11 Jul 2009

Lawyer sceptical that NZ will sign UN Declaration

6:06 am on 11 July 2009

A Maori rights lawyer is sceptical the New Zealand Government will sign a United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples is putting pressure on National to reverse New Zealand's vote on the United Nations' document.

Waatea News reports deputy prime minister Bill English has admitted the debate has shifted to what exceptions this country would want.

Moana Jackson says the Government should sign the declaration only if it is willing to abide by its terms, which past New Zealand Governments have been reluctant to do.

Mr Jackson says he fears the Government's response could be a repeat of the Crown's attitude to the Treaty of Waitangi: signing it, but not really honouring it.