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Principles dilemma awaits Peters

Hon Georgina te Heuheu National Party Associate Treaty of Waitangi Issues Spokeswoman

9 December 2005

Principles dilemma awaits Peters

An interesting dilemma awaits Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters when he has time to sit down with his officials and work on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Statement of Intent for the coming year, says National's Associate Treaty of Waitangi Issues spokeswoman, Georgina te Heuheu.

"I will be looking forward to seeing whether the Minister signs off on a statement similar to that which guided the Ministry's work last year, when in setting out its key goals it made reference to '...upholding the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi'."

Mrs te Heuheu questioned MFAT officials yesterday at the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee about the statement in their annual report.

The officials indicated they were yet to confirm with the Minister whether a similar objective would remain.

"If Mr Peters does sign off a similar statement, National will be seeking clarification from him of what the meaning is," says Mrs te Heuheu.

"For the past three years, the Minister has been quizzing Government Ministers on the meaning of the 'principles of the Treat of Waitangi', presumably in order to enhance his own understanding of them and to gauge their relevance in public sector activities.

"Now, as a Minister, he is going to have to explain them himself.

"I await with interest to see which side of the fence Mr Peters sits on, given that he appears to have struggled with the relevance of the 'principles' statement for the past three years," says Mrs te Heuheu.

ENDS

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