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Treaty claims: no end in sight under Labour

Don Brash
National Party Leader

4 August 2005

Treaty claims: no end in sight under Labour

National Party Leader Don Brash has described Labour’s Treaty deadline policy as “a victory of spin over substance” and “a pale imitation” of National’s policy.

Labour today announced that if, re-elected, it would aim to have all Treaty claims lodged by 2008.

But Dr Brash says a cut-off date for lodging claims is meaningless without a firm date for final settlement.

“The current Treaty settlement timetable, which is managed by the Government and the Office of Treaty Settlements, will see these claims hanging around until at least 2030. Labour’s proposal will do nothing to speed up the process.

"Labour’s announcement is nothing but a blatant election U-turn in an attempt to try to convince the electorate they are acting to halt the Treaty gravy train, when they have failed to address the issue for six years. It is simply not believable. This is another example of the post-Orewa panic that has gripped Labour for the past 18-months.”

In 2002, the then Minister of Treaty Settlements, Margaret Wilson, said a deadline on Treaty settlements was ‘out of touch’ and ignored the ‘complexity of the Treaty settlement process’.

“Helen Clark is doing a disservice to all New Zealanders. She refuses to give Maori certainty over when claims will be settled, and she is confirming to non-Maori that Labour is not really committed to ever settling historic claims,” says Dr Brash.

”Today’s announcement is nothing but a victory of spin over substance and has the effect of putting a band-aid on a gaping wound.

“National believes that as a country we have spent far too long looking in the rear view mirror.

”It is time to settle historic grievances fully, finally and in the interests of all New Zealanders. Only when this has happened will we move forward and prosper as a modern nation.

”National will see that all claims are lodged by the end of 2006, with full, final and fair settlement by 2010,” says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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