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Maori Threats In Government Favour

Maori Threats In Government Favour

Monday 8 Dec 2003
Stephen Franks
Press Releases -- Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

Maori threats of Christmas beach occupations are political music to Government ears - if Maori are angry, ordinary New Zealanders will wrongly assume Labour is sticking up for them, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"If Maori are complaining, then New Zealanders will feel they don't have to worry about next week's foreshore and seabed package - despite Prime Minister Helen Clark and Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson's back flips in July and August," Mr Franks said.

"The threats will justify next week's planned appeasement, when `fee simple' title will be noisily ruled out. In return, the Maori Land Court will be authorised to quietly deliver more control and exclusive use privileges to Maori than the Court of Appeal ever intended - as well as the sweetener of a huge new grant of aquaculture rights, in a fresh bite at the cherry supposed to have been dealt with in the 1992 fisheries settlement.

"This same combination of threats and concessions led to the `peace in our time' fisheries settlement in 1992. Maori negotiators have since boasted that the huge ownership transfer was more than they expected. It was also many times more than anything that long-standing law would have given them from the courts.

"These new occupation threats may even be part of the softening up process for next week's release. But orchestration is not needed - it is a no-brainer strategy for Maori to complain and threaten for so long as pakeha seem to have no bottom line, even if they are privately stunned by the politicians' concessions. It has worked for two decades, and also limits the risk to treaty industry negotiators on both sides that the process could ever end.

"Ms Wilson has never hidden her view that we should not end Treaty separatism, and wants to replace `one person, one vote' democracy with a never-ending partnership negotiation between the elites representing her favoured groups. This year Dr Michael Cullen, in two speeches, told New Zealanders to get used to it, and rejected the goal of law that treats all New Zealanders equally, without discrimination on basis of race or ethnic inheritance.

"Maori are now performing their practised part in this ritual, which suits the cynical politicians on both sides. But greed, race discrimination and ingratitude do permanent damage to race relations - and cynical Labour leaders are forgetting something: their tacit collusion with like-minded party leaders will not suppress public debate.

"Politicians from the two old parties who combine to hiss `racist' cannot gag the critics. ACT won't be silenced. Shifting the responsibility to the Courts wont do it either. ACT wont be gagged by misuse of the convention against Parliamentary challenge to the courts, if a deal tries to shut out the public by shifting political decisions to the judges," Mr Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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