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National forces Govt into back-down on pamphlets

Hon Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Local Government Spokesman

24 July 2003

National forces Govt into back-down on pamphlets

The National Party has forced the Government into an embarrassing back down on misleading pamphlets designed to inform the public about the new Local Government Act.

"By the Minister's own admission, the pamphlets are misleading," says National Party Local Government spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

"Now Chris Carter's being forced to withdraw and replace them at extra cost to the taxpayer.

"The pamphlets were put together by the Department of Internal Affairs but Mr Carter has admitted in Parliament today that he saw a draft," says Mr Brownlee.

"It would seem we now have another Minister who fails to read the material which is crossing his desk.

"It's concerning that Labour is only taking action because we've caught them out.

"The version designed for distribution among Maori says 'the old Local Government Act didn't include anything about Maori or the Treaty of Waitangi. The new Act has a number of references to Maori, and a Treaty section explaining why there are Maori provisions in the Act.'

"But the version which is destined for the hands of non-Maori said something completely different," Mr Brownlee says.

'Local Authorities do not have Treaty of Waitangi obligations under the Local Government Act (those responsibilities lie with the Crown)' "National believes this is yet another example of Labour's pervasive agenda, where Maori are being given one story and the rest of New Zealand is hearing something completely different," says Mr Brownlee.

"It's a serious breach of trust and it shows why Labour can't be trusted to honestly settle the dispute over ownership of our beaches and seabed.

"National stands for one standard of citizenship, while this Government continues to promote a double standard," Mr Brownlee says.


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