Category: Constitutional Reform
Waitangi Day is an appropriate occasion to reflect on the Treaty of Waitangi. “The treaty cannot be any kind of founding document. The court of appeal once, absurdly, described it as a partnership between races, but it obviously is not."
Just a few days before Waitangi Day the government announced it has earmarked several million more dollars for Maori projects. During Waitangi Day commemorations it may express its willingness to give iwi leaders a greater say in governance, too - but without providing critical details.
That referendums can lead to disintegration of rational thought and political process has become abundantly evident from the chaos that has followed the UK Brexit referendum of June 2016.
This submission on behalf of the public policy think tank, the New Zealand Centre for Political Research, opposes the Electoral (Entrenchment of Maori Seats) Amendment Bill on five grounds.
In spite of assurances given by the National Government that under their new law, there would only be claims for remote areas of the coast, that would not impact on most Kiwis, it now appears increasingly likely that our entire coastline could end up under tribal control.
Ill-advised comments by senior Judges can have a profound and long-lasting impact. We saw this in the 1987 Lands Case between the New Zealand Maori Council - represented by Sian Elias - and the Attorney-General, when the President of the Court of Appeal, Sir Robin Cooke, used the word ‘partnership’.
"I swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Her heirs and successors, according to law, in the office of Judge and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of New Zealand, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God." This is the Oath of Office taken by all Judges.
Last month Parliament debated a Private Members’ bill to entrench the Maori seats. The bill would make it more difficult to abolish Parliament’s Maori seats by ensuring that a vote of 75 percent of MPs would be needed to get rid of them.