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No need for new Treaty Commission of Inquiry

No need for new Treaty Commission of Inquiry

Associate Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia says New Zealand already has a Commission of Inquiry into the Treaty of Waitangi – it is called the Waitangi Tribunal.

Mrs Turia was responding to a call from United Future leader Peter Dunne for a Royal Commission to establish clear markers about what the Treaty means.

"The Waitangi Tribunal is charged by legislation with determining the meaning and effect of the Treaty as embodied in the two texts, and deciding issues raised by the differences between them.

"In considering claims, it must decide if the Crown breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

"Over almost 30 years, the Waitangi Tribunal has made extensive findings on the intent of the original signatories, and how their aspirations in 1840 can be realised in today's circumstances.

"It has examined in detail the historical facts that lie behind the sense of grievance that many of our people feel today, and made practical recommendations on what can be done to put things right. It has made extensive comments on the principles of the Treaty.

"The fact that there is so much anxiety about the Treaty principles suggests that, while tangata whenua have taken the Tribunal's process to heart, many New Zealanders have never engaged at all.

"Relatively few have attended the public hearings, or read the Tribunal's reports.

"I think that, instead of setting up a new Commission of Inquiry, people of good will might take a fresh interest in the Commission we already have – the Waitangi Tribunal," said Mrs Turia.

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