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Race Relations Whitewash a farce says Maori Party

Race Relations ‘Whitewash’ a farce says Maori Party

Te Ururoa Flavell, Treaty Spokesperson for the Maori Party

Thursday 31 January 2008

Today’s release by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres proclaiming that 2007 was a year of ‘significant developments in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi’ demonstrates that the Commissioner’s role has become reduced to that of a Government proxy says Te Ururoa Flavell, Treaty spokesperson for the Maori Party.

“2007 was the year that the Government refused to sign the international declaration on the rights of indigenous people and stood by while terror raids targeted a small Maori community in Ruatoki” said Mr Flavell.

“2007 was the year that the Waitangi Tribunal described the Crown’s actions with iwi in the Tamaki Makaurau settlement process as "cavalier”, “unfair” and as being undertaken in a “generally un-cooperative manner”; and then a week later found “serious flaws in the way the Crown consulted with non-settling Te Arawa groups”, concluding that the Tribunal was left “fearing for the customary future of the Te Arawa waka”".

“2007 was the year that Government’s Maori members sat zipped – forbidden to explain why their party had removed the Treaty from the education curriculum - and voted for the first reading of a bill to delete the Treaty from legislation” said Mr Flavell.

“The litany of actions against Maori undertaken by the Government last year hardly constitute what Mr de Bres calls “significant developments in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi and indigenous rights” said Mr Flavell.

“Unless of course what Mr De Bres really means is that the undermining of the Treaty of Waitangi by the Labour Government is a significant development – a development which will no doubt be the topic of much debate at Waitangi next week” suggested Mr Flavell.

“Of course we acknowledge that following the significant challenges by Ngati Kahu, Hauraki and Tuwharetoa over the sale of land meant for Treaty settlement, the Government was forced to clean up its act regarding Crown land disposal processes” said Mr Flavell.

“And we recognise the enormous commitment that iwi have made in continuing to negotiate their claims through to the point of settlement”.

“But you can only fool some of the people, some of the time – and no amount of whitewashing over the ugly dirt left in the mouths of Maori at the year’s end will ever convince them that the Government’s actions of 2007 were positive”.

“A key function of the Human Rights Commission is to create ‘harmonious relationships between individuals and amongst the diverse groups’ of Aotearoa” said Mr Flavell. “Speaking with a forked tongue has never proved to be the basis of an effective and respectful relationship”.

"Significant developments?" ended Mr Flavell.

"Not!".


ends

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