23 Apr 2010

UN Declaration will not be abused by Maori - Winiata

6:46 am on 23 April 2010

Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata says people should not fear the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be abused by Maori.

The declaration was affirmed by the New Zealand Government this week.

Professor Winiata says that like the Treaty of Waitangi, the Declaration will contribute to the richness of New Zealand's race relations.

He says the aspirational document is likely to affect the way laws are made and interpreted, but it won't be used as a stick.

A prediction that the principles of the Declaration will find their way into law, has been made by a former Waitangi Tribunal chair, Sir Taihakurei Durie.

It was contained in a private letter of congratulation to Maori Party MPs that was read in Parliament by Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira. The retired judge is now declining to comment further.

Professor Winiata says Sir Taihakurei is reminding people what happened with the status of the Treaty of Waitangi.

He told Waatea News this week's affirmation of the declaration had greatly improved relations between the Maori and National Parties.