September 29, 2014
Treaty Grounds charge defended
Returning New Zealand First MP Pita Paraone has walked into a political row over entry fees for the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi.
From Saturday adult New Zealanders will have to pay $15 to enter the historic site.
The charge for overseas visitors remains $25.
Mr Paraone, who chairs the Waitangi National Trust, says the charge is necessary because lower numbers of overseas visitors means the trust can't pay its way.
New Zealanders have had free access since 2008, when then-Labour MP Shane Jones pressured the trust to drop a charge.
Labour's new Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis says New Zealanders should be able to visit the birthplace of the nation for free.
Mr Paraone's new boss Winston Peters agrees, saying the charge sends the wrong signals.
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