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Shane Jones bites back over cold reception at Rātana

Merewai Durutalo

Chilly reception for Minister Shane Jones at Ratana celebrations

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

The reception at Rātana Pa yesterday for coalition government members from New Zealand First, Fisheries Minister Shane Jones and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, was far from warm.

But Jones was quick to respond to it: “Today one of the orators insulted Winston and myself and described us as slaves for destroying the language and I told him before the new moon rises again he’ll be eating his words.”

“Know this from me! No single critique from the government from the various iwi will ever doubt the strength of my response on behalf of both the government and New Zealand First.”

Jones thinks iwi have held on too tightly to the foreshore and seabed issues.

“We’re trying to implement our programme, which is beyond one single bill, but I sense that the mania that gripped iwi and the seabed and foreshore is starting to trickle through over the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.”

But he dismissed it as “a wave that will eventually crash”.

‘Rhetoric driven by the Māori Party’

“The people who came to Rātana today are obviously concerned about the future of the Treaty. I don’t think they’re really concerned about the future of the language.”

Jones says he wants people to realise that the treaty debate is only one feature of the government’s enormous programme.

“I think the notion that we’re the enemy of iwi is just rhetoric and is probably driven by the Māori Party.”

He says he doesn’t believe there’s a skerrick of accuracy that somehow the coalition government is destroying Māori initiative.

“What we’re doing is moving iwi leadership out of grievance mode into practical demonstrable results on the ground.”

“Look, all politicians have to be respectful of the community and it’s important that I  acknowledge that there is a great deal of concern. I say to those people: Read the coalition agreement. Their fears are not borne out when you read our coalition agreement but, sadly, no one seems to be listening.”

Hero image: Shane Jones speaking at Rātana Pa. Photo / Te Ao News

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