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Greens send protest to Australian ambassador

11 July 2007

Greens send protest letter to Australian ambassador

The punitive actions being taken against Aboriginal communities by the Howard government have sparked a letter of protest from the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand and signed by all their MPs, to the Australian ambassador in Wellington.

"Under the guise of concern for Aboriginal children, the federal government in Australia is pursuing a number of measures that seem more designed to alienate Aboriginal land than to protect children," the Green Party Musterer, Meteria Turei says.

"The steps being taken to scrap the permit system set up under the 1976 Land Rights Act that governs access to Aboriginal land has nothing to do with overcoming child abuse, let alone with providing health, education, housing and other essential services.

"Aboriginal communiies are being hit instead with forced immunisation of their children, with compulsory health checks linked to welfare cuts for non-compliance, and with market rents.

" The economic gains from the moves to allow the Federal Government to acquire Aboriginal land for five years and promote 99 year leases will flow to mining companies. On the political front, John Howard seems more than willing to use Aboriginal children as pawns to divert media attention away from Labour's popular Kevin Rudd, and from Howard's own disastrous industrial relations policy.

"Howard is using Aboriginal children as stand-ins for the Tampa refugees that he went after during his last election campaign. Within New Zealand, the Greens will be supporting the protest rallies planned to be held across Australia on July 14th. Personally, I will be in the Octagon in Dunedin at noon on that day, sharing information on the issue. .

"The Greens support the very practical measures to combat child abuse that have been put forward by the Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory. They are a positive response to the problems faced by the communities, and would provide the resources to tackle them properly.

"Clearly, the Howard government needs to move beyond resorting to 19th century colonial style interventions. It should instead be fostering delivery mechanisms run by indigenous people themselves, and equipped with sufficient funds to combat the evils of poverty, illness and abuse.

"The Green Party are deeply disappointed with this deeply cynical federal onslaught against Aboriginal communities,. We urge the Howard government to change its tack, and implement the recommendations of the " Little Children Are Sacred" report in the manner in which the report intends." Mrs Turei says.

The Green Party letter to the Australian ambassador in New Zealand is attached to this release.


ENDS

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