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Treaty Inquiry Must Not Become Elitist Love-In

Tuesday, 16 March 2004

Treaty Inquiry Must Not Become Elitist, Academic Love-In

United Future leader Peter Dunne today said that a necessary pre-cursor to a Royal Commission on the Constitution and the Treaty’s place in it must be a process of engaging in the widest possible conversation with the New Zealand public.

“It’s been claimed that through the appointment of its members, and the kinds of people likely to make submissions to it, a Royal Commission might reflect the views of the elites, judges, and academics that have hitherto dominated the debate,” he said.

“I say that if the citizenry are to have faith and trust in a Royal Commission, it must address the concerns of real New Zealanders.

“I propose that the first stage in the process of establishing a Commission, perhaps before any appointments are made or terms of reference finalised, is to take these issues around the town halls, the clubrooms, the meeting rooms and marae of this country and find out exactly where the concerns of the public lie. These views would then be fed directly into the terms of reference, not to mention the deliberations, of the Royal Commission.

“I’m not suggesting that we take this approach with every difficult issue that the government faces, but this is such a defining issue for the future of this nation that as leaders we must proceed only with the will of the people behind us,” said Mr Dunne.


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