28 Nov 2009

Goff's speech scaremongering - Maori Party

6:08 pm on 28 November 2009

The Maori Party is accusing Labour leader Phil Goff of trying to divide the nation by accusing the Government of re-opening racial wounds.

Mr Goff says the Government has re-opened the debate over the foreshore and seabed law for political reasons and it's time the Government spelled out what the changes might be.

He has also accused Prime Minister John Key of doing "cynical" and "shabby" deals with the Maori Party in order to secure its support for changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Mr Goff says the deal over the ETS has put the concept of full and final Treaty settlements at risk.

Maori Party MP Rahui Katene says the comments are scaremongering and racially divisive. She says the Labour leader needs to think seriously about his position if the best he can do is make divisive remarks.

Deal 'benefits many'

Maori Party whip Te Ururoa Flavell says the benefits of the party's deal with National over the ETS will not be restricted to an elite group, as the Labour Party claims.

The scheme allows five iwi rights to plant trees on Crown land and claim the carbon credits.

Labour Party MP Shane Jones says that advances the interests of a narrow elite, but Mr Flavell says his party negotiated with a mandate from meetings that involved about 40 tribal groups.

He says the iwi involved in the deal represent tens of thousands of people; Ngai Tahu alone represents 50,000.

Mr Flavell says the agreement with National will also benefit many lower income earners, because households will face lower increases in power and petrol prices after the obligations on those industries were eased.