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Rip Van English Re-Announces Failed Old Policy

29 April 2002

Rip Van English Re-Announces Failed Old Policy Act Party Struck Down By Selective Amnesia

“National Party Leader Bill English has thrown one more desperate dice in announcing his party’s election year policy on Treaty of Waitangi grievances,” New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said today.

“One wonders whether Mr. English has been in a Rip van Winkle-like sleep, for the ‘new policy’ announced today is exactly the same as that announced by Jim Bolger in 1990, strangely enough an election year too.

“In advising the National leadership against such a plan back then I suggested that the effect would be to divert attention from the real issues that the vast majority of Maori and New Zealanders generally would like to see resolved. Labour’s pursuit of a similar agenda has failed miserably and National is offering nothing new.

“National’s requirement that all claims will be filed by the end of next year and its claim that they will be settled within five years are election year puffery. The policy has not worked before because it cannot.

“Education is the key to upward mobility. Without it our citizens are condemned to a narrow range of options and certain failure to reach their potential. The other priorities must be health, housing, and decent incomes.

“Rather than pour resources into separate development we should focus on these priorities for all our youth on the basis of need. And rather than looking back at injustices of the past we should look forward to travelling on a positive, rational and tolerant path towards social cohesion. Mr English is taking his party and New Zealanders down a well worn track to racial disharmony and social chaos.

“As for the Act party, who can’t sort out who their Treaty spokesperson is—Stephen Franks or Rodney Hide-- both of whom put out press releases on the issue, one remains constantly amazed at their gall. It was after all Richard Prebble and Ken Shirley who helped put this failed policy in place. Just one more failed policy for which they refuse to be accountable whilst demanding accountability from others.

“I know both Stephen Franks and Rodney want to be leader, but two press statements within five minutes of each other on the same topic is plainly ridiculous! They must have fought over who caught the first elevator down to the Press Gallery,” concluded Mr Peters.


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