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Maori voice opposition to loss of Privy Council

Maori voice strong opposition to loss of Privy Council

Iwi have indicated in no uncertain terms that despite the Government's so called consultation programme, they're still strongly opposed to the loss of the Privy Council as our final Appeal Court, says National Party Maori Affairs Spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu.

She was speaking from Rotorua where the Justice and Electoral Committee is hearing submissions on the Supreme Court Bill.

"It has been enlightening to witness the very strong objection to the Labour Government's proposal," she says.

The Primary reasons for the opposition given to the Committee included:

* The loss of appeal rights to the Privy Council is seen as a trampling of Maori Treaty rights.

* The Government's consultation programme made no provision for direct dialogue with iwi and hapu on Treaty issues.

* Maori still value access to an independent, and neutral judicial forum, such as the Privy Council, which removes issues from the national and political boundaries of New Zealand.

* And there's a belief that the Government has a hidden agenda based on republicanism and denial of Treaty rights.

"There was also extreme disappointment in relation to the role of the Government's Maori Electorate MP's who are supporting the proposals," she says.

"The strength of the opposition should indicate to the Government that it has no mandate to advance these reforms," Mrs te Heuheu says.

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