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Govt pushes Treaty's 4th Article despite denials

Government pushes Treaty's 4th Article despite denials

The National Party has uncovered a string of official Government papers that refer to the Treaty of Waitangi's phantom Fourth Article, an article that Labour agrees does not exist, according to National Party Leader Bill English.

"The Government has acknowledged that the Fourth Article of the Treaty does not exist.

"If that's the case, why have we found references to it in a series of public documents?" asks Mr English.

The Fourth Article was a spoken assurance in 1840 of religious rights and freedoms, but it was never given legal standing by inclusion in the Treaty of Waitangi.

"But now we know the Government's been using references to the phantom Fourth Article when educating public servants on the Treaty," Mr English says.

"Information packs handed out to staff at the Government's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences include a detailed explanation of the Fourth Article and Industrial Research has released papers which show its staff are being told exactly the same thing.

"The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences papers also touch on issues including Wahi Tapu, which has been blamed for stalling development in some parts of New Zealand.

"In another case, a training manual handed out to Career Services staff for cultural awareness workshops says 'the Treaty of Waitangi protected Maori culture (in Articles 3 and 4) and power in relation to all they valued.'

"It makes more than just a passing reference to the clause, suggesting the Fourth Article was added because Maori wanted to be sure 'Rangatiratanga would apply over everything'.

"The documents claim the Fourth Article has become a protocol 'a valid part of the Treaty'.

"Why is the Government pouring huge amounts of money into educating our civil servants about an article of the Treaty that does not exist?

"In February Margaret Wilson told Parliament that 'just because people discuss this matter and put it in a working document does not mean that it is Government policy'.

"But it should now be quite clear to any observer that the politically correct Labour Government is not being up front on this issue.

"It's now time for the Government to do what it wouldn't in February, and that's instruct officials to stop using references to the phantom Fourth Article," Mr English says.

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