NEW ZEALAND TO ENDORSE INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

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Australia also has decided to support UN declaration

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 8, 2009) – The New Zealand Government is set to endorse a United Nations declaration on indigenous rights, reversing the position of the former Labour government.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, who is also Maori Affairs Minister, says an announcement will be made within a month.

TV-NZ reports Mr Sharples has played down the effect of agreeing to the declaration in terms of providing new rights or self-determination.

New Zealand was among just four countries that last year voted against the non-binding declaration of the UN General Assembly that sets out the rights of the world's estimated 370 million indigenous people.

The non-binding General Assembly vote in September was 143 in favour, four against and 11 abstentions.

The other negative votes were cast by Australia, Canada and the United States.

Australia's Labor government has this year decided to support it.

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