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Ancestral Connection Is Poison Pill For Maori

Ancestral Connection Is Poison Pill For Maori

National Party Leader Dr Don Brash is quite right to be adding his voice to those warning Maori and pakeha of the poison pill in Labour's newly-invented `ancestral connection' law, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"This is no innocuous sop or trinket to soothe the natives, as Dr Michael Cullen intends. It will be an enormously expensive irritant to race relations - as ACT has warned for months," Mr Franks said.

"On April 4, 2004, ACT said:

`It will give rights to interfere in local government, in perpetuity, and can only poison relations long-term between neighbours. It is a form of inherited political power that most of us thought ended when squires no longer ruled.

`The Government has promised increased Maori control over coastline, drawing on the analogy of customary fishing at a time when it is plain that those rights are abused and earn little more than contempt

`Ancestral connection is the consolation prize for Maori. Yet it doesn't allow development or constructive use. It is a right to stuff your neighbours around. Expect more taniwha to be discovered in vital areas, and expect them to be curiously mercenary.

`Don't blame Maori if that is the temptation a Government forces before them to get out of today's political riptide. What else would someone do, if the only benefit they could take was from lording it over others?'

"On March 8, 2004:

`Thirdly: the proposed customary titles are worse than useless. All they promise is that Maori will be a nuisance to their neighbours, drawn into levying blackmail payments without the social benefit of a true owner's interest in using and protecting property value.'

"And, on June 23, 2003:

`As I said on Friday, from experience, Labour will try and do ambiguous deals. It will make promises, and give vague rights that Maori will think are equivalent to ownership - while telling everyone else the ownership stays with the Crown. This is a recipe for endless uncertainty and fresh grievance.'

`Customary use rights are as certain to produce hostility, stand over conflicts and poor stewardship. They are just the kind of uncertainty that Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson acknowledges, and was told by Cabinet to rule out.'

"It's good for New Zealand that Dr Brash can get the necessary attention to these issues. ACT will keep finding them - as we always have," Mr Franks said.

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