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Labour set to divide over policy of division

Labour set to divide over policy of division

The Maori members of Labour's Caucus have every reason to feel betrayed by the Prime Minister, according to National Party Leader Bill English.

"The National Party agrees with Helen Clark's strong view that oil and gas reserves should not be part of future Treaty settlements, but she must now tell us how that view fits with her Government's other policies.

"Less than a month ago Michael Cullen was saying Maori 'treasures' were protected," Mr English notes.

"These can still be regarded very broadly as some form of property rights which, being guaranteed to Maori by the Treaty, do not apply automatically by virtue of the Treaty to other New Zealanders.' - Michael Cullen 27 April 2003

"New Zealanders need to be given some certainty about the Government's treatment of Maori, because they're justifiably confused by the mixed messages they're getting from Labour.

"It's easy to understand why Labour's Maori caucus members would be upset with Helen Clark, after building up false expectations over a number of years.

"Just three years ago she reigned in Paul Swain for rejecting suggestions that oil and gas could be a target for future treaty settlements," Mr English says. "Those false expectations have also been fuelled by the Government's promotion of policies that separate out Maori interests.

"Helen Clark herself has been caught out in the past couple of weeks promoting Labour's policy of division in amendments to the RMA," he says.

"Now that Tariana Turia has broken ranks the pressure must go on Labour's other Maori MP's to lay their cards on the table.

"They will be failing in their duty as elected Maori representatives if they don't speak up," Mr English says.

© Scoop Media

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