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Labour's Fishy Proposal Will Sink Race Relations

Labour's Fishy Proposal Will Sink Race Relations

Friday 11 Jun 2004 Gerry Eckhoff Press Releases -- Other

ACT New Zealand Fisheries Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff today predicted that a Government proposal to give Maori catch rights to fish caught in international waters would have a detrimental effect on race relations in New Zealand, and achieve nothing more than to wrongfully alienate Maori from the rest of the country.

"Last month, I revealed that Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope was proposing to use the Fisheries Amendment Bill to give 20 percent of fish caught outside New Zealand's territorial waters to Maori - despite most Maori not requesting this," Mr Eckhoff said.

"Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission chair Shane Jones is grasping at straws to suggest that Maori are entitled to this quota allocation. The reality is that Maori have no ancestral, historical or traditional connection with these waters.

"Mr Benson-Pope's proposal is neither fair, nor justified. This sort of nonsense runs the risk of tainting the Treaty claims process. It will create an inaccurate public perception that it is corrupt, and that all Maori are greedy. Legitimate Treaty claims will be tarred with the same brush.

"Labour, in its misguided attempt to buy Maori votes, is making victims of all New Zealanders - both Maori and non-Maori alike. This proposal is another step in the wrong direction for race relations in this country," Mr Eckhoff said.


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