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Winston's games
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Winston’s games
WILLIE JACKSON 

Winston Peter’s apparently comes to Parliament to “goof around”. Well, that’s if you believe the criticism that has gone in his direction over the past week from Treaty negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee, and Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

In fact, Fox went as far as labelling Winston as nothing more than a “buffoon”

The criticism all came about after Winston and NZ First pulled out of an agreement to pass five Treaty settlement bills from the Taranaki area. They had concerns about some of the fine print, and exercised their rights to query the legislation.

Winston’s response to Fox, Brownlee and Finlayson was to label them as an ‘unsightly trio of drama queens’ and accused them of talking a ‘load of rubbish’.

He says an MP in his Party had concerns about a provision for non-elected committee members in the Taranaki settlement and the law will force the Taranaki regional council to appoint six iwi members Winston labels it electoral apartheid.

He said he had to act on this but believes if National really wanted to pass this legislation they would have made more of their Mps available for the vote rather than give them time off and he is right.

However the problem with that response was that hundreds of people had made travel plans to come to Wellington to see and honour the signing of the bills so it was a very tough day for Taranaki Maori, who have been waiting years for sign off. Marama Fox says justice delayed for iwi, is justice denied.

Winston though, has used the position to again advocate his one-law for all policy. It’s clear that he is pitching to the regional and Pakeha vote in the Taranaki area. Race relations have been tested in this area after New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd campaigned for Maori seats.

Judd calls himself a reformed racist and his rhetoric about Maori being discriminated against in the Taranaki area has not gone down well with Pakeha, and has ensured that he would not receive their support again for the mayoralty.

He obviously is tremendously supportive of the Treaty legislation that seeks to acknowledge how Maori are kept out of the democratic process.

Winston and his team have discovered that in the bills that were being presented to Parliament, so we shouldn’t be surprised that he was going to start rolling out his ‘apartheid’ and ‘we-are-the-world’ speeches.

Whilst that’s tremendously disappointing from a Taranaki Maori perspective, Winston is not going to be the king maker by winning the Taranaki Maori vote. He knows his constituency and where his core vote is and sadly in this instance, Maori have been the sacrifice.

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