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Debate Blocked on Treaty Settlement

Debate Blocked on Treaty Settlement

Wednesday 26 Mar 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

ACT Treaty of Waitangi Spokesman Stephen Franks is disappointed the Speaker refused his application to allow Parliament to debate the imminent Deed of Settlement between the Crown and Ngati Awa. The Speaker said it could not be debated because it related only to a proposed deed. But the whole of Parliament knows that the statutes that ratify Treaty Settlements are passed without amendment. So debate after the Deed is signed is futile.

"This Deed abrogates property rights, in breach of Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi. It transfers to Ngati Awa certain parts of Kaingaroa Forest, which are subject to Crown Forestry Licences. The Deed tells Ngati Awa they can charge access fees to licencees for using the existing roads into the forests. But the licencees have already paid for the roads. Their licences and the law setting up the licences say they own them. Ngati Awa will share in the rentals for the land those roads run over. So access fees mean the licencees will now pay twice.

This breaches promises made by politicians excusing the Treaty claim process for years - that no claim can threaten private property rights - the dispute is with the Crown.

"The Prime Minister has said licencees will have to consider their `legal advice' and `remedies'. Repeated assurances in statute and by Ministers that private property rights will not be affected by Treaty settlements, now mean nothing.

"The Crown has told Crown Forestry Licence holders that this Deed is to be the model for many others to follow. This is a massive change in Government policy. Not to have debate is sinister. Every New Zealander should be concerned about Hon Margaret Wilson `s scheme to take away private property rights in order to satisfy the Treaty grievance industry," Mr Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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