TVNZ reports; “Anger over Maori claims on the seabed and foreshore has brought hundreds of people onto the streets of Nelson. The march was organised by the government's political ally United Future party which believes the issue could divide the country. Those involved said they fear becoming second class citizens if claims to the foreshore are successful.
“If we create rights for some New Zealanders and not others, then we start down a very sure and slippery slope to anarchy," says leader Peter Dunne.
That story was dated July 28, 2003, http://tvnz.co.nz/content/209059/2556418/article.html
It’s now 2010: the issue is the same, but Mr Dunne’s position appears to have reversed. He is now supporting National’s foreshore and seabed bill that will indeed “create rights for some citizens and not others”.
Why the flip-flop? Is it because he has genuinely reversed the strong position he held in 2003? Or is it he wants to keep in sweet with National to enhance his prospects for re-election in the northwest Wellington electorate of Ohariu, a seat he holds at National’s pleasure? Or is he bound by the coalition agreement he has with National?
In fact, there is nothing in the agreement that requires Peter Dunne to support National on anything but issues of confidence and supply. (The agreement can be seen on http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz/successes/).
If Mr Dunne has had a “conversion” type experience along the winding political path that has seen him in coalition with both Labour and National, then I am sure there is genuine public interest in knowing what that experience was.
With the National / Maori sovereignty Party majority for the Bill now on a knife edge, the spotlight should turn on individuals like Mr Dunne to explain why they are supporting a Bill the public don’t want. The response would be especially interesting in Mr Dunne’s case given he is now supporting the very things he railed against in 2003.
Peter Dunne’s email address is: mailto:email@example.com