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Genuine nationhood requires free speech

3 February 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Genuine nationhood requires free speech

You can't successfully foster a sense of meaningful nationhood by undermining both the rule of law and freedom of speech, Progressive MP Matt Robson says.

"Don Brash's idea of nationhood is shoddy because it requires the shut down of freedom of speech within his own party, and the threat to extinguish any customary titles recognized in the courts of the country," Matt Robson said.

"He may well be appealing strongly to former ACT Party voters, but that isn't enough to build strong foundations for a united and harmonious future," the Progressive MP said.

Matt Robson said Don Brash's idea of nationhood is a failure because it is an idea that polarizes people, more than it brings them together.

"It isn't a vision of a better future, just a sterile pretence at a way forward based on rewriting our past," the Progressive MP said.

"I have no doubt that in the fullness of time the National Party will regret its aberration under Don Brash. It will regret stamping out free speech within its own party, just as it will in time reject last week's proposal to tear up the rule of law. Don Brash may be able to temporarily silence his Maori Affairs spokesperson, but he won't silence the debate," Matt Robson said.

As reported, Georgina te Heuheu was today demoted because she didn't offer 100% obedience to Don Brash on his nationally divisive speech last week.

Last week, National said it wants to revoke Maori customary title, without compensation, regardless of the view of the courts.


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