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Even political desperation is no excuse for this

27 January 2004
Media Statement

Even political desperation is no excuse for this

“Even the desperation of a once mainstream political party now thrashing around on a quarter of the vote cannot justify Don Brash’s speech today,” Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said.

“Despite Dr Brash’s economic background, he is too scared to engage with the government on the economy and has instead resorted to the dirtiest trick in the book – racial divisiveness.

“Successive governments have recognised that the Treaty relationship implies the implementation of the Treaty in a broad and generous spirit that takes account of cultural difference.

“It is clear Dr Brash would rip up the Treaty if he thought he could get away with it but he knows how damaging the response would be, both within New Zealand and in the international courts.

“So instead he has to content himself with ridiculing Maori culture, accusing Maori of “stand-over tactics,” scrapping the Maori seats and grossly misrepresenting the
government’s policy statement on the seabed and foreshore.

“His statements on this issue are both wrong and dangerous. His proposal to simply overturn the Court of Appeal decision without putting in place any provision to acknowledge Maori customary rights would create a huge injustice, and he is hopelessly muddled about how the government’s proposed regime will work.

“Customary title will recognise mana and ancestral connection. It will not allow the development of a commercial activity or a power of veto over new resource uses.

“To achieve that iwi, hapu and whanau will have to establish before the Maori Land Court that they have customary rights. These are in effect communally held property rights. They will be specific in nature and any commercial development will be restricted to the volume of resource used for the customary usage and will be subject to normal regulatory control, including the Resource Management Act.

“To suggest they will be used to block aquaculture is hysterical drivel,” Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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