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Prebble challenges Cullen to debate

Friday 8th Oct 1999

Richard Prebble
Media Release -- Other

ACT Leader Richard Prebble has challenged Labour's Michael Cullen to a debate on Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

"Dr Cullen who has made a practice of personally attacking anyone who disagrees with him, has claimed that ACT's proposals to close down the Waitangi grievance industry and ensure all settlements are finalised, are the policies of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party," Mr Prebble said.

"All intelligent New Zealanders know that Pauline Hanson's party denied that Australian Aborigines had any valid land claims at all. The ACT Party says by contrast that real Maori grievances like land confiscations are being ignored while the Tribunal deliberates on bogus claims like that for the electromagnetic spectrum.

"Where does Labour stand on the claim that the electromagnetic spectrum is a Maori taonga? Will Labour be parting with taxpayers' money for the electromagnetic spectrum, and if so, how much?

"I look forward to Dr Cullen's reply."


Attached: letter to Dr Cullen

Hon Richard Prebble CBE Leader ACT New Zealand Parliament Buildings Wellington

8 October 1999

Dr Michael Cullen
Parliament Buildings

Dear Dr Cullen

Challenge to debate

I see I have joined the West Coasters as the latest New Zealander to be subject to a vitriolic attack by yourself, with a comparison between ACT's treaty policy and Pauline Hanson's One Nation party.

I hope this can be about issues not personalities. I invite you to tell me how Labour intends to handle Treaty of Waitangi clams. In particular, does Labour accept the Waitangi Tribunal's ruling that the electromagnetic spectrum is a taonga protected under the Treaty?

I enclosed for your information a copy of ACT's policy for resolving Treaty claims once and for all so we can all move forward, with one law for all. I would be interested to receive a copy of your policy.

Since you regard the issue worthy of an attack under Parliamentary privilege perhaps you would like to debate the issue with me. I have had indications from media organisations that they would be interested in hosting such a debate. I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely Hon Richard Prebble CBE


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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