Maoris defy land deadline
Friday 31 March 1995
The New Zealand government was also battling to avoid a race crisis on a second front as a top politician offered to resign amid accusations of racism over two hoax calls he made to radio shows when he masqueraded as a jobless Maori.
In Wanganui, 100 miles north of Wellington, Maoris celebrated the expiry of the local council's deadline for them to leave the Moutoa Gardens. As darkness fell, a band played and and there was a festive atmosphere among the 1,000 supporters from around the country.
In Wellington, John Carter offered to step down as parliamentary business manager for the governing National Party after impersonating a jobless Maori in the two hoax calls to radio shows.
The government turned down his resignation, provoking outrage and scorn.
"Does that answer mean that the performance of a racist hoax is acceptable behaviour for members of this government?" the opposition Labour Party leader, Helen Clark, demanded.
Mr Carter admitted he had called a radio show hosted by a cabinet minister, John Banks, masqueraded as a Maori called Hone, "free riding" on unemployment benefit. It also emerged he had made a similar call to another radio station. Maoris expressed disgust. "I think John Carter has just let Maori people know what the government really thinks about them," the Maori commentator Derek Fox said.
In the Wanganui dispute, Mayor Chas Poynter said that the local council would take the dispute to the High Court, while keeping up a dialogue with the protesters. The local council urged the government to step in and help resolve the issue. Maoris, who make up 13 per cent of New Zealand's 3.5 million population, have been vociferous in opposing government plans to set a NZ$1 billion (£404m) ceiling on claims for land confiscated by the whites since 1840.
- 3 Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
- 5 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...