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Cullen suggests no hurry on Treaty claims

Gerry Brownlee National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

6 February 2005

Cullen suggests no hurry on Treaty claims

National's Maori Affairs spokesman, Gerry Brownlee, says Michael Cullen is now suggesting Labour is in no hurry to wrap up the Treaty claims process. He is commenting on a speech from Michael Cullen today on the meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi.

"There is an overwhelming feeling among New Zealanders that the Treaty claims process needs to be brought to a swift and final conclusion, and this needs to happen sooner rather than later.

"But Dr Cullen's speech makes it clear that Labour plans to take its time with Treaty claims, only vaguely suggesting that the process should be completed within 10 to 15 years.

"Dr Cullen says there is no sunset clause in the Treaty, implying that there will be no end to grievance claims. This stands in stark contrast to Helen Clark's claims in her opening statement to Parliament, that only by bringing greivances to a close can we move forward together.

"To say that a sunset clause can only have effect if negotiated between the Crown and Maori will give little comfort to ordinary New Zealanders who want to see the greivance industry end. Clearly Dr Cullen believes if Maori as a Treaty 'partner' don't want it to end, it won't.

"What Dr Cullen reveals is that Labour is in no hurry at all the complete the Treaty claims process, and sees it as something that will continue indefinitely.

"It's very cute in an election year for Labour to re-affirm its commitment, but unfortunately the terms are so vague that no-one really knows what its intentions are.

"It's quite obvious that Labour is making a desperate attempt to keep New Zealanders happy - both Maori and Pakeha - by making vague promises," says Mr Brownlee.

National has repeatedly said it will settle all historical Treaty claims by 2010.

ENDS

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