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Is silence evidence of a split on Maori issues?

Is silence evidence of a split on Maori issues?

National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee says the deafening silence confirms that Labour’s Caucus is split on two contentious Maori issues.

“The fact that no-one in Labour has publicly denied there’s trouble brewing would suggest there is a nasty split inside Labour. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.”

Mr Brownlee is commenting on weekend reports of growing differences in Labour over the land access land grab, and Nanaia Mahuta’s Bill to extend legal aid to Maori groups claiming rights under the Foreshore and Seabed law.

On the land access issue, John Tamihere was quoted as saying ‘any drongo’ could see it puts Labour in a ‘no win position’.

“The National Party opposed the Foreshore and Seabed laws. We feared it would create another grievance industry and we have opposed the land access legislation because it erodes private property rights.

“Now there are rumblings that Maori land will be excluded from the land access laws, and there’s a bill on the table to extend legal aid to Maori claimants, when non-Maori will not be eligible.

“National has a clear position on these issues. It’s time Labour, including its Maori MPs, stated theirs. There should be one rule for all New Zealanders regardless of race,” says Mr Brownlee.


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