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Key needs to be honest on New Zealand’s history

26 June 2008 Media Statement

Key needs to be honest on New Zealand’s history

John Key’s attempt to gloss over difficult aspects of New Zealand’s history is not befitting of a man who wants to be Prime Minister, Treaty Negotiations Minister Michael Cullen said today.

Newstalk ZB is reporting this morning that John Key reacted to the historic Central North Island treaty settlement yesterday by saying:

We're not a country that's come about as a result of civil war or where there's been a lot of fighting internally, we're, we're a country which peacefully came together.

“New Zealand is now a world leader in reconciliation with our indigenous people,” Dr Cullen said. “We achieved that status by being honest about the significant injustices suffered by Maori following the signing of the Treaty – including violent conflict, the denial of human rights, and the theft of property.

“As I said yesterday, New Zealand’s colonial history was classic, not unique. While the Treaty gave us the chance to avoid the mistakes of other nations, we lost that opportunity almost immediately.

“We saw war, we saw internal fighting, and we saw for decades a failure to keep peace between our people. From the Maori Land Wars to Parihaka, our history has more than its fair share of painful episodes.

“In recent decades, Maori have shown that when the Crown is willing to be honest about our failures, iwi are eager to put past differences behind us. In today’s Deed of Settlement with Taranaki Whanui, for the first time an expression of forgiveness will be offered to the Crown.

“We cannot move forward without understanding our past. Mr Key has some work to do.”

ENDS

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