MURIWHENUA LAND CLAIMDeputy Prime Minister
A mandatory order covering the settlement of this claim would be disastrous for New Zealand, says Deputy Prime Minister and NZ First Leader Winston Peters.
"If we end up with a mandatory order, then the blame must squarely go back to the last Labour Government, particularly Richard Prebble and Sir Roger Douglas.
"They are the ones who brought in the amendment which gives the Tribunal power to make such orders."
The Waitangi Tribunal is expected to present its considerations on the Muriwhenua land claim on Wednesday.
Mr Peter said when the report is received, Muriwhenua should take time to reflect on it quietly. "They need to present a united front. They should sit down around the table with the Crown and negotiate a settlement that is equitable for them and New Zealand as a whole.
"We simply cannot afford a mandatory order (allowed for under an amendment introduced by the last Labour Government). It is not the way to go and it will seriously impact on other settlements already made."
Such a settlement, if spread over other settlements on a pro-rata basis, would "bankrupt the country."
Mr Peters said the Crown accepted that wrongs had to be put right, but this did not mean going to the extent where new wrongs were created.