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More half-truths and nonsense from Brash

22 April 2004 Media Statement

More half-truths and nonsense from Brash

"The public is entitled to expect a higher standard from the Leader of the Opposition than the collection of half truths and nonsense trotted out by Don Brash today," said Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen.

He was commenting on Dr Brash's speech this morning to the Marine Industry Association; an occasion Dr Brash used to - again - misrepresent the government's policy on the foreshore and seabed.

"In his rush to play politics on this most sensitive of issues, Dr Brash has overlooked an apparent area of agreement between National and the government.

"He says National has no problem recognising limited customary rights, but those customary rights have to be proven. That is exactly what the legislation provides for.

"It stipulates that to establish a customary right, applicant groups must satisfy the court that the activity or use is integral to their culture and has been exercised substantially uninterrupted since 1840. These are not easy criteria to meet," Dr Cullen said.

He said Dr Brash's claims that the bill imposed two standards of representation - one for Maori applicants and one for non-Maori objectors - were intended to be divisive and were just plain wrong.

"The distinction the bill draws in terms of a right to be heard in legal proceedings is between applicants and objectors, not between Maori and non-Maori. Both Maori and non-Maori wishing to lodge on objection to a claim have to meet the same test; they have to establish that they have an interest different to the common public interest."

Dr Brash, in commenting on the commercial gains which might flow from customary rights, had also - as usual - neglected to add the rider that any commercial development entailing use of the resource beyond the volumes used in traditional practice would be subject to the same resource consents as applied to any other user.

"This is nasty politics and damaging to Dr Brash's reputation," Dr Cullen said.

"He is also being reckless with his credibility as an economist in his silly attempt to attack the government's economic strategy on the basis of Treasury growth projections for 2014.

"Even the dimmest Economics 101 student knows that forecasters only forecast around four to five years ahead and use technical assumptions beyond that point."

ENDS

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