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PM's Presser: Rotorua, Maurice Shadbolt & Banks

Prime Ministers Press Conference 11th October 2004
Rotorua Lakes, Maurice Shadbolt, French Polynesia & John Banks


By Kevin List

In This Edition:
Don Brash and the Rotorua Lakes Settlement
The Death of Maurice Shadbolt
Progressive Governance Summit
Ructions in French Polynesia
John Banks

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Don Brash and the Rotorua Lakes Settlement

Answers relate to statements made by National Party Leader, Don Brash, relating to the Rotorua Lakes and Government settlement negotiations with local Iwi Te Arawa. Dr Brash's pronouncements were considered by the Prime Minister to be "grandstanding and stirring".

"My response firstly is that when you are negotiating a treaty settlement with an Iwi like Te Arawa, as with Tuwharetoa passed by the National Government under Doug Graham, you are dealing with the lakes as being at the very centre of interest for those Iwi. So clearly the issue of title to the lake bed will come into play. What is critical is that all the public’s existing rights are maintained with respect to those areas. I can assure you that this Government, when negotiating that, has done a far better job of protecting the public interest than the National Party did in the mid 1990s.

"Each claim is negotiated on its own merits and with the objective of upholding the public interest. There are quite significant shortcomings in the statement that Dr Brash has issued. For example he refers to significant new statutory powers which he alleges are given to Arawa as a result of the settlement. In reality what is being proposed is that Arawa have the ability to make a recommendation to the Minister of Fisheries on commercial fishing issues and what species should be allowed. The decision is one for the Minister of Fisheries so I would not myself have called a recommendatory power a significant statutory power.

"Secondly he has made allegations about government departments maintaining opposition to aspects of settlement. That is not correct - the issue at an earlier stage was that three government departments, Treasury, Internal Affairs and the Department of Conservation raised the issue of whether the settlement package should provide for statutory recognition of what is called the Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group - which is made up of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the Rotorua District Council and the Iwi of Te Arawa."

"The reason the departments raised that issue was that, in general, the settlement principles for negotiations say that redress should not impact on the powers of local government. What was distinctive about this settlement is that local government asked for this – in other words – the Rotorua District council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council requested that the settlement legislation give this statutory provision for the Rotorua Lakes Strategy Group. So I’m afraid the statement issued by the Leader of the Opposition was quite mischievous and misleading.

"I think a lot of people will agree with the Mayor of Rotorua who described this as grandstanding and stirring.

"On the basis of that experience [the National Government's settlement of the Lake Taupo claim] this settlement is a great deal tighter in ensuring that the water column and the air space explicitly remains in public ownership "

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The Death of Maurice Shadbolt

Answers relate to the death of well known and respected New Zealand author Maurice Shadbolt. Mr Shadbolt had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease prior to his death.

"They say that bad news comes in threes and this is the third passing of a very significant literary figure this year following on from the deaths of Janet Frame and Michael King. Maurice Shadbolt is a hugely significant New Zealand literary figure he has won nearly every imaginable literary prize…

"I think probably the work I would remember him most for is the work he did on 'Voices from Gallipoli'. He was the person who recorded and published the stories of the Gallipoli veterans when they were in their senior years."

**********

Progressive Governance Summit

The Prime Minister's answer relates to why she is going to the Progressive Governance summit in Hungary. A number of other nation's premiers will be in attendance including British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

"It is an opportunity to discuss a range of ideas around domestic policy and getting that balance between market and social policy with like minded people. But also to run through some of the international and bilateral issues of the day. "

**********

Ructions in French Polynesia

Answer relates to domestic political turmoil in French Polynesia.

"I wasn’t surprised by it because 'Foreign Affairs' has kept us posted in the last little while about what was happening in French Polynesia and I was aware by the weekend that there was a likelihood of this vote passing in the assembly in Papeete.

"Our position is that we work with whoever is the government of French Polynesia. This has certainly been a particularly short-lived one - it is really a question of whether there is a more stable path ahead or whether the balance of forces in the assembly is so fine that you could find the ball being passed backwards and forwards."

**********

John Banks

Answers relate to John Banks' ousting from the mayoralty of Auckland in the recent Local Government elections.

"Phil Goff isn’t shaking in his shoes – put it that way!

"We did joke that he might try the candidacy in Mt Roskill again, but I wouldn’t have thought a very substantial defeat in the Auckland mayoralty would be the best launching pad fro re-entering national politics."

Answer relates to a pledge made to give 110% to getting rid of the Prime Minister's Government.

"[John Banks] said that he was going to give that 110% - I'm not sure 110% of what [though] – 110% of running for the mayoralty resulted in a major defeat."

ENDS

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