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Bring Back Maori Battalions: Destiny NZ

Bring Back Maori Battalions: Destiny New Zealand Political Tour

Political party Destiny New Zealand presented its key policies in Whakatane on the weekend, including a call for an initiative to rebirth the Maori Battalions of World War II.

Talking to a predominantly Maori audience of nearly 200, party leader Richard Lewis said the initiative would be aimed at instilling pride, discipline and leadership in young Maori men.

He also challenged fathers to take ownership of their children's futures, saying the increase of fatherless families especially among Maori were alarming.

"One of the key planks of the Destiny New Zealand Family Policy is restoring a 'marriage' culture - where fathers and mothers stand by their responsibilities to their families and their children," said Lewis. "The pending Civil Union Bill is clear evidence that this present Government does not understand the vital role that marriage centred families play in maintaining a healthy and stable environment for our children and young people. At a time when the Government should be upholding the institution of marriage it is taking radical steps to undermine it."

The Party also presented its foundational policies on the Treaty of Waitangi. Destiny NZ considers the Treaty to be a significant founding document and one that the Crown has an obligation to honour.

"It is incredibly misleading to describe Maori's pursuit of justice and recognition as a pursuit for 'special rights'," said Lewis. "Maori are merely fighting for rights that the

Crown undertook to protect and uphold when they entered into the Treaty agreement. The test of real leadership will be reconciling those rights in a just and fair way and without compromising the rights of non-Maori New Zealanders. Te Iwi Maori are saying that the current foreshore and seabed policy is unjust and contradicts the Crown's Treaty obligations - these very real concerns need to be taken seriously."

Lewis also introduced Destiny New Zealand's Waiariki delegate, Hawea Vercoe, at the meeting in Whakatane while education spokesperson, Anne Williamson and economics spokesperson, David Jesze also made presentations.

Of Ngati Pukeko descent (a Ngati Awa hapu in the Bay of Plenty), Lewis has close family ties to the Whakatane area. He has been invited to return to Whakatane in the coming weeks for an official powhiri onto Ngati Pukeko marae and will take a large party delegation to the event.

Destiny New Zealand was launched last July and plans to stand candidates in many electorates throughout the country at next year's election.

The party has already held public meetings this year in Kaitaia, Whangarei, New Plymouth and Taumarunui and will hold its next public meetings in Nelson and Wellington on 8 and 15 May respectively.

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