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Northland Maori leader condemns land occupation

17 November 2010

For Immediate Release

Northland Maori leader condemns land occupation

Matarahurahu leader and Ngapuhi spokesman, David Rankin, has made scathing comments about the protesters occupying private land at Taipa in the Far North.

“They are behaving like idiots, and embarrassing the vast majority of Maori who believe in working through formal processes”, he says. “I have been at loggerheads with the Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson in the past, but on this occasion, I back his comments a hundred per cent.”

Mr. Rankin reserved his biggest criticism, however, for the “self-appointed” hapu leader Margaret Mutu, who is backing the occupation.

“Mrs Mutu is an employee of Auckland University, and yet she is encouraging her people to break the law [The Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975] by claiming that they have a right to occupy private land. The University needs to have a close look at her position and her utterances. She is irresponsible and appears as though she is encouraging this illegal action for the benefit of her own reputation”.

Mr Rankin predicts that the protesters will be forced off the private land eventually, and that they should support their iwi which is negotiating at present for their Treaty settlement.

“If the Popata brothers, who are the puppets at the front of this protest, continue to cause trouble, they should expect some severe consequences from the state, and as far as I am concerned, that would be well deserved. Their actions are setting back race relatyions in this country for decades”

ENDS

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