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Support for Georgina Te Heuheu

3 February 2004 Media Statement

Support for Georgina Te Heuheu

Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia says tangata whenua will always regard Georgina Te Heuheu as the National Party's Maori Affairs expert, and today's decision to sideline her will hinder the party's ability to represent Maori interests.

"Georgina is well-known and respected for her understanding and experience of Maori Affairs. Her family and community ties give her insight and standing among our people," said Mrs Turia.

"She has legal training and was a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, which combine to give her a sharp analysis of Maori development and Treaty issues. She has made an outstanding contribution to the Maori Affairs Select Committee, where representatives of a range of parties have to work together.

"At the same time, Georgina is a humble and modest person, who makes a point of supporting Maori initiatives in a non-partisan way that our people admire.

"Georgina is a valued member of the Parliament, and it is a pity the National Party is not able to utilise her skills more effectively.

"Irrespective of her official status or portfolio responsibilities, Maori will continue to go to Georgina, as the only Maori National MP, and as someone who understands where they are coming from.

"By confusing its channels of communication with Maori, the National Party risks losing touch with a significant and growing sector of New Zealand's society and economy," said Mrs Turia.

ENDS

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