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Reckoning Day for Indigenous Rights

Reckoning Day for Indigenous Rights

Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki
13 September 2008

Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki, has today commemorated the first anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a bitter-sweet day of reckoning for tangata whenua.

“Today is a day to celebrate indigenous rights” said Flavell.  “We in the Māori Party join with 370 million indigenous brothers and sisters around the world, in marking this day as a significant milestone in the protection of human rights for indigenous peoples”.

“It is a huge disappointment that the Labour-NZ First Government has still failed to make any progress in signing up to such a vital document” said Flavell.

“At the core of the Declaration is the affirmation of minimum human rights standards necessary for the “survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous peoples of the world” said Flavell.

“But when we look over our record in the last year for tangata whenua,  we see continuing reminders of the Government 's  failure  to protect indigenous rights ”.

“We just have to reflect on the study from the Health Inequalities Research Programme which found that the social and political environment disadvantaged Māori; or the report from the Children’s Commissioner that 27% of all Māori children are living in poverty.  We remember Ruatoki and the terror raids on that community.”.

“Week by week the Government has been voting against recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi in vital areas like policing, immigration, and even emissions trading”

"Yet yesterday the Prime Minister  had a cheek to say  that they've worked hard to "work in partnership with Maori as Treaty partners".  Rubbish!

"The Māori Party takes up the occasion of the anniversary of the adoption to affirm our support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” said Flavell.

“And we are sure that as voters go to the polls for Reckoning Day in eight weeks time,  they will remember how political parties have acted in response to the UN Declaration when it comes to make their votes count” .

"Can they be trusted to do anything different?" asked Flavell.  "Their record so far as indigenous rights is concerned is a clear no".


On 13 September 2007, an overwhelming majority of nations (143) adopted the Declaration on the Rights of indigenous people, an international instrument which had taken over twenty years to negotiate.  New Zealand was one of only four countries who voted against.


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