Conciliator needs to focus on nation building

Published: Wed 4 Dec 2002 05:41 PM
Race relations conciliator needs to focus on nation building
Startling comments made today by Race Relations Conciliator Joris de Bres do nothing to help Maori, Pakeha and all other New Zealanders build a nation together, says National’s Maori Affairs spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu.
“Mr de Bres’s startling comments comparing New Zealand to Afghanistan may reflect his honest belief but they do nothing to reconcile New Zealanders with each other,” Mrs te Heuheu said.
“Reconciling New Zealanders with each other is one of the most important tasks facing our country’s leaders.
“Mr de Bres is one of those leaders. Whatever his personal views, his position carries an expectation he will discharge his responsibilities with care and sound judgment.
“Addressing the Treaty of Waitangi and our colonial past are important and challenging issues for New Zealand. As a nation we do better than most.
“Mr de Bres needs to focus on enhancing people’s understandings, rather than confusing them. The backdrop for that exercise is all New Zealanders building a nation together,” said Mrs te Heuheu.

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