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Media Must Test National On Its Treaty Policy

Sunday 23 Jun 2002

Last month Bill English gave a good speech on Treaty issues. It started to move National back from its complicity in the Treaty industry's tide of segregation and race discrimination in our law, says ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks.

"Now, Mr English's response of 'it's OK' to the reverse racism of his own candidate casts doubt on whether he has the determination to carry through even the policy that National has copied from ACT. There will never be full and final settlement if National will back down as soon as there is a fierce shouting from Maori," Mr Franks said.

"Journalists and voters will be doing all New Zealanders a favour if they follow this up. We could see New Zealand's first genuine election debate over the Treaty industry. Until now, Labour and National have been tweedle dum and tweedle dee on the Treaty.

"Test Mr English and his Maori candidates with questions such as those I listed in an address in Sydney last weekend, to the prestigious Australian Samuel Griffith constitutional society. ACT has been calling instead for the honouring of the true historical Treaty, not the spurious principles Labour and National invented.

"Those who oppose equality before the law should be hounded with questions such as:

1. Do they see Treaty settlements as compensation for contractual breaches, or pandering to the incoherent but prevalent expectation that they will also heal the social ills of Maori?

2. Will they support `one person one vote' democracy in central and local government, and abolish segregated voting?

3. Will they end appointments on the basis of race or identity group membership instead of merit?

4. Will they end misuse of the Treaty as a justification for positive discrimination?

5. Will they end consultation requirements to the extent that they amount to de facto veto rights, and stop exploitation of opportunities to extort consent fees?

6 Who is a Maori for legal purposes if the law is to continue to discriminate?

7. Will they bury the so called 'partnership' principle except as a rhetorical metaphor?

8. Will they rebut the claims that the Treaty obliges the Crown to guarantee favourable outcomes for Maori, with a robust rejection of the "positive duty" inventions of the courts?

9. Will they legislatively put a stake through the heart of the `living document' doctrines that enable courts and politicians to claim a Treaty duty and a justification for any privilege or patronage they wish to deliver?

10. Will they cease State artificial resuscitation of tribal government and collective remedies for ills, which are ultimately solvable only by people taking individual and family responsibility?

11. Will they objectively review the Waitangi Tribunal in light of complaints that staff is not objective. There must be a duty to test evidence and consider injustices for Maori under the Treaty impartially?

"Will they instead elevate the treaty to its rightful place as a constitutional document assuring Maori and, through them, pakeha, meaningful application of a tolerant rule of law and property rights? Will they guarantee what Labour will not:

· Rights to use and deal with property freely, subject of course to not damaging your neighbours' property, or polluting the environment

· Rights to choose how your children will be educated

· Rights to express your religious and cultural values even if they offend the politically correct

· Rights to organise tribally, and to hold assets collectively as you wish, at your own expense

· The right not to be forced to submit to cultural engineering?" Mr Franks said.


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