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Jones welcomes free entry to Waitangi, warns Trust

1 October 2008

Jones welcomes free entry to Waitangi, warns Trust

Northland Politician Shane Jones has welcomed free entry for New Zealand residents to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands from today, but with a warning for the Trust which manages the estate.

"In my parliamentary career I have pushed for free entry to Waitangi Estate Grounds. I have enjoyed extensive community support in this task," the Labour List MP said.

"It is gratifying to see the Waitangi National Trust board has conceded to this proposal."

However, he remained unconvinced by the Trust's plans to build a conference centre on the Treaty Grounds.

"The outstanding issue which poses a significant threat to the future of the Waitangi Estate is the wretched proposal to establish a $14 million architectural outrage planned for the Treaty Grounds," he said.

"Such a development will prevent our Waitangi Estate enjoying United Nations World Heritage site status.

"A convention centre, suitably located with broad local community and commercial support could be an asset to the North.

"I envisage it would serve a purpose as a hosting site for international delegations negotiating, planning and consenting to international agreements, after all the mother of all agreements in the North originated at Waitangi.

"The National Trust needs to show this type of open-minded approach rather and furtively pushing a commercial agenda which will visually impair our national hallowed grounds."

Mr Jones said making the Treaty Grounds entry-free for Kiwi residents was a good start and he hoped the Waitangi National Trust followed it with more pragmatic decisions.


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