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Waitangi Tribunal And Maori Land Court On Skids

Waitangi Tribunal And Maori Land Court On The Skids

Dr Michael Cullen revealed in parliament today the Government's growing mistrust of the Maori Land Court. He showed they've realised the Court won't haul them out of their seabed and foreshore swamp, and Labour's worry about the second hat worn by Maori Land Court Judges as members of the Waitangi Tribunal said ACT Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks.

"Dr Cullen spoke on behalf of Attorney General Margaret Wilson. I asked whether the Government would undertake that the Maori Land Court will one day be allowed to decide on the claims before it and to define customary property interests as promised by Dr Cullen to the Omaka Hui, and if so how would the principle of `certainty' survive the bias that appears when the same Judges are wearing their Waitangi Tribunal Hats," said Mr Franks.

"The Government now realises it cannot leave the Maori Land Court free to decide on the customary property claims and still win the next election. Maori Land Court Judges have already made too clear their view of the outcome they want.

"This is the unravelling of two decades of political hypocrisy. The Government has to decide between their Treaty industry votes and the votes of all other New Zealanders. We are watching Labour starting to distance themselves from their mates. They have all done so well politically and economically out of the Treaty but the game is up.

"We will see a long period of bitter confusion. The `partnership' myth - `closing the gaps' - and Dr Cullen's own recent speeches promoting the idea of different laws and special privileges based on race, will all disappear. The Government now knows it cannot afford politically to continue with the line it has peddled.

"Dumping the Maori Land Court from the seabed and foreshore solution, and showing mistrust of the Waitangi Tribunal, is the start of a process. It will unfold more quickly than Labour can control. These two institutions may be shot early as Labour Ministers try to save themselves," Mr Franks said.

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