The Green Party is calling upon the Government to negotiate with the united Maori forum on water rights in good faith and genuinely consider the Waitangi Tribunal's findings, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said today.
Claims by the National Government that the Maori Council is not representative of Maori have prompted a pan-Maori forum to be formed to negotiate with the Crown on the issue of water rights and asset sales. The Key Government has stated its intention to push ahead with asset sales regardless.
"The Key Government's rush to sell assets does not justify it ignoring its Treaty obligations," said Mrs Turei.
"The Key Government's strategy has been to try to use the water rights issue to split the opposition to asset sales, pitching Pakeha against Maori, and Maori against Maori.
"It hasn't worked. Maori and Pakeha are united in their opposition to asset sales.
"It is the Key Government that is split with the opinion of the vast majority of New Zealanders when it comes to asset sales.
"Bullying the Waitangi Tribunal into releasing an early interim report to meet the Key Government's arbitrary deadline only makes things worse.
"If the Key Government truly believes that asset sales are the right thing to do, then why is it rushing to get the programme completed before the next election in defiance of Treasury advice to spread sales over 4-5 years?
"The Key Government's actions are going to lead to expensive and lengthy court battles, which will not provide an enduring solution to the important issue of water rights in our country.
"That can only come from the Key Government dropping its ideologically-driven asset sales programme, and talking with Maori and other stakeholders in good faith," said Mrs Turei.
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