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Labour keeps Te Arawa deal secret to the last

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

15 October 2004

Labour keeps Te Arawa deal secret to the last

National Party Leader Don Brash is questioning why the Government is being so secretive about the Te Arawa lakes deal, signed today.

"Labour's sensitivity around this deal has been further highlighted by Margaret Wilson's decision not to show the heads of agreement to Parliament before the signing.

"This, in effect, makes it a Labour Party deal with Te Arawa, not a parliamentary deal.

"National, as a result, feels no obligation to back this. Te Arawa should be aware of National's view that it is inappropriate for today's Labour Government to be rewriting a deal done back in 1922.

"Our other fear is that this potentially sets a precedent for claims to the seabed and foreshore being advanced privately by some iwi during secret talks with the Government.

"These 13 Rotorua lakes are national treasures. Title to the lakebeds was transferred to the Crown after negotiations with Te Arawa in 1922 and reports suggest that Labour made the offer to hand over ownership before any negotiation had taken place.

"The signing of this deal tells us that there will never be any such thing as full and final under this Government. New Zealanders know their children and grandchildren will be condemned to endlessly re-live the Treaty grievance process until Labour is thrown out.

"National supports the speedy and just resolution of historic Treaty claims, but we will not support the Government's agenda to deliver the ownership of significant natural resources into the hands of one group of people.

"National says the lakes, the beaches and the seabed should belong to all New Zealanders," says Dr Brash.

ENDS


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