Labour Must Show Hand On Maori Issues
Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman
06 September 2004
Labour must show hand on Maori issues
National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee says the rise of Tariana Turia's Party should force Labour to come clean on its agenda for Maori and its plan for race relations should it win the next election.
"The Maori Party has made it clear that it plans to work with Labour after the next election and that it plans to be uncompromising in its pursuit of bottom-line policies.
"Their presence, with significant support from Maori, will mean the political debate takes a different shape and direction.
"Labour can no longer sit on the fence. The Government must now make it clear where it stands on Maori issues and the place of the Treaty – so the public can make an informed choice about our country's direction.
"I'd hope all parties, especially those on the left of the political spectrum, will be free and frank about their ideas for Maori.
"The reality is, Helen Clark and Labour have no plan to change their divisive agenda, and they will be forced into further compromises to protect their Maori support base.
"That's already happening behind closed doors on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill, with John Tamihere repeating today that changes are likely to take a 'huge level of heat' out of the debate.
"Helen Clark must also make concessions to her own disaffected Maori MPs. Labour won't risk offending Ratana by dumping Mita Ririnui and they will also have to move to insulate Mr Tamihere and Dover Samuels as well.
"And given that Nanaia Mahuta has lodged a submission, and plans to speak against her own Government's Foreshore and Seabed Bill, it's clear Helen Clark can't take her vote fore granted, either," says Mr Brownlee.