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The co-leaders of the Maori Party have welcomed the report of the United Nations Human Rights Council which has recommended our government better protect Maori rights.
The report was published in Geneva last night in response to a report from a delegation from New Zealand led by Justice Minister Simon Power.
Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples says, "I hope people will read the full report of the UN Human Rights Council. I congratulate our government on the frankness of the report Minister Power gave to the UN council. I am happy to say that Maori people were consulted, and the Maori Party had input into that report."
Co-leader Tariana Turia says she supports the report and says people should not be surprised by the UN council’s decisions, which would improve our government's performance in international eyes.
"I commend the commitment of Treaty workers, iwi trust boards and other NGOs whose hard work has been recognised in the quality of the recommendations from the Human Rights Council."
"The appointment of two Maori Party Ministers, who support a whanau ora approach to Maori development, will help progress on reducing disparities between Maori and non-Maori, in key portfolios of education, health Maori Affairs and social development," said the co-leaders.
Many key issues in the report are under action, specifically a review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which was criticised by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and a planned review of constitutional issues including Maori representation, which will no doubt include the Treaty of Waitangi.
"Minister Power made clear to the UN the government’s desire to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and we expect to make announcements in the not too distant future," said Dr Sharples.
The government will respond formally to the findings and recommendations of the Council and delegations at the UN – by September 2009.