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Waitangi Tribunal Dead

Waitangi Tribunal Dead

News that the Crown will not take part in the urgent foreshore and seabed hearing proposed for tomorrow is another indication that the Waitangi Tribunal has lost its clout said ACT's Maori Affairs spokesman Stephen Franks.

"The Crown's submission to the Tribunal yesterday saying it did not want to get involved in adversarial situations with Maori litigants, and it was not ready to participate in any formal hearing, suggests that Prime Minister Helen Clark intends to downgrade the Tribunal. The Crown's submission stated, `No significant changes should be expected in its publicly stated policy'. But no one knows what the publicly stated policy is. It is only a statement of intention to state a policy. This is giving the Tribunal the fingers.

"This development follows shortly after Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia's three new appointments of activists to the Waitangi Tribunal and renders the Tribunal's reputation almost unsalvageable.

"It may as well be dead," Mr Franks said.

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