Winston Peters has said Labour hid its He Puapua plan from him, but new documents show he’s either forgotten he helped approve it, or can’t tell the truth,” says ACT Deputy Leader Brooke van Velden.

“Peters told the Herald in November last year that, when he was Deputy Prime Minister, he was kept in the dark over the commissioning of He Puapua:

‘When I shake someone’s hand, and they deliberately mislead me and my caucus, who are a critical part of a coalition, they don’t get a second chance to do that again.

‘I regret that. It’s sad that it has happened but those are the facts and they cannot deny it.

‘You don’t get a second time to lie to me, or my party and they did.’

“But documents revealed by Newshub tonight show that he either forgot that he approved a plan to commission He Puapua, or he just can’t tell the truth.

A minute from the Cabinet Māori Crown Relations Committee, at which a plan to comply with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (later known as He Puapua) was commissioned, records Peters and Shane Jones as being present.

“The paper says a working group would be created in April 2019 and that Cabinet would consider the matter further in August 2019.

“Cabinet committees are where substantive discussions take place and plans are thrashed out before going to the full Cabinet for approval. Peters was there when He Puapua was commissioned. Has he forgotten, or is he not telling the truth?

A final paper, dated 18 March 2019, was considered by the full Cabinet. Peters’ diary shows he attended the post-Cabinet press conference on 18 March 2019. Was he not at the full Cabinet meeting, too? His MP Tracey Martin was there. Perhaps he forgot she told him?

“Maybe he just forgot. Forgot he helped sign off commissioning He Puapua. Forgot to ask, ‘what happened to that project I agreed to’ for the rest of his time as Deputy Prime Minister. Forgetful would be the kind version. The alternative is he just can’t tell the truth.

“Winston Peters has a long history of letting voters down. New Zealanders who care deeply about the constitutional future of our country, and who want every citizen to have the same rights, will be deeply disappointed that Peters helped commission He Puapua.

“Peters says he’ll never support Labour again because they hid He Puapua from him. Now we know they didn’t deceive him, nobody can trust him not to support Labour again.

“This is yet another example of why he can’t be trusted. Peters is yesterday’s man.”

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