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AIDS has nothing to do with Maori text of Treaty

Gerry Brownlee MP - National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

23 October 2005

AIDS has nothing to do with Maori text of Treaty

National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee is describing as a "politically correct clap-trap" an advertisement for a new trustee of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.

The first line of the advertisement reads: 'The NZAF is a community based, non governmental organization which acknowledges the Maori text of the Treaty of Waitangi as the basis upon which relationships between Maori and Tauiwi (non-Maori) must rest.'

Other skills required by the applicant include an 'understanding of the application of the principles and articles of the Treaty of Waitangi' and 'knowledge and skill in Tikanga Maori'.

"Quite what the 'Maori text of the Treaty' has to do with helping all AIDS sufferers on an equal basis regardless of their race is beyond me."

Mr Brownlee accepts that as a non-governmental organisation the AIDS Foundation has little accountability to the wider public, but he says this is not the first time the Foundation has courted controversy this year.

In June this year it floated a proposal to set aside half of the seats on the Foundation's board for Maori.

Maori make up about 15 per cent of the general population and of the HIV-positive community.

"I absolutely support and respect their desire to treat Maori HIV sufferers with dignity - that does not require a specific commitment to the Maori text of the Treaty.

"National says all Kiwis should be treated equally before the law on the basis of their need, not on the basis of their race," says Mr Brownlee.

ENDS

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