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Maori money-go-round gets much murkier

Tau Henare MP
National Party Maori Affairs Spokesman
(Education & TPK)

3 April 2008

Maori money-go-round gets much murkier

Labour’s move to take $35 million from the Maori Trustee to build a Maori economic development agency is getting even murkier, says National’s Maori Affairs spokesman, Tau Henare.

The Maori Trustee and Maori Development Amendment Bill revamps the Maori Trustee and Maori Trust Office and uses income derived from beneficiary money to set up a multimillion-dollar business fund administered by the personal appointees of the Minister of Maori Affairs.

“I already consider Labour’s appropriation of $35 million from the Maori Trustee as theft from the legitimate beneficiaries, but revelations that Te Puni Kokiri has handed over $360,000 from the Maori potential fund to the Maori Trustee demands explanation.

“This saga gets murkier by the day.

“Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia was out on a very creaky limb even before these most recent revelations. This $35 million has been held in trust for the children and grandchildren of Maori landowners. It’s not Labour’s to steal.

“Giving the Maori Trustee $360,000 with one hand, while taking $35 million with the other is hard to explain even by the Minister’s standards. If the Maori Trustee is so flush with cash that Labour can steal $35 million from it, why does the trustee need $360,000 in government grants to do its job?”


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