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Howard’s End: Maori are Right, NZ's Media Flawed

Howard’s End: Maori are Right, Mainstream Media Flawed

By Maree Howard

Maori elders are right, mainstream media and politicians pay lip service to the Treaty of Waitangi with no-one asking the fundamental question - if the Magna Carta, an English Constitutional document, can be enshrined into our New Zealand law as recently as 1988, then why not the Treaty of Waitangi? Maree Howard writes.

Over 780 years ago, on Monday 15 June 1215, John King of England met the Barons in a meadow called Runnymede between Windsor and Staines. There, the Barons made demands which the King accepted. When it was accepted the "articles of the Barons" became the Great Charter - or Magna Carta.

Once the Great Seal was affixed copies were sent thoughout the land to castles and cathedrals so that "all men would know and keep it well."

The liberties and freedoms in it have echoed down through the centuries, not so much as to the specific remedies of that feudal age, but as to the language in which it was couched. Here we have set down guarantees forever between the sovereign (The Crown) and the subject (us).

When the colonists crossed the seas from England and settled in other lands they took with them the principles set down in the Great Charter. They planted in the colonies the roots of freedom under the law.

Look at the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United States, Look, too, at the Constitution of Australia. They are direct descendants of Magna Carta.

In the Court cases Calder v Attorney General of British Columbia (1973) and R v Foreign Secretary ex parte Indian Association of Alberta (1982) the judges said this:

" In the context of the British experience in North America, including the 1763 Imperial Proclamation, the Indian Bill of Rights has force anlagous to the status of Magna Carta which has always been considered to be the law throughout the Empire following the flag to newly discovered or acquired lands or territories."

Therefore, upon settlement of New Zealand by the English Crown, Maori were not only entitled to rely on the provisions in the Treaty of Waitangi, but they were also entitled to rely on the provisions of the much more ancient Magna Carta. But, of course, at that time they never knew that.

Did the Crown honour either document on settlement of this country? No, it did not!

So, all this current divisive bluff and bluster by politicians about the spirit, the meaning and the intentions of the Treaty of Waitangi is political bullshit and grand-standing to an uneducated and probably uncaring public.

The politicians might lack scruples and honour but, above all, they are not stupid. They know there are votes to be had by divisiveness over Treaty issues.

The fact is, Maori have as big a claim to their rights under the much more entrenched and long-standing Magna Carta, as they do under the Treaty of Waitangi.

In 1988 the New Zealand Parliament again enacted Chapter 29 of Magna Carta into our law.

But hell, forget about the Treaty, it can be used and abused to get votes. One day, Maori and Pakeha will wake up to the fact that we are all being used for the purposes of power.

And don't forget the so-called "Fourth Estate" - the mainstream media - is also in the game of weilding power and exercising influence.

Why do you think television programmes religiously stick to the "If it bleeds it leads" policy. There's nothing better for ratings - read power and income - than to have some poor unfortunate wretch spilling their guts on television with tears rolling down their face after some kind of confrontation - be it with a dog, another human, the police or a politician or bureaucrat.

And news about a confrontation between Maori and Pakeha is the best of all. The media, particularly television, exploit it to its fullest by wringing every drop that it can out of that confrontational sponge.

So what you need to know and Scoop will tell you is this;-

Chapter 29 of Magna Carta says;- "No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold, or liberties or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will we not pass upon him, not condemn him, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right."

What part of that don't we understand?

Yet the Treaty of Waitangi, an equally important Constitutional founding document, was described in 1969 as not even being law in "Portrait of a Profession", the Centennial Book of the New Zealand Law Society. Furthermore, for 150 years the Treaty was declared a nullity by the Courts.

So, there is a fundamental question. If Chapter 29 of the 787 year-old Magna Carta can be enacted into our New Zealand law by Parliament as recently as 1988 - why can't the Treaty of Waitangi?

C'mon mainstream media and politicians - tell the public about that on the talking-head television shows. Or are Maori elders right, that you are indeed all racist?

© Scoop Media

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