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Turia Decides While Labour Dithers

Turia Decides While Labour Dithers

Friday 30 Jan 2004 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia's decision to abstain from voting on foreshore and seabed laws shows that Cabinet is unable to lead on the major choice issue that New Zealand will face over the next three months, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Ms Turia is not a wily negotiator, but even she has now realised that the package offers far more to Maori than the courts could applying the Common Law could ever give them - which is what the Crown's lawyers told the Waitangi Tribunal yesterday," Mr Franks said.

"After months of dithering, Labour has failed to produce a proposal its Ministers can agree on. It is so woolly that not even the Tribunal can understand it. Labour wants opposing factions to sign up, each in the belief that they will get what they want - when only Maori get anything they haven't already got.

"The decision-makers are torn by pandering to incompatible sectors, but one thing is clear: the beaches will be ruled by legal privilege conferred on skin colour. That is why the Fisheries Commission's Shane Jones is pushing for Maori to grab what's on the table. Still, it suits him and the smoother negotiators to have Maori objecting and complaining bitterly.

"The Government's `customary rights' cannot end up like the Treaty's `principles' - to be re-interpreted and re-invented on a case-by-case basis as Labour sees fit. Ordinary New Zealanders deserve to know that `customary rights' are not simply secret Labour code for hereditary rights to boss everyone else around on public land," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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