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Turia's Releases Could be Used in Treaty Claims

Turia's Releases Could be Used in Treaty Claims

When a Minister's official "Press Release by the New Zealand Government" says that state-run "campaigns to prevent family violence and neglect, to improve health, and education ... further undermine rangatiratanga" even this Government must cry taihoa, ACT Treaty Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"The latest Ministerial release by Hon Tariana Turia available on the Government website at http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.cfm?DocumentID=15347 ( http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.cfm?DocumentID=15347) could be very expensive to future New Zealanders. If what Ms Turia has stated is not Government policy, we should see a formal rebuttal. Otherwise the next generation of Treaty grievance claimants can point to Hon Tariana Turia's unrebutted assertion as "oral history". It would be evidence that this was the view of Cabinet and the Government, and that the Government was again knowingly perpetrating a wrong on the Maori people.

"Ms Turia tells New Zealanders things which will startle many scholars. Apparently the Government now thinks "the status and rights asserted in the Declaration of Independence [of the United Tribes of Aotearoa] were guaranteed protection in the Treaty of Waitangi, five years later". Ms Turia says "our people's oral history recorded the history more reliably". New Zealand has suffered enough already from the rewriting of history by the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal, based on "oral history" which was not challenged because of political correctness. Is this happening before our eyes? Ms Turia wants to deal with Maori ills by "digging down to the roots of what's gone wrong. Start with the Declaration of Independence". That is a vital issue and we all need to know what this policy will mean in practice.

"Typically Labour Government members act as if Ms Turia's comments come from disembodied space and need no explanation, apology or rebuttal, however baffling or outrageous they may be. Even the press gallery often ignore Ms Turia's assertions, incomprehensible claims and statements. But this attitude is patronising, even racist. The normal expectations of coherence and logic apply to all Ministers. It is wrong to have a lower standard of performance for Ms Turia. The lower standard lets her be ignored for saying things that would merit hounding anybody else out of office with derision.

"Ms Turia may be correct. Race-targeted programmes do undermine rangatiratanga. A restoration of self-reliance would be far better for Maori than the current welfare-induced decay and fecklessness. But if she is telling us that Government policy is dead wrong we should have far more detail. Perhaps Ms Turia is being more honest than her comrades.

"I call on the Minister in Charge of Treaty Negotiations to tell New Zealanders immediately whether Ms Turia's statements do have the stamp of Cabinet collective responsibility - if not how does the Government disassociate itself? And what steps are being taken to make sure that current racist separate treatment programmes will not be grounds for future Treaty grievance claims?", Stephen Franks asked.

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