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A Time to Prepare for a strong, independent voice

'A Time to Prepare for a strong and independent voice in Parliament'

Tariana Turia; Co-leader, Maori Party

9 August 2005

The Maori Party looks forward to Tuesday 9 August, as an opportunity to remind all indigenous peoples in Aotearoa to enrol to vote, to become active in the process of political participation, and to prepare for an authentic voice in Parliament.

"Now is the time to stand up and recognise the rights of indigenous peoples of the world" stated Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

"We note with some dismay, that the period 2005-2014 is being observed by the United Nations as the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples" said Tariana Turia.

"The fact that the United Nations has observed that a second decade of activity is even necessary represents the growing concern for the rights and well-being of indigenous communities" said Mrs Turia.

"Here in Aotearoa, we are awaiting the visit in November of the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, who will be looking at the nature and extent of our indigenous human rights issues in New Zealand" stated Tariana Turia.

"His visit is a direct result of the findings of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination that the Foreshore and Seabed Act:

"contained discriminatory aspects against the Maori, in particular in its extinguishment of the possibility of establishing Maori title to the foreshore and seabed, and in its failure to provide a guaranteed right of redress".

"It is ironic that New Zealand claims to be a world leader in indigenous issues and yet has never ratified the only international legal instrument that specifically recognises the rights of indigenous peoples, ILO 169".

"The Maori Party believes that now is a good time for New Zealand to actually ratify the ILO Convention 169 - concerning tribal indigenous peoples in independent countries" stated Mrs Turia.

"This would be the true test of Labour's so-called commitment to Maori: if, as a token of good faith, democracy and transparency, they opened their policies up to the peer scrutiny of other international states through the ILO 169 process" said Mrs Turia.

"If New Zealand had been a party to ILO 169 Maori would have had an earlier intervention process to turn to regarding the foreshore and seabed act".

"The latest surveys by Maori Television and Marae digi-poll confirm the urgent need for addressing basic issues affecting the well-being of Maori - such as health and education" stated Mrs Turia.

"The Maori Party policy is that New Zealand needs to ratify the International Labour Organisation Convention No. 169 in order to protect indigenous peoples' rights" said Mrs Turia, "and by so doing, create a strong nation where we can take pride in justice for all peoples, and where all citizens are well-educated, healthy and participating".

"This General Election is the time to bring into parliament a strong and independent voice for Maori".

"What better way to improve the international reputation of New Zealand than to make the parliamentary system truly democratic".

ENDS

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