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Govt failed to read controversial Taleban speech

Hon Murray McCully MP National State Services Spokesman

16 March 2003

Govt fails to read controversial speech before delivery

National Party MP Murray McCully's uncovered a paper trail which shows Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres sent his controversial 'Taleban' speech to two Government ministers to read before it was delivered.

"Margaret Wilson and Parekura Horomia were sent copies of this speech the day before it was delivered, now they admit they didn't read it," says Mr McCully.

"It seems George Hawkins isn't the only one who doesn't read his mail," Mr McCully observes.

"The papers also show that almost two weeks before the speech was delivered a draft was circulated to the Race Relations Commissioner's political mates.

"Many of those names have been deleted from the documents and I've asked the chief ombudsman to review those deletions.

"I believe it's in the public interests for us to know who else was involved in the speech preparation," Mr McCully says.

The speech by Mr de Bres in December, compared the colonial history of New Zealand to the activities of the Taleban in Afghanistan.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act also show that the Race Relations Commissioner's speech was sent to members of the Greens and United Future.

"It wasn't sent to National, Act or New Zealand First," Mr McCully says.

"He's showing his political colours in a job that's supposed to be non-partisan.

"The Race Relations Commissioner should not have political favourites," says Mr McCully.

"Mr de Bres also knew his speech was going to be controversial, at one point saying that he thought people might 'need waking up'.

"That's a slap in the face for every New Zealander who thinks the Race Relations Commissioner is there to promote harmony, to bring people together and reduce tension.

"Gregory Fortuin was sacked for less and we'll be urging Margaret Wilson to be consistent when Parliament resumes this week," Mr McCully says.


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