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Waitangi 'tour' for PM urged by ACT

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/01/2017 Sean Martin
English will still meet with more than 60 iwi leaders at the Iwi Chair's Forum in Waitangi on February 3. © AAP Image English will still meet with more than 60 iwi leaders at the Iwi Chair's Forum in Waitangi on February 3.

ACT New Zealand says Prime Minister Bill English should go to a different location each year to mark Waitangi Day.

Mr English has chosen events in Auckland over the traditional powhiri and celebrations at Te Tii Marae in Waitangi on February 6 this year because of an ongoing dispute over speaking rights.

ACT leader David Seymour says the prime minister's decision to attend a Ngati Whatua event in Auckland on Waitangi Day should mark the beginning of a Waitangi tour.

The Treaty of Waitangi was taken on tour and signed by chiefs across the country, says Mr Seymour.

There's no reason to reward disrespect at Waitangi with a monopoly on the prime minister's attention. Iwi across the country deserve the same level of access.

"Bill English's attendance of the Auckland event should mark the beginning of a tour across the country. The prime minister could celebrate Waitangi Day at a different marae each year, based on the different signing sites from 1840.

"Te Tii would eventually have the chance to host the prime minister in a decade or so," he says.

Mr English will still meet with more than 60 iwi leaders at the Iwi Chair's Forum in Waitangi on February 3.

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