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Hayes “stalking horse” for National in Pacific

23 October 2009 Media Statement

Hayes acting as “stalking horse” for National in the Pacific

Foreign Affairs Select Committee chair John Hayes is clearly acting as a “stalking horse” for National in wanting to administer Pacific nations like Tokelau and the Cook islands as local government organisations, Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Luamanuvao Winnie Laban said today.

“When Mr Hayes spoke to the New Zealand Institute of Foreign Affairs this week, he dismissed these countries as entities. They are not entities. They are nations with unique histories, cultures, peoples and values,” Winnie Laban said.

“Mr Hayes wants to administer these nations like local government authorities, ironically at the same time as his Government is seeking to limit what local government authorities are allowed to do.

"If New Zealand local government authorities cannot own shipping lines or ports, as Local Government Minister Rodney Hide wants, what becomes of Tokelau if it were administered in a local Government model.

Luamanuvao Winnie Laban said the people of Tokelau and the Cook Islands have a long relationship with the government and people of New Zealand.

“New Zealand has a responsibility to protect the language, culture and lifestyles of these unique micro-states. Tokelauans and Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens. As such they are entitled to the same level and quality of government services that other New Zealanders receive as of right,” Winnie Laban said.

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“New Zealand aid provides support to Tokelau, but its people do not enjoy the same quality of education, health and public services as other New Zealanders. We must ensure that aid money sent to the Pacific is being spent effectively and efficiently but reducing aid further could put this unique society at risk.

“Mr Hayes wouldn’t allow New Zealanders in remote parts of his Wairarapa electorate to go without basic public services, so why is he willing to allow that to happen to Tokelau or the Cook Islands?”


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