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Harawira: The time has come. A fact’s a fact…

MEDIA RELEASE 8 February 2008

Harawira: The time has come. A fact’s a fact…

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira is to join thousands of Aboriginals in Canberra where the Australian Prime Minister is expected to make an apology to indigenous Australians.

“Saying sorry is great, but the destruction by past Australian governments of Aboriginal language, culture, lands, economic and social society demands more than an apology, and I will be supporting Aboriginal bids for financial compensation, land restoration and economic development opportunities,” Mr Harawira said.

The Tai Tokerau MP’s decision to attend the apology followed an invitation from Barbara Shaw of the Tangentyere Council from Alice Springs, to accompany them to Wednesday’s ceremony and various rallies on Monday and Tuesday.

While over there, Mr Harawira will also be supporting calls for PM Kevin Rudd and Australia’s new government to: reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act; undertake an immediate review of the Northern Territory Intervention initiated by former PM John Howard; put an end to welfare quarantines, compulsory land acquisition and 'mission manager' powers; implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and recognise Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs.

Leave from Parliament has been granted, and Mr Harawira will be paying for his own flights, accommodation and expenses.

“My support for indigenous rights does not lessen my commitment to the people of my electorate or my role in Parliament. If anything, it further solidifies my obligation to my constituents.”

Last year, Mr Harawira conducted more than seventy clinics throughout his electorate, which runs from Kelston in West Auckland to Cape Reinga in the north.

“Tai Tokerau is one of the biggest electorates in the country, but I don’t mind the travel,” said Mr Harawira. “It’s a real honour being the Tai Tokerau MP, and I’m happy to do the miles.”

In addition, the MP delivered 121 speeches in Parliament last year alongside his other parliamentary responsibilities.

ENDS

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