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Turia Speaks On Select Committee Hearings

27 August 2004

Turia Speaks On Select Committee Hearings

“The Select Committee hearings into the Foreshore and Seabed Bill have heard many strong responses in opposition to the Bill” said Tariana Turia in Auckland today.

It is unfortunate that Professor Margaret Mutu has been singled out and other voices ignored’ said Mrs Turia, Co-leader of the Mâori Party and a non-voting member of the select committee hearing submissions about the Foreshore and Seabed Bill.

While Professor Mutu made an impassioned call for the government to “comprehend the enormity of what it is proposing to visit upon this country’ her views and that of Ngati Kahu were certainly not isolated comments.

Many submitters spoke strongly against the proposals, commenting New Zealand was in a similar situation now as it was 150 years ago leading to the land wars.

One man who identified as a Quaker, compared the situation to that of England and Northern Ireland, or Israel and the Palestinians. He noted that the warnings of civil war were not inflammatory but “ that it was important to speak the truth as he saw it”.

Other submitters spoke of the need to reject the Bill outright in order to “prevent harmful and unnecessary division”.

Such tension has certainly not been helped by the Government spending exorbitant amounts of taxpayer funds enlisting the services of the Police to be in attendance.

Mrs Turia noted the Police presence was always respectful and low key. “The key issue though is why the government felt it was necessary to remove the Police from their critical work in crime prevention in order to manage the public submission process”. “ Questions might also be asked she said as to the rationale for spending a significant amount of public funds on hiring a security service in addition to the police presence.”

ENDS


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