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2 Progressive votes for Foreshore & Seabed Bill

6 May 2004

2 Progressive votes for Foreshore & Seabed Bill

Progressive MPs Jim Anderton and Matt Robson will today vote in favour of the Foreshore & Seabed Bill because their party endorses the Bill's key principles.

They won't speak in the debate because they have given the Progressives' speaking slot to their coalition government Maori colleagues.

"We agree that Parliament has a responsibility to uphold all New Zealanders' existing rights to enjoy going to the seaside regardless of their social or racial inheritance," leader Jim Anderton said.

"Secondly, and this is where we so starkly differ from the so-called 'National' party, we reject the reactionaries' bid to effectively rip up the rule of law by promising to take away Maori peoples' right to have their customary claims - and the extent of those claims – identified by the courts," deputy leader Matt Robson said.

"Progressive MPs of course accept the sincerity of the voice of opposition among many Maori and can never accept that their colleague since 1996, Mrs Tariana Turia, or the new nationalist movement she is leading, are anything other than friends, and on most issues, political allies of the centre-left," Matt Robson said.

"In August 2002, 62 Members of Parliament from Labour, Progressive & United Future - including Mrs Turia - made a solemn pledge to each other and to all New Zealand that we were committed to work together until September 2005.

"That is, the Labour Progressive coalition government had the confidence of the Opposition United party to govern, although we may often disagree on individual policies dear to our hearts like Four Weeks Leave," Jim Anderton said.

There are two realistic alternative governments in our Parliamentary system. A Labour Progressive coalition, or a National ACT alliance.

"National would abolish Maori electorate seats and MMP, return New Zealand to Washington's nuclear umbrella and commit us to illegal foreign wars, destroy the Major Regional Development Programmes that have so benefited regions like Whanganui and Waikato and reverse 4 Weeks Annual Leave which is designed to help low income families stay in the workforce and out of welfare.

"It really is a very clear choice," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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