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Time To Move On

29 April 2002

It is time for New Zealand to move on from grievances over the Treaty of Waitangi, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"Everywhere I travel around the country people want to see progress and unity not delay and diversity.

"I want this nation to be proud of all its history, not tired of hearing about it. National wants to settle historical claims fairly and quickly so New Zealanders can focus on an ambitious future.

"The Labour government have buried this difficult but crucial issue with bureaucracy and incompetence. The Prime Minister has failed to show any leadership or determination. The result is no progress and resentment among claimants and the general public.

"A National Government will require all historic Treaty of Waitangi claims to be filed with the Waitangi Tribunal by 31 December 2003. We will also lead and commit to the settlement of historic claims under the Treaty of Waitangi by 2008.

"National will also dis-establish the Office of Treaty Settlements as the primary negotiating arm of government and establish a Chief Negotiator for Treaty Settlements.

"We will affirm and honour previous Treaty settlements as full and final settlements. National will ensure public access and use when recognising the special relationship and interest of Maori in rivers, lakes and natural resources that are subject to historic claims.

"I challenge the Prime Minister to a public debate on Treaty of Waitangi Claims as she needs to explain to the public why the government is dithering over them, "says Mr English.

Ends

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