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Delay in Treaty inquiry smacks of another U--turn

National Deputy Leader

15 March 2004

Delay in Treaty inquiry smacks of another U--turn

The delay in the announcement of a Commission of Inquiry into Treaty matters smacks of another U-turn by a Government wracked by crisis and in total disarray, says National's Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee.

"This idea is designed to close down the debate on race relations till after the election. Now, Labour is going through another re-think as Helen Clark has realised that only the Labour caucus and its little helper Peter Dunne support the idea," Mr Brownlee says.

"And, if that isn't enough of a problem, she still has to find a way to pacify the Maori caucus, with Tariana Turia as recently as yesterday quoted as saying she 'may have to consider other options at some future time'.

"This is yet another example of Government paralysis, which sees nearly half of the Cabinet now involved in some way with Maori issues.

"Helen Clark is like a soldier who has lost the map to her own minefield - she is stuck in the middle with nowhere to step. Her own caucus is hopelessly divided over this issue.

"She also has to work out a way for a Labour Party commission to link up with the cosy study groups being suggested by the Greens."

Today, Helen Clark also announced that foreshore and seabed legislation promised last June for early this year will be delayed till at least May.

"This is a cynical delaying tactic by Helen Clark to try to kill the issue," Mr Brownlee said.

"Labour has never shown any respect for constitutional issues, as demonstrated last year when they dumped the Privy Council and steamrollered the Supreme Court Bill through.

"National doesn't agree with a small Labour Party-elite making these decisions for New Zealanders. We believe they should be made by the people directly. That's called democracy," Mr Brownlee says.

Ends

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