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28 Feb 2017 0:12
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    Peters defends stance on treaty bills

    Winston Peters, still under attack for wrecking the settlement bills event, says NZ First won't put up with "electoral apartheid".

    Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox has taken another crack at Winston Peters, accusing him of deliberately wrecking Parliament's plan to pass five treaty settlement bills on Friday.

    And as he came under renewed attack on Thursday, the NZ First leader revealed his reasons for forcing the bills to be put to a full vote.

    "The Taranaki Iwi Claims Settlement Bill hands power to iwi by giving them six decision-making roles on a local authority without being elected," he said.

    "This law will force the Taranaki Regional Council to appoint six iwi members ... this is electoral apartheid."

    Mr Peters also has issues with the Ngatikahu Ki Whangaroa Claims Settlement Bill over the way it returns Stony Creek Station to iwi.

    "This has to be resolved before any bill is passed, otherwise a court case is inevitable," he said.

    Ms Fox is still furious about the cancellation of the special sitting, which would have been attended by hundreds of iwi representatives.

    Mr Peters says his party has the democratic right to oppose the two bills it doesn't agree with.

    That will involve full debates and vote counts, which couldn't take place under the Friday sitting plan because most MPs and ministers wouldn't be in parliament.

    Mr Peters says they should never have been given leave in the first place.

    Ms Fox says NZ First can't be trusted.

    "If he called a conscience vote, or called a vote of no confidence in the government, people would have to fly back from all over the country ... those things could happen, he's just playing with the business of parliament."

    "This is nothing but grandstanding, he's building up for the election and this is the start of it," an angry Ms Fox told reporters on Thursday.

    "We had an agreement with them, two weeks ago, which meant the bills wouldn't be contentious, and then they turn around and do this."

    The Friday sitting has been cancelled and the bills will go on parliament's agenda in the usual way for their third readings.

    Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson is in charge of the bills, and he's just as angry as Ms Fox.

    "I expect there's going to be a lot more of this," he said.

    "Every time I take a treaty bill to the House between now and the close of parliament some time next year you can expect him to say I'm a bleeding heart liberal who has sold out to Maori.

    "I could write the speeches."


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