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Labour Made Its Seabed, Now It Must Lie In It

Labour Made Its Seabed, Now It Must Lie In It

Wednesday 16 Jul 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks today said that the Government should not even consider negotiating over foreshore and seabed until it has a clear bottom line - and the 95 percent of New Zealanders who don't believe in race privileges know exactly what that bottom line is.

"Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Helen Clark said she had a bottom line - it did not even last 24 hours. There should be no talk of `guardianship', or any other compromise, until we know that they share the same values as the 95 percent who won't stand for race discrimination - whether through Treaty excuse or any other reason" Mr Franks said.

"Maori now believe they have the Government on the run. The unprepared Prime Minister and Attorney General have done nothing to dispel this belief - if anything, their talk of negotiation has strengthened it.

"There is no place in New Zealand for entrenching privileged access to public land by ethnic or race inheritance qualification. Ethnic discrimination in access to beaches and foreshore is not in the national interest, and there is no reason why Ms Clark should not rule it out immediately and forever - as she purported to do with the oil and gas claim.

"She will not, of course, for fear of upsetting her Maori MPs - it seems their approval is more important than the concerns of ordinary New Zealanders and the rule of law.

"ACT has studied the Appeal Court decision. We believe that current Maori claims are now absurd, and completely unjustified by the Court. The Government's paralysis is feeding the expectations of ordinary Maori who will never read the court decision.

"The Government lost credibility at the first hurdle, but it must ensure that the rights of all New Zealanders are protected - not just those of Labour's chosen few. Labour's dithering must be embarrassing moderate Maori leaders, who will be expected by their followers to keep pushing until they meet resistance.

"Nonsense about negotiation and `guardianship' must end before the Tuwharetoa hui. So far, only ACT has stated a clear blueprint on this issue. It is time for the Government to actually make a stand for ordinary New Zealanders," Mr Franks said.


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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