20 December 2001
Sandra Lee has slipped into the Local Government Bill a Treaty of Waitangi clause and provision permitting Local Authorities to create Maori constituencies. says Alec Neill, National Party Spokesperson on Local Government .
"The Treaty of Waitangi has no place in Local Government Legislation as Local Authorities are not directly involved in the Treaty Settlement process. The parties are the Crown and Maori so any obligations that arise under the Treaty of Waitangi rest with Central Government.
"If there are difficulties for Maori or any other group in dealing with the Local Government process, then these need to be addressed. But there should not be special treatment for any particular group.
"The Government has been able to give no explanation of why this clause has been added. The Government itself doesn't know what to do with Treaty matters so why should they expect Local Government to deal with it.
There is no justification for separate representation of Maori on Councils," says Mr Neill.