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Don Brash alarmed at Maori fee plan for ‘free air’

Don Brash alarmed at Maori fee plan for ‘free air’

National Party Leader Don Brash says revelations today that Ngati Tuwharetoa want to charge for the use of air space above Lake Taupo will confirm for many New Zealanders the Treaty industry has gone much too far.

“The very suggestion of a challenge like this serves to reinforce to most of us that this PC nonsense must be stopped before it goes any further.

“This is the thin end of the wedge and too absurd to seriously contemplate.

“If you take this example to its extreme conclusion, it would add huge additional costs to an Auckland/Wellington airfare,” says Dr Brash.

“National has set realistic deadlines and is committed to speeding up and concluding historical Treaty claims, and we will continue to strongly oppose those that seek to enshrine divisive clauses into legislation.

“This type of claim, for ‘free air space’, is precisely the kind of claim that Labour is seeking to protect, with comments like ‘what the Crown guaranteed in Article II was not simply a list of possessions - including lands, forests, and fisheries - but the much more open concept of taonga - best translated into English as treasures. And that, of course, leads us into such areas as language. It genuinely makes the Treaty a living document where new applications or implications may arise as circumstances change’. (Michael Cullen, April 2003)

“National does not accept this position. I cannot accept, nor do I believe New Zealanders should accept, a society that singles out one group of people on the basis of their race.

“Most New Zealanders will be shocked by Maori claims to charge for air space. This is precisely the dangerous divisive drift that National has been warning of.

“Only National can be trusted to deliver on policies that give all New Zealanders equality before the law,” says Dr Brash.

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