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National Prepared To Take On Treaty Challenge

7 May 2002

National Prepared To Take On Treaty Challenge While Labour Silent

If New Zealand is to move forward as a country there must be one standard of citizenship for all, National Party Leader the Hon Bill English said in a lecture to the New Zealand Centre for Public Law today.

"National rejects claims for Maori separatism. Such claims are neither supported by the Treaty nor by the reality of our common citizenship as New Zealanders. By 2040 as our population mix changes, the New Zealand people will be more of a fusion; one people; not Maori and Pakeha.

"In recent years there are those who argue that Maori have a right to separate sovereignty from the crown. This has arisen because they have misinterpreted Article 2 of The Treaty and the meaning of Tino rangitiratanga.

"Tino rangatiratanga has a place. It affirms self -determination, but not a separate and unextinguished sovereignty over lands and taonga. Article 2 signals to Government that its policies should encourage self-reliance and self-determination at an individual as well as a tribal level, rather than dependency. This is a sound principle for all New Zealanders.

"National is willing to lead a much needed public debate on the role of The Treaty. National has made a clear commitment to put right the wrongs of the past by settling historic breaches of the Treaty by 2008.

"Labour cannot continue to leave the public in the dark by remaining silent about its own agenda or permitting judicial activism on how the Treaty should be applied.

"National is willing to front up and pick up the challenge for all New Zealanders by explaining where it stands. It is time the Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Labour government did the same, says Mr English.

Ends

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