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National makes major u-turn on Treaty settlements

5 March 2008

National makes major u-turn on Treaty settlements

John Key’s abandonment of National’s commitment to a firm deadline on resolving historic Treaty claims is a major policy u-turn, Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen said today.

At the last election, National pledged to complete all historical Treaty settlements within five years of entering office – by 2010 at the 2005 election.

Today on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme, John Key said that National never had a deadline for settling claims and instead only had a deadline for lodging them.

Paul Henry: …National used to have a date, didn’t they?

John Key: … No, what they said was they wanted the claims lodged, and they'd like to see them cleared up by a certain time, but that's not necessarily guaranteed, I mean, no one can guarantee that, including the current Government, and the reason is that you have to go through a process, and you need durability in that process.

“Labour is making significant progress in settling claims by working with iwi and hapu on constructive solutions,” Dr Cullen said. “We are committed to resolving claims by 2020 and we know that will require hard work and good will from the Crown and Maoridom.

“National’s abandonment of a firm deadline comes as a surprise. John Key has made the Treaty a major political theme this year with big speeches at Ratana and Waitangi and has not announced a change.

“It seems possible that Mr Key may just be making it up as he goes along. He has certainly revised the National Party’s history on this issue.

“This issue is central to our national identity and we need Mr Key to tell us what he truly believes – not just what he thinks we want to hear. Being slippery on the treaty is not something New Zealanders will tolerate.”


  • National - the Treaty
  • ENDS

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