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Brash a nation breaker, not a nation maker

10 March 2004 Media Statement

Brash a nation breaker, not a nation maker

Don Brash's refusal to take part in an inquiry into race relations proves he does not have the best interests of New Zealand at heart, Associate Maori Affairs Minister John Tamihere says.

Mr Tamihere said that in refusing Prime Minister Helen Clark's offer to consult with Dr Brash on the terms of reference of an inquiry, Dr Brash demonstrated that he was not interested in contributing to solutions in the race debate.

"Dr Brash commences a debate that divides the nation, but when offered the opportunity to shape the form of a major inquiry that will engage with Pakeha communities, he refuses to participate," Mr Tamihere said.

"This is a man who is not concerned with the national interest – it is clear that the only thing he is interested in is political opportunism. This debate requires statesmanship, not positioning yourself in the lead-up to the next election.

"I'm sick and tired of Maori being used by Dr Brash as a political football, and his actions are deplorable. It will take longer than Dr Brash's fixation on the 2005 election to relate with Pakeha communities that have been left out of the Treaty debate with any form of integrity and credibility.

"Dr Brash now believes Pakeha communities do not need to be taken into account – Dr Brash, like his predecessors, thinks he knows it all."

ENDS

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