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Helen Clark running scared on Maori issues

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

13 June 2005

Helen Clark running scared on Maori issues

"Helen Clark's move to rule out any discussion on a race-based private member's bill before the election is more evidence that she's running scared on Maori issues," says National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee.

"Everyone around Parliament knows Labour members cannot put a bill in the ballot until the caucus has approved it. That's code for Helen Clark saying it's okay."

Mr Brownlee is commenting after Helen Clark said Nanaia Mahuta's Bill to extend legal aid to Maori groups making claims under the Foreshore and Seabed Act would not be put up for debate in this Parliament.

"Make no mistake, this is an issue that is dividing Labour's caucus. Nanaia Mahuta stands a good chance of being re-elected. She and her Maori colleagues will continue to push for this race-based law change.

"National always argued that the Foreshore and Seabed legislation would create a new grievance industry. Unfortunately for mainstream New Zealanders this prediction is coming true.

"National says the beaches should belong to all New Zealanders and we oppose race-based legislation. It is for the same reason we oppose suggestions that Maori land may be excluded from Labour's land access proposals.

"National will repeal Labour's land grab in order to protect property rights for Maori and non-Maori alike," says Mr Brownlee.

Ends

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