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Labour's Tangled Web Of Its Own Making

Labour's Tangled Web Of Its Own Making

New Zealand First says the tangled legal mess of oil and gas ownership and Maori rights is a classic case of a Government reaping what it sowed when last in office.

Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters pointed out today that the 1937 legislation nationalised the gas and oil rights of European land owners as well as Maori.

“Unless we “denationalise” these rights, how can the law allow one group of New Zealanders to become the beneficiaries of compensation but deny it to the others?

“The reality is that we are starting to see daily now the inevitable consequences of legislation which gives one group of New Zealanders greater rights than the others.

“This is the indefensible position that Finance Minister Michael Cullen sought to defend a few weeks ago.”

Mr Peters said there was no doubt that the Government was wavering over the issue because cabinet minister Tariana Turia had broken ranks over the issue without any reprimand from the Prime Minister.

“The oil and gas issue is a Pandora’s box opened by the Labour Government of 1984-90 and now it wants to half close it – if the feet coming through are white.

“When the 1937 law was passed the then Labour Government had huge support from Maori. How can some Maori now say that they did not support that law and the Government which passed it?”

Mr Peters said he warned the Lange government at the time that it was heading into dangerous and uncharted legal waters with its Treaty legislation and the Waitangi Tribunal’s latest report showed that the system was a total mess.

“Treaty principles have no place in law. No legal system can function with fuzzy legislation that favours one racial group above the others.”

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