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Cullen scores own goal in desperate attack

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Shadow Leader of the House

26 June 2008

Cullen scores own goal in desperate attack

National Party Shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee says Michael Cullen and Labour have scored an embarrassing own goal in their desperate attempts to make political mileage out of a reported comment by John Key.

"Dr Cullen needs to have a cup of tea and a lie-down. Before racing ahead with a desperate attack on a partial transcript of an interview, the Finance Minister should review his own history.

"Desperation is a stinky cologne, and Dr Cullen is swimming in it, given that on February 6, 2005 he said in a speech that New Zealand was 'a country with a continuous political tradition unbroken by civil war or revolution for over 150 years, something a bare handful of countries can celebrate'.

"Dr Cullen has been hoist with his own petard."

Mr Brownlee is referring to the attacks on an edited answer that the National Party Leader gave in an interview yesterday on Treaty issues. The full answer reads: 'We may be many voices but ultimately we are one people. One of the unique things about New Zealand is that we are not a country that's come about through civil war or a lot of fighting internally. We're a country that peacefully came together - Maori and the Crown decided from both partners' side that it was in their interests to have a peaceful negotiation. That's what the Treaty was, a founding document - a development document - for New Zealand, and I think that we could work things out in a peaceful, sensible and mature way has actually been a defining part of New Zealand's history. It's very important, and it's important we honour that now'.

Mr Brownlee says these comments mirror those of Dr Cullen, and those of Governor General Anand Satynand, who said in a speech on February 6 this year that: 'There were no shots fired in anger and no occupying armed force or an army waiting to invade. Maori were not a defeated people signing an agreement of capitulation, but a strong people who agreed to share this land.

The settlers who followed the signing of the Treaty did so lawfully because two peoples had willingly signed an agreement rather than one forcing the other to do so ... there are few, if any other examples where such monumental change has occurred without a shot being fired. Our world is rife with instances where such agreements are reached only after years of bitter and bloody conflict. And there are many other examples of peoples, so divided by race, religion or culture, where peace seems forever elusive.'

Mr Brownlee says Dr Cullen should apologise.


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