November 03, 2016
Call for Key to speak up on Standing Rock
Labour Party leader Andrew Little believes New Zealand should add its voice in support of Native Americans trying to stop an oil pipeline going through their tribal lands.
Clashes between police and the self-described protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota are growing in intensity as the state government gets behind the private company building the $4 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which is designed to take raw crude from the Bakken oil shales to Illinois for refining.
Mr Little says it’s a test for New Zealand’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
He says any resolution to the crisis will require action by the federal government, so Prime Minister John Key should encourage President Barack Obama to uphold the land rights of the Standing Rock Sioux.
"We may be a little bit better than many other countries in respecting indigenous land rights. Clearly the US has some way to go and a country like ours is small but principled and with a strong reputation internationally on humanitarian issues. We should be using our reputation to cast whatever influence we can on a country like the US," says Andrew Little.
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