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Brash can’t cope with informed debate

Brash can’t cope with informed debate

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today National’s dismissal of proposals for an informed debate about and inquiry into the place of the Treaty of Waitangi was farcical and exposes its real agenda.

“Last week I said that if there is to be any good come from the gross and unpleasant Orewa speech, it may be that we can get the facts out on the table and encourage an informed debate about the kind of society we want,” Helen Clark said.

“It’s now clear that informed debate is something Don Brash can’t cope with. He prefers to run around the country with his urban myths and scurrilous tales stirring up as much discord as possible.

“Having launched a debate, he now knows he’s lost control of it as the facts start to get in the way of his stories.

“Scurrilous behaviour like that is bad enough for parties in opposition, but it certainly offers no model for parties in government.

“I said last week that I believe one of the fundamental duties of leadership is to bring people together, not drive them apart.

“Clearly Treaty-related developments over many years have moved ahead of the general community’s understanding. That’s not surprising: the Treaty has been seen as peripheral to most people’s lives.

“That is why I am now listening very carefully to those who say it is time to have an inquiry into the place of the Treaty in New Zealand law.

“The jury is out as to what the most appropriate form of such an inquiry might be.

“But it is incumbent on governments to find ways forward on issues which are troubling the nation, and to involve more people in debating those issues with as much information in the public arena as possible.

“Now Don Brash sees the waka he launched stuck in a mire of his own making. The debate will move on from the destructive state he wanted it to stay in. As I said last week, bring it on,” Helen Clark said.

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