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Mystery Over Turia's "Colonisation" Speech

1 July 2002

A speech by Associate Health Minister, Tariana Turia, blaming "mental illness, criminal offending and other social problems" amongst Maori on "colonisation" must be a great embarrassment to Prime Minister Helen Clark, says National MP Murray McCully.

It has also raised Opposition questions because of the failure of the Minister's office to circulate it to the Parliamentary Press Gallery in the normal manner.

The speech to Te Whare o Rangatuhi today is described by Murray McCully as "vintage Tariana Turia".

"In the speech Mrs Turia appears to be claiming colonisation for every ill afflicting Maori. It was therefore disappointing to discover that Mrs Turia had not distributed her speech to the Press Gallery, potentially depriving the nation of her views.

"I am pleased to distribute it on her behalf, but puzzled, never-the-less, as to the reason the speech was not distributed. Given that the Prime Minister's office vets all Mrs Turia's speeches.

"Did Helen Clark approve the speech on the condition that it not be distributed? Did Mrs Turia's staff distribute it, only to be furtively followed by one of the Prime Minister's media staff re-gathering them? Or did Mrs Turia, for some reason, not submit the speech for the required vetting by the ninth floor?

"Whatever the reason for the oversight, it must be hugely embarrassing to Helen Clark now that the speech will be widely reported."


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