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Come clean, Dr Brash

29 August 2005

Come clean, Dr Brash

Finance Minister Michael Cullen today challenged Don Brash to come clean about how much a National government would spend on Treaty of Waitangi settlements over the next three years and where the money would come from.

“National has said it will finish all treaty settlements within five years. That is a rate about three times faster than Labour is planning and at least four times faster than the rate over the last decade or so.

“To keep on track, 60 per cent of those settlements will need to be done in the next three year term of Parliament.

“That means a huge increase in spending on two things: the administration of the Office of Treaty Settlements and the value of the settlements themselves because, if claimants know that there is a time limit set by the government, they will be able to argue from a position of greater strength.

“No provision was made in National’s alternative budget for this rushed process.

“The administrative costs alone will need to rise from $16.7 million a year currently to something like $65 million a year.

“The settlement costs will be much larger. They will be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars extra over the next three years.

“Dr Brash needs to come clean on this,” Dr Cullen said.

ENDS

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