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Dr Muriel Newman

Welcome to the future

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MtCookOne only needs look at the present to see what New Zealand will be like in the future. The North Island will be known as Te Ika a Maui, the South Island as Te Waipounamu, and New Zealand as Aotearoa. Those who use water for commercial purposes will be charged “storage” because lakes and rivers will be known as vessels owned by iwi. Helicopter pilots hovering over mountains will be prosecuted for “offending” the sacred ancestors of Maori. Kapahaka groups will be flown around the world at taxpayers’ expense to accompany dignitaries. New immigrants will be required to undergo Treaty of Waitangi “awareness” training as a condition of their settlement. Treaty “education” in schools and the workplace will be mandatory. And there will be preferential race-based treatment for health, education, and all social services…

If a Treaty-based constitution becomes law this will be future New Zealand. Every law and every regulation will be tested to ensure preference is given to Maori. The outcome will be predictable – a two-tier society divided by race: a tribal ruling class dictating across-the-board race-based preference, with all other New Zealanders relegated to second class citizenship status. By all counts it will be an apartheid society.

This could never happen, you might be saying as you dismiss these comments as scaremongering. Yet a study published by Research New Zealand earlier this month shows just how close we are to this new reality.1 The study, which was based on a telephone poll of 500 people between March 19 and March 26 2013, asked whether Treaty of Waitangi principles should be incorporated in the New Zealand Constitution. 58 percent of respondents said “Yes”. Only 35 percent disagreed with the proposition. That is enough to change the future direction of New Zealand – and give strength to the Maori radicals who are intent on reclaiming New Zealand from the ‘colonialists’.  The poll had a margin of error of 4.7 percent.

You may well ask how it is possible that 58 percent of the population would want a Treaty based constitution? Two reasons. Firstly, the question was leading. It asked, “It is likely that a New Zealand Constitution would incorporate the principles embodied in the Treaty of Waitangi. In your view should the principles of the Waitangi Treaty be included in a New Zealand Constitution?” Had the first sentence of the question been omitted the result might have been quite different.

Secondly, in the absence of a full and proper debate on the issue, it is likely that many of those answering the question would have had no idea of the ramifications of a Treaty-based constitution.

The breakdown of the poll responses in the report shows that of the total 58 percent of respondents who voted in favour of a Treaty of Waitangi constitution:

– 61% were female and 55% male;
– 67% were 18-34 year-olds, 58% were 35-54 year-olds, and 51% were aged 55 & over;
– 57% were “NZ European/Pakeha”, 67% were “Maori/Pacific”, and 57% were “Other”;
– 60% earned under $40,000, 54% earned $40-$80,000, and 60% earned $80,000 or more
– 61% lived in the upper North Island, 51% in the lower North Island, and 59% in the South Island

This poll reveals how close minority interests are to changing race relations in New Zealand. Let’s not forget this agenda is being led by a minor Maori sovereignty political party that gained only 1.4 percent of the party vote in the 2011 General Election – 31,982 votes. A condition of the Maori Party entering into a coalition deal with National was a review of the constitution with a view to giving ‘effect’ to the Treaty of Waitangi.  The Maori Party’s goal was clear – a new constitution based on the Treaty of Waitangi as supreme law.

The Maori Party’s constitutional review was launched with the appointment of a Constitutional Advisory Panel in August 2011. Members of the panel were racially selected – a Pacific Island and an Asian representative, five Maori and five non-Maori. This significant over-representation of Maori on the panel is consistent with the move by Maori supremacists to ensure that the Maori voice or vote on official bodies is equal to that of non-Maori. That this creates a bias in official affairs, including those of the Constitutional Advisory Panel – a jack up in plain words – appears to be of no consequence to this government.

The panel’s public consultation process, which is only just underway, is scheduled to last until the end of June. That means that means an official consultation period of only 4 months out of the more than 2 years that they will have been in existence and being paid by taxpayers. No public meetings of the “town hall” variety are being held, only hosted meetings run by a private organisations. Maori-only meetings are scheduled but non-Maori are not invited.

It is a low key approach designed to ensure the review “flies under the radar”. As a result, few New Zealanders are even aware of the review – as was confirmed by the Research New Zealand poll, which showed that two thirds of the respondents had not even heard that a constitutional review was currently underway. And of the minority that are aware of the constitutional review, few are likely to realise it is the brainchild of Maori radicals.

The truth is that there is no widespread public demand for a new constitution – a full Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry in 2005 found that there was no constitutional crisis in New Zealand that needed to be fixed.

The Constitutional Advisory Panel has a new website and is calling for submissions. Nowhere on that website is there any explanation of what it would actually mean for New Zealand if the Treaty of Waitangi was inserted into a new written constitution. The best explanation to date remains the article, A Treaty of Waitangi Constitution, written by Canterbury University law lecturer and Independent Constitutional Review Chairman David Round for the NZCPR in which he outlines the implications of a Treaty-based constitution – see HERE.

