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Maori Party Delighted at Strong Response

Maori Party Delighted at the Strong Response Shown regarding the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Te Ururoa Flavell, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs

Wednesday 18 January 2005

"It is another indication of our determination to take control of our own destiny" stated Te Ururoa Flavell today in response to the collective voice of over 1000 people who have signed a petitition responding to New Zealand's approach to the UN Draft Declaration on the rights of Indigenous people.

"This is an unprecedented call from the people" stated Mr Flavell.

"They are asking Government, in the strongest possible terms, to engage with Maori, to review and substantially improve upon the current government's position on the draft Declaration".

The petition, delivered this morning to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Maori Affairs and the Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that many Maori who have followed this process "were both concerned and embarassed by the Crown's contribution" at the recent meeting on the draft Declaration.

"The Maori Party has received many emails and approaches, both from indigenous peoples in New Zealand and overseas, and other concerned New Zealanders, about the hostile and negative presence of New Zealand delegates at the United Nations forum".

"The presence of this petition of the people today, tells Government that they can not hide their heads in the sand anymore" said Mr Flavell.

"New Zealand is being watched very carefully by our international 'friends' in terms of the way in which this Government treats its indigenous peoples" concluded Mr Flavell.

"It is simply not on, to consult Maori some three years previous (2003) and then put forward a position internationally, which disregards any thing that was said".

"All those who have raised concerns about the rights of indigenous workers and their peoples should be raising their concerns about the position our government is taking domestically and internationally. A stand with the Maori Party on this issue is a stand for justice, indigenous rights and an independent voice."

"All the people are asking for is meaningful participation at both the national and international level".

"The Maori Party has heard that call, and will take it up at the highest levels".

ENDS

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