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Treaty Of Waitangi Issues Must Be Resolved

Media Release
Extracts from a speech to a public meeting in Blenheim

12 November 1999


The New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters said today that 99 percent of all Waitangi Tribunal claims could be resolved by the year 2005.

"Mr Bolger campaigned in 1990 on the same stance that National would settle the issues of the Treaty of Waitangi by the end of the decade.

"Mr Prebble then comes along many years later, and says he wants the settlement process to take ten years longer than the National party originally did.

"Mr Prebble's position is one of naked hypocrisy. Mr Prebble and Mr Shirley, leader and deputy leader of Act, as well as Roger Douglas, founder of Act, voted for every piece of legislation establishing the Waitangi Tribunal and legislation under its operation.

"Now for political purposes he seeks to disown the process when just ten years ago he was calling me a "Maori basher" for pointing out defects in the process.

"In 1992 Mr Prebble again voted for the Sealord deal even though there is no legislative distribution mechanism in the Maori fishing legislation.

"The losses of Mr Prebble and the Labour party, and Ruth Richardson (a current Act member) and the National Party over the BNZ amount to far more than this settlement process would take. That's Act's track record and it is a deplorable one.

"It is way past the time when these issues should be resolved. A great number of Maori are asking why these issues are still dragging on for twenty five years since the original act was passed.

"New Zealand First will settle these within five years if there's undertaking to get proper resourcing, to ensure that the level of investigative research is of a quality that the public can have confidence in and rely upon. Over 99% of the cases could be settled expeditiously this way".


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