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Govt Backdown a Victory for the People

Govt Backdown a Victory for the People

“About bloody time he realised how serious this is” said MANA Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira after watching the Prime Minister’s very formal, written delivery to the media this afternoon on the issue of Maori water rights. “It’s a far cry from the disparaging comments he made about the claim, the Council and the Tribunal a couple of months back”

“Government’s decision to delay the sale of state assets until at least March 2013 is a back-down of massive proportions and a victory for all New Zealanders, many of whom have been working furiously to get together the numbers needed to force a referendum to stop asset sales”

“Even investment brokers are advising against this deal because of the lack of clarity around water ownership rights and that plays into the hands of the majority of New Zealanders who can see that the only people who will benefit from the sale will be overseas investors profiting from electricity price rises paid for by Kiwis”

“I’ve also worked very closely with the New Zealand Maori Council on this issue since before they announced they were pursuing this claim and this is a real victory for them too, particularly given the buffeting they took from the Prime Minister and from some rather smug iwi leaders whose only idea of Maori rights is how quickly they can get themselves on the right side of the Prime Minister”

“Certainly iwi have a role in this” said Harawira. “The challenge is for iwi leaders to ask the Prime Minister to allow Maori the time and space to discuss the full implications of the Tribunals recommendation that Maori have rights – ‘the closest equivalent of which, in the English sense, is ownership’.”

“There needs to be a full and open consideration of the rights and responsibilities that Maori have to water and the importance of water to the nation as a whole” said Harawira “and that can’t be done in 5 weeks, nor should it only include the PM and half a dozen selected individuals meeting behind closed doors”

“The Prime Minister’s back-down is also a victory for the much-maligned Treaty of Waitangi” said Harawira “and shows that the Treaty is the only constitutional document we can rely on to safeguard our assets and our future”

“This is not the time for hasty decisions or fast deals. Now is the time for patience and for participation, and I urge all iwi leaders to lead the engagement of their people in what is likely to be the biggest decision they will ever make”

ENDS

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