NZ Joins the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ against Indigenous Rights
Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, Co-leaders of the Maori Party
Friday 14 September 2007
The Government’s decision to continue its collusion with Australia, Canada and America in defiance of the United
Nations, and vote against the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, will be viewed with dismay
by tangata whenua said the Maori Party.
“This week in Question-time, the Government described the Declaration as ‘incompatible’ with Government policy” said Dr
Sharples. “What are Maori to make of that – that the individual and collective rights of Indigenous People do not fit
with Labour policy?"
“The Declaration has been described by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a historic moment when UN Member States and
indigenous peoples “have resolved to move forward together on the path of human rights, justice and development for all”
said Dr Sharples.
“It is shameful to the extreme, that New Zealand voted against the outlawing of discrimination against Indigenous
People; voted against justice, dignity and fundamental freedoms for all” said Dr Sharples.
“This day will be a red-letter day for Indigenous Peoples of Aotearoa and the globe” said Tariana Turia. “Whilst the
Indigenous Peoples of some 143 nations around the world can be proud of their stand in support of the rights of
indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, our land of Aotearoa will
be forever marked as standing in opposition”.
“How can this Government oppose a declaration which promotes and protects what is meant to be merely a minimum standard
of human rights for Maori?” asked Mrs Turia.
“How can this Government vote against a text – despite two decades of advocacy – which sets out very basic rights of
Indigenous People to their culture, language, employment, health, education and their own needs and aspirations?” said
"How can this Government vote against such a text - despite the fact they have been instrumental in weakening its
provisions over the last few years? They've held Indigenous Peoples to ransom all over the world, and haven't even had
the decency to support the watered down version at the final vote. It is very clear they still think of Indigenous
Peoples as sub-human with only sub-human rights" said Mrs Turia.
“It seems to us, that the Government is happy to forever croon the catchcry of ‘Maori potential’ without ever putting in
place commitments to allow Maori to translate potential into power on our own terms” said Mrs Turia.
“We are tired of the Government’s paternalistic wish-list approach to Maori” said Mrs Turia. “The Declaration on
Indigenous Rights is fundamentally about making respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples manifest today, not some
far off date in the future”.
“It makes manifest that indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination, to have their lands and culture
protected, and their right to pursue their own visions of economic and social development” said Mrs Turia. “What part of
‘rights’ does this Government not get?”