Prime Minister Welcomes Waitangi Co-operation

  • Jenny Shipley
Associate Minister of Local Government

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley today welcomed the plans and strong assurances she has received for a warm and useful meeting between the Crown and its Treaty partners at the Waitangi Day commemorations.

Mrs Shipley discussed the commemorations with colleagues at today's first Cabinet of the year.

She told Cabinet she is accepting an offer from the Waitangi Day organisers to be accompanied at Waitangi by a group of people from Taitokerau, including a number of eminent Maori women.

The group escorting the Prime Minister will include Sir Graham Latimer, Dame Mira Szaszy, Lady Emily Latimer, Dame Joan Metge, Mr Dick Dargaville and Mrs Titewhai Harawira.

"I welcome the strong leadership that has come from the people of Taitokerau who want to see the Crown return to Waitangi with dignity.

"I will be honoured as a woman and a representative of the Crown to be with such a group. And I am grateful to these people and others for their commitment to make the 1999 commemorations both useful and historic.

"That is what New Zealand wants."

The Ministerial group accompanying the Prime Minister will include Georgina Te Heuheu, Tau Henare, Tuariki John Delamere, Sir Douglas Graham, Bill Birch, Nick Smith, Clem Simich, and Marie Hasler.

Further decisions about the programme for the commemorations are being made by the Taitokerau people, and Mrs Shipley said she is very pleased there had been no disagreements about how the Crown would be welcomed.

In addition to the formal commemorations, Mrs Shipley plans to attend a forum on February 5 where the people of the North will talk with her and other Ministers about issues of shared concern.

"I'm sure we'll discuss both our common ground and our areas of difficulty.

"I want to listen to what people have to say, and see if we can work out some real plans for the way ahead," Mrs Shipley concluded.