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A deal’s a deal – except with Labour

A deal’s a deal – except with Labour

National Party Leader Don Brash has released the details of a letter which proves the 13 Rotorua lakes being signed over to local Maori were legitimately sold to the Crown in 1922.

In 1922 Te Arawa wrote to the King saying: ‘We thank you and Parliament for this year’s legislation, fulfilling all promises and engagements made to the Arawas since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, thus again proving that England’s stated word is a sacred bond capable of fulfilment’.

“A deal is a deal – except with Labour, when full and final will never mean full and final,” says Dr Brash.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Margaret Wilson is due to sign the Te Arawa lakes Deed of Settlement in Rotorua today (Saturday, 18 December).

“Labour has claimed that the sale was forced on Te Arawa, and Helen Clark says Te Arawa never ceded ownership of the lakes.

“But this is quite incorrect. As the letter shows, Parliament was thanked for ‘fulfilling all promises and engagements made to the Arawas’.

“Never has the ownership of a lake been handed back to Maori after a legitimate sale. The Labour Government is departing from usual practice for Treaty settlements,” says Dr Brash.

Crown Law has conceded the settlement is not required by law but is a political decision. It also accepts ‘the 1922 Act was effective legally to extinguish Te Arawa’s customary title to the Rotorua lake beds’.

Documents obtained by National under the Official Information Act also show the Departments of Internal Affairs, Conservation, and Treasury opposed parts of the Te Arawa settlement.

“While Ministers have claimed those departments have had a change of heart since these reports, the Government has provided no evidence to back up that assertion.”

Dr Brash is urging Margaret Wilson to hold off on putting her signature to the Deed of Settlement now the letter from Te Arawa has come to light.

”National says our lakes and our beaches should be owned by all New Zealanders,” says Dr Brash.


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