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Another step towards separatism

Hon Bill English MP National Party Leader

17 July 2003

Another step towards separatism

Plans for a separate justice system for Maori, to be discussed at a hui in Taupo tomorrow, have been encouraged by the Government's vacillating on moves towards separate development, says Opposition leader Bill English.

"This is yet another example, after the beaches and seabed issue, of just where Labour's policies are taking us - down the road to separate development," he said.

"The Government needs to send strong, unequivocal messages that this separate development will not become policy. By remaining silent and deal-making in secret it is sending confused signals.

"National's stance is clear on this. We believe in one standard of citizenship for all. We are all New Zealanders, with one standard applying to all.

"We will not support a separate system of justice and we will legislate to ensure that the beaches and seabed of New Zealand remain in the hands of all New Zealanders, not just a special few."

Mr English said the prospects of a separate Justice system for Maori, coming on top of Labour's plans for a separate, politically-appointed Supreme Court charged with looking after Maori interests, were alarming.

"National believes this is not acceptable and the Government should try to explain where this is taking us. This is creating false hopes in Maoridom and is increasing divisions. Separate development is not the solution for New Zealand."

Mr English said Labour's mixed messages on the beaches and the seabed issue were especially concerning.

"After initially promising to legislate to ensure ownership remains in the hands of all New Zealanders, Labour has been backtracking and Helen Clark has not been seen.

"We don't know what deals Labour is trying to set up in secret over our beaches and Margaret Wilson refuses to rule out the separate justice system. Every day we seem to get a new and alarming development which Labour is either encouraging or tolerating," Mr English said.

Ends

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