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ACT’s Treaty Policy A Coalition Breaker

ACT Leader Hon Richard Prebble reinforced ACT’s commitment for fair, full and final settlements of legitimate Treaty of Waitangi claims and said, “it would be a non negotiable in any government of which ACT is a part.”

“There is no single more important issue in securing the future for all New Zealanders than returning the treaty to be the founding document that unites us, not threatens to divide us.

“The Prime Minister’s statements last week are encouraging and show a centre right Government could move forward constructively on Treaty settlements.

ACT says that the next Government should not be held hostage by the grievance industry when legitimate claims can be settled. I call on National to abandon Sir Douglas Graham’s unilateral policy requiring unanimous hapu agreement to settlements, which are holding up legitimate claims.

“4 of the 5 Muriwhenua hapu would settle tomorrow, but Sir Douglas is denying them justice. If one hapu out of 5 want to hold out, let them do so. A time limit on settlements will focus their minds, but why should their cousins be denied honest and generous settlements in the mean time?

“But ACT will also insist on an end to the nonsense claims by setting the end of the year 2000 as the cut off date when all claims must be made. If a grievance hasn't been identified after 160 years it's not likely to be genuine," Richard Prebble said.

“ACT’s Treaty policy has broad community support and ACT will have a mandate for our policy. To signal how committed we are to this policy, the first Private Members Bill to stand in my name in the next Parliament will be the Hon Derek Quigley’s Bill. I look forward to withdrawing it from the ballot and re-introducing it as a Government Bill, but either way, ACT is putting that Bill forward as the key to one law for all.”

“ACT wants honest and generous settlements and all legitimate claims to be settled by 2010. And it is a bottom line coalition mandate.” said Mr Prebble.

“The grievance industry is not delivering for ordinary Maori, it is not working for New Zealanders. The only people benefiting from it are highly paid lawyers and consultants.”

ACT wants Government to increase taxpayer resourcing of the Waitangi Tribunal to allow all claims to be heard and reported on by 2005.

“Canterbury people have today told that they welcome ACT’s leadership on the treaty - ACT was the only party that voted against the Ngai Tahu settlement. ACT knows all New Zealanders want leadership and certainty on this matter.”

“The ability of New Zealand, as a nation, to put the grievances of the past behind it is the greatest challenge facing Maori, Parliament and all New Zealanders in the 21st century. ACT has a vision for New Zealand, a vision, which will be fulfilled, a vision where there is one law for all, ” said Richard Prebble.

ENDS

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