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Treaty Policy Leaves Unanswered Questions

National's Treaty of Waitangi policy is a good start but it leaves many questions unanswered, ACT's justice spokesman Stephen Franks says.

"National's policy appears to reflect the party's dawning appreciation of their responsibility to do something about the damage to our law and constitution suffered at the hands of both National and Labour," Mr Franks said.

"But the unanswered questions include:

- What will they do about references to so-called `principles' of the Treaty, in legislation? Their announcements imply that they want to draw a line under historical claims - but the most sinister are the so-called contemporary claims such as claims for rights to a separate justice system.

- What about fanciful claims that are getting serious treatment from the courts, including radio waves, flora and fauna as taonga?

- What will they do to ensure that Maori, like all other New Zealanders, can have a choice in education, with the ability to teach their children their culture as they choose, provided a core curriculum is met?

- Will they commit to ending Maori seats in Parliament, and other affronts to the democratic principle of one person, one vote?

- Will they reverse the special place of Maori superstition, which undermines the neutrality of the secular state?

"This is a good start. But is National simply making token gestures or is it a real move towards the colour-blind state that the Treaty set out to create? If they really meant it, they could say simply they will not support discrimination by the state on the grounds of race," Mr Franks said.

Ends

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