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Helen Clark: Dishonest, Or Out Of Touch?

Helen Clark: Dishonest, Or Out Of Touch?

Prime Minister Helen Clark's comments on ZB radio this morning, concerning amendments to the Resource Management Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, reveal either her lack of understanding or her propensity to obvisacate or distort facts, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley said today.

"The Prime Minister was responding to interviewer Paul Holmes on the deletion from the RMA No 2 bill of references to `ancestral landscapes', `cultural landscapes' and `spiritual resources'," Mr Shirley said.

"Ms Clark blamed the Select Committee for inserting these phrases, implying that it was not the deliberate policy stance of Government.

"It is true that the 1999 Resource Management Amendment Bill No 1, introduced by the former National Government, did not contain these phrases. They were, however, included in the Select Committee's 2001 report, with the Labour Government exerting its majority.

"The Government then left this Bill languishing on the parliamentary order paper from May 2001 to March 2003, at which time it introduced a new bill - the RMA Amendment Bill No 2 - under urgency, and refused the public the opportunity to make submissions.

"Opposition parties have been remonstrating strongly against these vague nebulous phrases, which can only serve to further compound the problems associated with the RMA.

"The No 2 bill containing these phrases was a Government bill in the name of Environment Minister Marion Hobbs.

"It is dishonest for Helen Clark to now suggest that her Government was not the architect of these concepts, and it is clear that it has only backed down due to the concerted effort of the Opposition parties supported by United Future.

"The true measure of Government insincerity on this issue is its failure to remove the wahi tapu provisions, which it has now elevated to a matter of national significance.

"Earlier this year, Helen Clark appeared on a television programme placating incensed residents of Welcome Bay, Tauranga, by telling them that wahi tapu measures were to be managed at the discretion of local authorities.

"It is now clear that, at the same time, she was chairing a Cabinet approving the RMA No 2 bill that specifically removed the discretion of local authorities by elevating wahi tapu to a matter of national significance.

"It is wrong in principle for a persons' private property rights to be curtailed or diminished through planning laws which use vague undefined spiritual claims" Mr Shirley said.

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