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Be Radical; Look At The Treaty On Waitangi Day

Be Radical; Look At The Treaty On Waitangi Day

For me, as ACT's Treaty and Maori Affairs Spokesman, today is a day of reflection. I will go to look at the original signed Treaty, on display just for today, here in Wellington, ACT Treaty Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

Every year, usually at Waitangi, this day means some ritual humiliation of our leaders - both Maori and Pakeha. This year they have done it to themselves by conniving at race discrimination among journalists.

Every year more of us learn to treat it solely as an extra day for the beach, waiting for Anzac Day to celebrate as a true national day. And, every year, those of us who value both the Treaty, and our European Enlightenment heritage will end Waitangi Day worrying about whether New Zealand's leaders know where they want to lead - let alone whether they know how to get there.

This year is no different. Helen Clark and Bill English have shown that, by sacrificing principle, to be filmed at Waitangi. Every year, political spokesmen will mouth hypocritically about the sacredness of the Treaty. But all in the Treaty industry ensure they avoid what the Treaty actually says. They refer only to those imaginary "principles" invented by Sir Geoffrey Palmer in 1986. They will be applauded by the anointed, who despise their own heritage of a colour-blind rule of law, and by the insiders who profit from setting themselves up as the priests and interpreters of the "sacred mystery of the missing principles".

They know it would be dangerous to get caught using the actual words of the Treaty, because the words would show that, every day, they support and vote for new and continuing breaches of the Treaty.

I will go to look at the original signed Treaty because it is a marvellous part of our inheritance. I wonder whether I will see any of the anointed who claim power to rule through race defined privileges, grievances and duties. I think not. The anointed will not want to be reminded of the Treaty's actual words - so straightforward, so easy to satisfy respect for property rights, and genuine freedom to live as you choose on your property, under a law that treats all equally, without discrimination on the grounds of race or inherited status.

I will see nothing above the 1840 signatures about `partnership', consultation, veto powers on your neighbours' land uses, or protection for fanciful taniwha. I will see nothing about privileged entry to university, jumping the queue for health care, immunity from normal law on misuse of other people's money, or on conflicts of interest and nepotism.

I will reflect on the new breaches of the Treaty, the breaches that are unrecognised because of the tacit conspiracy to refer always to the principles, and not the provisions, of the Treaty.

For example, the Resource Management Act is a massive and continuing breach of Article Two's assurance of respect for Maori rights to use property as they choose. It is a breach of Article Three's promise to pakeha and Maori of equal treatment under that law that was to respect property rights. Some Maori may be tempted into accepting as compensation the extortion opportunities created in their favour by the RMA consent process. But most get nothing of that silver.

And I will think about the connivance in trashing some of our true founding principles by two would-be leaders of New Zealand. By voluntarily attending a marae, from which some journalists have been banned on race grounds, they endorse race discrimination.

I believe Nga Puhi should have every right to decide who they invite onto their land. I think it is odious that they make the distinction on race grounds, but the law should not pursue them for it. But by attending the lower marae, leaders of the two major parties show what they really think, of their votes last year, to beef up anti-discrimination law intended to make such discrimination unlawful. They only voted so they can order political show trials of ordinary bigots, while the high-ranking bigots go unchallenged. ACT rejected that hypocrisy then and we reject it now.

Clark and English should have said politely, but simply, "We cannot accept your invitation. We understand your objectives but we cannot, by our presence, lend respectability to conduct so contrary to all our rhetoric on human rights law and, so contrary to the hopes and expectations of those who signed the Treaty long ago. Your ban simply does not fit with `he iwi tahi tatou' - now we are one people. So we won't be there".

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