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Party 'Astonished' at PM’s Dismissal of UN Report

Maori Party ‘Astonished’ at Prime Minister’s Dismissal of United Nations Report

Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leaders, Maori Party

Tuesday 4 April 2006

The Maori Party has expressed astonishment that the Prime Minister would today dismiss a report which she has had for three weeks, a report which provides overwhelming and consistent criticism of the Government’s performance in the state of human rights and indigenous issues.

“Miss Clark’s reported comments that the United Nations conclusions from the Special Rapporteur were “unbalanced and a missed opportunity” are ironic, given that one of his criticisms is the unbalanced reporting and the use by politicians of language which may incite racial or ethnic intolerance” stated Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

“The Maori Party believes the report, which was written after discussions with Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Maori Affairs, the Minister of Customs and Youth Affairs, and a number of chief executives and senior officials in a variety of government departments, is a very accurate and balanced depiction of the reality for tangata whenua in this land”.

“Obviously the Prime Minister has a different perception of the Maori reality”.

“Today we presented these findings to representatives from all of the Maori electorates, who had gathered at Matangireia (Parliament) to discuss Maori political participation with a special focus on the Maori electoral option campaign” stated Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

“The recommendations were unanimously accepted by the Maori gathered at Parliament today, who believed the report presented a very comprehensive ‘state of the nation’ analysis of the situation for tangata whenua”.

“The report recommends that the Foreshore and Seabed Act should be repealed or amended by Parliament” stated Dr Pita Sharples. “What is unbalanced about that?”

“The report also recommends the entrenchment of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the MMP political system".

"What is the missed opportunity the Prime Minister is alluding to? An opportunity for nationhood to be developed? An opportunity to strengthen Maori political participation and democratic representation? An opportunity to address, what the report calls, “the underlying institutional and structural discrimination that Maori have long suffered”.

“The Maori Party has received this report with a heavy heart” stated Mrs Turia. “It records, for the world to see, an appalling picture of ‘bad news’ about the way in which the Government has systematically ignored or neglected the position of Maori in this country”.

“We will be taking this report out on the road to our constituency next week” stated Mrs Turia.

“The Maori Party will continue to hold this Government to account, and will be returning to the next session of the House, with feedback from the Maori electorates, as how to progress the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur, to ensure:

“These wider constitutional and societal issues need to be debated responsibly and democratically by all social and political actors concerned because their solution will determine the kind of society New Zealand will be in the future”.

ENDS

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