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Talks the Treaty Talk, But Where's the Walk?

Talks the Treaty Talk, But Where's the Walk?

ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks will today listen carefully to New Zealand First as the Ngati Tama Claims Settlement Bill goes through its final stage - yesterday they voted down all ACT amendments to replace `principles of the Treaty of Waitangi' in the settlement bill with a simple reference to the plain words of the Treaty itself.

"New Zealand First has certainly talked the talk with ACT in demanding that Labour explain the so-called principles of the Treaty. There has never been a proper answer to repeated questioning throughout this year," Mr Franks said.

"I felt sure the Peters Party would oppose any further use of words in law which can be twisted to mean whatever a politically correct politician wants them to. Why did they vote for more legislation which creates unrealistic expectations and will lead to further grievance?

"Labour says Parliament can only rubber stamp its Treaty deals. So my original amendment - to have the Bill state that the settlement agreement would be read as if the meaningless principles statements referred to the Treaty itself - was rejected as out of order. But I was surprised New Zealand First did not support ACT MP Heather Roy's improved version - which provided that, whatever the words the agreement used, Parliament's law would apply only words found in the Treaty itself. They are capable of clear application.

"The Winston Peters has been the scourge of Attorney-General Margaret Wilson and the Prime Minister, challenging the use of the so-called principles. But he seems to feel there is enough political credit in asking what these principles are. Surely he can't think it's enough to make a fuss, and still vote for these words even when there's been no answer.

"Talking the talk is fine, but walking the walk on the grievance industry requires parties to put their votes where there mouths are. ACT New Zealand will not be supporting anymore settlements until the weasel words are gone," Mr Franks said.

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