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National's Policy On Treaty & Citizenship A Sham

24 June 2002

National's Policy On The Treaty Of Waitangi And Citizenship A Total Sham: Peters

“The National party’s claim to be for one citizenship rules and to settle Treaty of Waitangi issues by 2008, considered against their past record when they had the power to do something about these issues, is a total sham,” New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters said.

“I know because I was in the National Cabinet and Caucus and can recall the disputes I had with them and their leader on this very issue, and in fact, was expelled from Caucus in October 1992 because of it. Bill English voted for my expulsion having backed a mindless Maori fisheries policy that created the biggest, most expensive, and longest running dispute between Maori. Almost ten years after the Sealords deal of October 1992, and numerous court cases all the way to the Privy Council costing millions of dollars, no progress has been made at all.

“The same Bill English, on Radio Pacific this morning, duplicitously claimed that I was with Labour on this issue. If one checks the Hansard for October 1, 1992 you will see that every parliamentarian, Labour and National, backed Doug Graham’s Sealords deal – except one – me! My arguments back then have become true. The settlement has been divisive and completely lacking in policy as to what would happen after the deal was signed – hence all of those court cases. When Bill English washed his hands of the deal on radio this morning, saying that it was for Maoridom to sort out, it demonstrated just how bereft of policy he is. I challenge Mr. English to a public debate on this issue where I’ll set out the long running disastrous events of National’s handling of Maori and Treaty issues which now, he says, they are going to sort out. This can be likened to his criticism of Labour’s policy on Maori TV when it was National that set this up in 1995-6, or to Murray McCully’s criticism on Friday night of a $17m slush fund, which was also set up by National. Selective memories!

“To add insult to injury National gave Doug Graham a knighthood for this disastrous legacy: if Bill English is right now then why did they confer a knighthood on Mr. Graham back then? This is two-faced hypocrisy of the worst sort. If he has the courage to front for a debate we will sort that out. If he is prepared to go in the boxing ring with an unknown then why doesn’t he climb into the political ring with me – a not so unknown,” Mr. Peters said.

ENDS

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