17 May 2009

NZ may endorse UN indigenous rights declaration

8:50 am on 17 May 2009

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand could eventually endorse the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights, with some reservations.

Although it is too late to vote for the non-binding declaration, which was passed in 2007 by the UN General Assembly, Mr Key says New Zealand could follow Australia's lead in accepting the guidelines for dealing with indigenous populations.

Mr Key told Waatea News that says signing the declaration would be another step forward on the world stage.

"We'd be viewed in a slightly better way, even though the ridiculous thing is we should be viewed a lot better than a lot of those countries who have signed it, because we're actually walking the walk in this country when it comes to the rights of indigenous people."

Mr Key, who is working on the issue with Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, says there would be some caveats to Government endorsement.

Only New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States voted against the declaration in 2007.