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PM to abdicate responsibility on Maori issues

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

08 November 2004

PM to abdicate responsibility on Maori issues

"New Zealand needs a National Government that will deliver policies of equality, rather than just talk about it," says National Party Leader Don Brash. He is responding to mounting speculation about the long-awaited announcement on the Helen Clark-ordered inquiry into race relations.

"The public will decide the future of race relations in our country by way of the referendum which is the 2005 general election. National, unlike Labour, will provide them with a clear choice," says Dr Brash.

"There is only one agenda for the Prime Minister here, and that is to take race relations off the agenda as an election issue.

"Instead, of providing leadership on Maori issues and campaigning on her party's real policies, Helen Clark is opting to abdicate responsibility by appointing politically correct Wellington insiders to look at constitutional matters.

"Like John Tamihere and the foreshore bill before that, it will allow the Prime Minister to wash her hands of the issue and redirect all criticism elsewhere. It is a recipe for paralysis in race relations.

"The Government leaks on this have been so deliberately vague that they are laughable. We don't know what this inquiry is supposed to achieve, how long it'll take, or even what or who will be involved.

"This is a convenient political distraction for Helen Clark, cynically timed to report back after the election, and in the short-term she hopes it will take the heat off Labour at this weekend's conference.

"The Prime Minister hopes to divert public attention away from live issues, including John Tamihere, the foreshore and seabed and a difficult caucus reshuffle.

"Kiwis don't need to be told what they think about New Zealand.

"Only National can be trusted to deliver polices that treat all New Zealanders equally before the law," says Dr Brash.

Ends

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