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What's genuine in Winston's Treaty policy?

Stephen Franks
Tuesday, 21 June 2005
Press Releases - Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

ACT Maori Affairs spokesman Stephen Franks today offered a checklist of questions for journalists considering NZ First's treaty policy claims.

" Mr Peters is plausible, just like he was the last time he used this kind of rhetoric in an election campaign and then conspired to do the opposite," Mr Franks said.

"In Opposition in 1989 and 1990 he promised an end to the grievance industry by 2000. Yet in 1999 he voted to kill an ACT bill to set a time limit on receiving new claims and a final timetable for settling them. In Opposition in 1989 he said he would reduce the Waitangi Tribunal to a research body. We know what happened.

"As Mr Bolger's Maori Affairs Minister he developed and trumpeted the hugely forgettable Ka Awatea devolution plan for Maori separatism. Get the flavour from some Maori applause for its disappearance. Ross Himona said, 'We don't need to empower and enfund any more in-between agencies and units and commissions and pseudo-iwi and Maori politicians and bureaucrats and Maori corporatists.'

"As Treasurer from 1996 to 1998 he was deeply complicit in the Labour/National consensus that protected the Treaty grievance industry. He could have got the then government to reject the claims to rights never imagined in 1840, like the radio spectrum and native plants and animals, but he did not.

"Instead he poured scorn on ACT's practical vow to put a stop to separatist and divisive race-based policies and funding with a sunset date for the Treaty industry. He helped to vote Derek Quigley's bill down.

"In 2002 he discovered the ACT website. It took him some time to risk adopting my consistent position that the treaty partnership was a mythical invention, but he joined ACT in asking the PM to define the spurious Treaty principles.

"Both the partnership and the principles were inventions. But until this election year he kept voting for law that referred to them and other laws that entrenched the race privileges and rights he is now denouncing.

"He voted for at least four Treaty settlement bills before he at last joined ACT in voting no this year. In December last year he voted for the outrageous deal that gave Maori a huge new chunk of aquaculture areas despite it having nothing to do with the Treaty.

"In September 2004 he voted for the Maori Fisheries Act that stole the property rights of coastal iwi to hand out as political koha to more numerous northern tribes.

"Nevertheless, Mr Peters could play a useful role in putting a stake through the heart of the Treaty vampire. He will be reported when other MPs are self-censored by the media. But he should be pinned down himself. Ask him what he will do about Maori television. Ask him whether he will promise to:

- End racial affirmative action. For every beneficiary of "affirmative action" there is a "loser" of preferment on merit.

- Oppose nepotism and appointments not transparently on merit.

- Support kura kaupapa as the right of parents to choose schools that will maintain cultural traditions in their children.

- Repeal the RMA breaches of the Article 2 guarantee of property rights - that is the property owner's right to do as he or she wishes within their own property.

- Ensure that wananga and other publicly funded bodies are all held to the same high standards of probity and financial accountability.

- End the racist privilege of rate exemptions on Maori property.

- End all laws that permit government discrimination against any New Zealander on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity or national origin.

- Restore the separation of church and state, prohibiting state support for cultural and spiritual values (including Maori values).

- Repeal so called human rights laws that interfere with positive discrimination by individuals and protect their rights to associate, or not, with whoever they like, free to express their cultures and beliefs.

- Ban so called partnerships and guardianships with central and local government agencies that subvert one-person one vote democracy.

- Abolish all racial political privileges including RMA iwi consultation, and official appointments for reasons other than ability to do the job?

"If he is committed we will welcome his support for ACT's 10-year campaign for a colour-blind government.

"We could seek with him a nation of tolerant people who feel they are New Zealanders first and foremost, free but not obliged to show pride in our individual cultural heritages and the diversity of our fellow citizens," Mr Franks said.


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