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Labour's Two-Pronged Attack

Labour's Two-Pronged Attack

Friday 30 Jan 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Speeches -- Other

Speech to Whangarei Meeting

I want to use this opportunity today to address two issues that are of serious concern to Northlanders, where responsibility for these outcomes can be fairly and squarely pinned on Government failure.

The first is the Labour Government's lack of support for the police, which has led to our methamphetamine crisis and far higher crime rates.

The second is the Government's disgraceful underhand transfer of marine environment control from the New Zealand public to Maori - the biggest Crown asset transfer since Governor Hobson annexed New Zealand before the signing of the Treaty in 1840. What is worse, is that this is happening in such a way that non-Maori New Zealanders have almost no idea what is really going on.

Since Labour has been in office, the police budget - as a percentage of all Government spending - has been consistently cut, leading to chronic staff and resource shortages. The Northland police district has been understaffed for years, and resources that should be provided as a matter of course - such as protective vests to be worn when dealing with armed P-crazed addicts - are unavailable. Further, staff shortages have put unacceptable pressure on police personnel and their families, who are unable to take owed leave.

The Government has caused these internal problems, which are hampering the police's ability to do their job properly. If fully staffed and adequately resourced, police could target the dozen or so Whangarei families responsible for most of the crime. If these families were taken out of circulation through a concerted crack down, the area's crime rate would drop.

And if Northland had a dedicated methamphetamine policing unit, the growth in dangerous manufacturing operations could be halted - thus curtailing the drug's supply and distribution.

Effective crime reduction comes down to one thing: proactive policing. Right now, however, this soft-on-crime Government does not see that fighting crime should be an urgent priority, and has hamstrung police throughout the country.

On the second issue - the foreshore and seabed fiasco - I must admit that I am disgusted by the unilateral manipulation of billions of dollars of Crown-owned assets out of the control of the New Zealand public and into the control of a racial minority. It is appalling that this is going on without public consultation - the only consultation to-date being a hasty round of hui for select Maori late last year, from which non-Maori were banned from attending.

As a result of this "conspiracy of intention', regional councils are continuing with public consultation over proposed aquaculture management areas - oblivious to the fact that Labour's proposed legislation will give effective control of commercial development in the marine environment to Maori. The public will have virtually no right of appeal, as the RMA will be limited to issues of "sustainability" only. As a result, local Maori could propose marine farming ventures in Whangarei Harbour, Bream Bay and off the Nguguru Coast - and the public, which is overwhelmingly opposed, would have virtually no way of stopping them.

This Government was elected in 1999 on a platform of openness, transparency and accountability. Its willingness to transfer our beaches and marine environment from public ownership to Maori control - to secure the Maori vote for the next election - in such an underhanded way, shows how far Labour's principles have been compromised. Any Government that breaks its promise on such a massive scale surely can't be trusted.

This is the biggest land/asset grab in modern times, and I am calling on the people of Northland to not take such an attack on our sovereignty lying down. Contact me, and I will send you details of the Labour Government's proposed legislation, so you can see for yourself what they are planning. Further, I urge you to gather together and prepare a submission to send to the Select Committee later in the year, so that Labour has no doubt as to what the people of Northland think about the devious sell-off of our assets.


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