This is how our constitution is described on the advisory panel’s website:

New Zealand has a constitution – it’s just not all written down in a single document. Our constitutional rules include legislation such as the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Constitution Act 1986, foundational documents such as the Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840 and established constitutional principles.

The submission questions then ask:

1. Do you think our constitution should be written in a single document? Why?
2. Do you think our constitution should have a higher legal status than other laws (supreme law)? Why?
3. Who should have the power to decide whether legislation is consistent with the constitution: Parliament or the Courts? Why?

Regarding the Treaty of Waitangi, the website states:

The Treaty of Waitangi is an agreement made between the British Crown and Māori chiefs in 1840. It enabled the British to establish a government in New Zealand and confirmed to Māori the right to continue to exercise rangatiratanga. The Treaty is generally regarded as New Zealand’s founding document and influences the relationships between the Crown and Māori. The Treaty is one of the factors that may be taken into account in law-making and public decision-making.

The questions then ask:

1. Thinking of the future, what role do you think the Treaty of Waitangi could have in our constitution?
2. Do you think that the Treaty should be made a formal part of the constitution? Why?

We have compiled a full list of the submission information and questions from the website HERE. We hope it will assist anyone who intends making a submission to focus on the matters that are of greatest concern to them.

Until the Research New Zealand poll was published, anybody who understood what a Treaty of Waitangi constitution would mean for New Zealand might have thought that there would be little public support since the consequences for the future would be so disastrous. As David Round puts it in his December article, “The Treaty could be used in every single situation we can think of as an argument as to why the law should grant special privileges to members of the ‘Maori race’, and why any law that does not do so is defective… A Treaty clause is an invitation to endless litigation, and a guarantee of eternal uncertainty and racial bitterness.”

However, this poll highlights how trusting New Zealanders are and how naive they would be if they actually believe that their government would not introduce such fundamental changes to our democracy – if it meant staying in power. The public appear happy enough to go along with the idea that they might be helping to overcome “Maori disadvantage” – even though past grievances have been settled multiple times, and despite Maori tribes are now being amongst the wealthiest institutions in our society (and now well resourced to further pursue their sovereignty agenda).

Do not despair – of course we are fighting back, but all we have is the truth behind us and the power of words. We have launched the Declaration of Equality as an alternative vision of the future – one based on equal rights with no special treatment based on race. Some 42,000 people have signed the Declaration, but to make a real difference we need many more. If you can help to spread the word and encourage more people to sign, then please do so.

One heartening result from the Research New Zealand poll was the fact that almost 80 percent of respondents believe it should not be up to the government to make constitutional changes – they believe that right belongs to the public. When asked “If a document called the ‘New Zealand Constitution’ emerges from the review, Parliament alone could decide whether or not to adopt it or a referendum could be held. Which of these would you prefer?” 79% said the decision should be made through a referendum, and only 13 percent thought it should be made by Parliament alone.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is Professor James Allan of Queensland University, a constitutional law expert and member of our Independent Constitutional Review Panel, who is a staunch advocate of the use of referenda as the main democratic means of bringing about constitutional change. In his article Changing an Unwritten Constitution, he picks up on a recent statement by the Prime Minister, “So when Mr. Key muses, as he recently did, that you couldn’t just change from a 3 year electoral cycle to a 4 year one on the basis of a 75 percent of MPs vote – that this less fundamental shift needed a binding referendum – it surely follows that the even more important and central issue of our constitutional arrangements themselves also need a binding referendum before there can be change.”

He ends, “If any change to New Zealand’s unwritten constitution were to proceed without a binding referendum, my sense and indeed my hope is that the National Party would be obliterated as a political force in New Zealand.”

Until now, many of you who regularly read these newsletters will have been thinking to yourself that you don’t need to do anything because the Maori Party will never succeed with their plan for a Treaty based constitution that puts their personal ambitions above those of the nation. Well, I hope this poll has stirred you out of your complacency. Politics and democracy can deliver the best we can hope for as citizens, but it can also deliver the worst.

New Zealand is at a tipping point, brought about by MMP. The public now has two options – complacency… allowing themselves to be manipulated by a radical minority, or standing up for what they believe to be right. At the NZCPR we are doing all we can to stand up for equality and stronger democracy. We hope you will do so too.

For more information please visit www.ConstitutionalReview.org to sign the Declaration of Equality, put in a submission, volunteer to help, or donate to the cause.

If you too are fed up with more and more race-based preference being thrust onto the country, then join us in saying you have No Confidence in establishment politics – click HERE for more details.

  1. Research New Zealand, Review of the New Zealand Constitution