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Public servants and the 'Treaty principles'

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

25 February 2005

Public servants and the 'Treaty principles'

National Party Leader Don Brash says the next National Government plans to strip references to the vague 'principles of the Treaty of Waitangi' from public service employment contracts.

"The next National Government will make it clear that a knowledge of the Treaty and its supposed principles will not be a condition of employment for people working in the public sector."

Dr Brash was speaking in Auckland today.

"Instead, we will adopt a less exotic approach in relation to the recruitment of public servants; one where we seek auditors who can actually audit, managers who can manage and accountants who can count," says Dr Brash.

It has been a year since Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark promised to clean up the mess created by the 'principles' of the Treaty.

"Political correctness around the Treaty? The stuff that Trevor Mallard was committed to eliminating? We know that almost every advertisement for a job in a government department still includes words noting that the department has a "commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi", though without the slightest explanation of what that might mean.

"A recent advertisement for six positions in the Ministry of Transport noted that that department was 'committed to creating a positive linguistic environment where te reo Maori is valued and encouraged'. Another advertisement, for the position of Deputy Controller and Auditor-General, notes that the applicant should have 'the ability to work effectively within the spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi'.

"Of course those public servants working to resolve Treaty settlements need to have an understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi, but there is surely no need whatsoever for other public servants, or for school teachers, or for nurses, or for Auditors-General, to subscribe to a particular view of what the Treaty implies," Dr Brash says.

ENDS

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