.

"While the Government talks big about what it is doing for Maori, its actions in legislating to place a two-year moratorium on all aquaculture resource consents will be a giant leap backwards for Maori".

Mrs te Heuheu says 90 per cent of the applications put in the too-hard-basket are from Maori and Iwi fisheries organisations.

"Not only will Maori lose millions of dollars invested in the application process, it will also be a major blow to those Maori who are looking to break the cycle of dependency and create a sustainable economic base for their people.

"Maori Members of the Government are strangely silent on the issue. Maori voters elected six Labour Members of Parliament expecting some action - they were duped.

"What they got were six possums caught in the headlights, while the Labour/Alliance Government juggernaught of welfare-dependent policies steams down the road at full speed."

Mrs te Heuheu says National started the Treaty Settlement process with the aim of restoring an economic base to Maori so they could strive for self-sufficiency and be released from the welfare trap.

"However, the current Government's actions in introducing the moratorium will set Maori efforts in this area back a decade. It also sends the wrong signal.

"Just when Maori fishery organisations are attempting to invest in future earnings and provide employment opportunities the Government comes along and says - 'This is an administrative nightmare - we had better stop for a cup of tea'.

"Just because some Regional Councils haven't got their acts together, this shouldn't be a reason to put back economic development in New Zealand by an estimated $200 million*.

Mrs te Heuheu says the Government's inaction equates to a $200 million cup of tea.

"This country simply can't afford it. We saw what happened to the country when David Lange paused for a cup of tea.

"The Prime Minister should sack some Ministers to get some action. Otherwise these ineffective Ministers, along with their six furry Possum friends, will become the most expensive hangers-on this country has ever paid for," Georgina te Heuheu concluded.

Ends

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