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No Repeats, Mr Peters says Maori Party

No Repeats, Mr Peters says Maori Party
Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, Co-leaders of the Maori Party
Monday 29 October 2007

The use of extravagant descriptions of a ‘bunch of malcontents’, of people “prancing around protesting” and “ramming their hymn of hate down our throats” is classic political entertainment, says the Maori Party, and signals the start of NZ First’s Election campaign of personal attack. “Winston has always been an entertainer” said Mrs Turia, “and so it pays not to take some of his showy phrases, such as ‘the plague of separatism’ too seriously”.

“Where it gets to be of concern however,” said Mrs Turia, “is that some of his wildest allegations, including making outlandish comparisons with the crime of apartheid, hype up unnecessary and unhelpful prejudice and fear within the wider public”.

“There is no place for playing the race card, over and over again in politics” said Dr Sharples.

“New Zealanders are tired of colour being used as a term of abuse. Mr Peter’s comments that people were marching against the police raids on communities because they were brown, evoke a racial divide which is unhelpful, and hark back to the eighties when ‘race’ – describing people in terms of their physical appearance - was commonly applied to exclude and marginalise people from one another”.

“New Zealanders know that NZ First is the party pushing to delete the Treaty from legislation” said Dr Sharples. “The comments over the weekend demonstrate just how limited their appreciation of the Treaty is. In describing the rights of rangatiratanga in terms such as 'militant separatism', Mr Peters is doing a great dis-service to the progress we have made in Aotearoa, in valuing and respecting our unique cultural heritage”.

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"The Maori Party has always been very clear that acknowledgement of the Treaty is critical not only to the well-being of tangata whenua, but also to the quality of all cross-cultural relationships, and the health and prosperity of our nation generally", said Mrs Turia.

Cultural Pride is something to be Proud of says Maori Party

“The Maori Party celebrates culture, we celebrate ethnicity, we respect the Treaty, we are proud that Aotearoa is based on many peoples, many worldviews, and many culturally distinct communities” said Mrs Turia.

“Politicians have to stop getting so angry about ‘race’” said Mrs Turia.

“New Zealanders don’t want to live in a colour-blind society, where culture doesn’t matter. It does matter. Cultural pride and heritage is a vital measure of the health of a nation. We are also proud to live in a nation where Te Tiriti o Waitangi honours the unique status of tangata whenua in this land – and in doing so, also reaches out to all of the cultures who call Aotearoa home”.

“And while we all await the outcome of the current police actions, we will not resile from our responsibilities to present the concerns from our constituencies about the process being used by the police and the courts - a process which has had a traumatic impact on all of those people targeted and their whanau, hapu and iwi”.

Mrs Turia finished with a final message for Winston, “I just want to say that I’m really happy to sit down with him, and go through our party constitution. It is really disappointing that he is still harping on the same lines about race, when he knows as well as we do, that we are a party who is really committed to being inclusive, a party proud to be driven by kaupapa and tikanga Maori for the benefit of all of this nation”.

ENDS

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