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Cullen puts new spin on failed Labour policies

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman

23 November 2005

Cullen puts new spin on failed Labour policies

National Party Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee says if Michael Cullen's speech to the Waitangi Tribunal Members' Conference was covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act he would be prosecuted for the sale of shonky goods.

"Michael Cullen has developed a reputation for glossing over the real story, and his effort today to rewrite history is no exception."

Dr Cullen says: 'Throughout its terms of office, the Labour-led government has sought to complete historical Treaty settlements in a fair manner and a reasonable time frame.'

Mr Brownlee says: "Six new judges have had to be appointed to the Maori Land Court to cope with Labour's Foreshore and Seabed law. Meanwhile, recent appointees to the Waitangi Tribunal were not assigned cases for almost 12 months. And furthermore, over the past two years, Labour has refused nearly $5 million worth of extra funding requested by the Waitangi Tribunal to speed up the process."

Dr Cullen says: 'We will also work on streamlining the settlement legislation process so that settlements benefit those intended without being unduly held up by the complexities of passing enabling legislation through Parliament.'

Mr Brownlee says: "When a settlement is full and final it must be tested by the scrutiny of Parliament."

Dr Cullen says: 'We will work with Maori to establish post-settlement governance entities to ensure Maori have the appropriate mechanisms in place to manage their affairs and future development to meet their self identified goals.'

Mr Brownlee says: "Settlements must not happen until the claimant group has capacity. That should be done before negotiations proceed, or the Crown will run into mandating issues."

Dr Cullen says: 'The settlement of historical grievances under the Treaty may be a long process. By our estimation it still has some fifteen years to run.'

Mr Brownlee says this is nonsense. "At the current pace it'll take more like 35 years."

"Michael Cullen's musings today must be treated for what they are - just more empty rhetoric," says Mr Brownlee.

ENDS

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