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Maori Party Welcomes Discussion On Nationhood

Maori Party Welcomes Discussion On Nationhood

8 November 2004

The Maori Party today welcomed the news to establish a ‘conversation with the people’ about the status and role of the Treaty. The Maori Party has not been consulted about the Government’s discussions on constitutional reform, but has been responding to inquiries from the media.

“The Party’s position with respect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi is unequivocal – it is a cornerstone of the constitution of Aotearoa New Zealand. As such, it and its parent document, the Declaration of Independence 1835, have pivotal parts to play in the maturing of our nation” stated Mrs Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party.

The Maori Party had introduced the concept of constitutional reform at speeches presented at Taranaki and Auckland on 28 October 2004, at events commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence on 28 October 1835.

In those speeches, the Party foreshadowed a position on constitutional reform, centred on the importance of not only the Treaty of Waitangi, but also the Declaration of Independence. It also focused on strengthening the Bill of Rights.

There are a number of options for moving forward.

One is the option proposed by the Government;

One possibility is to convene a group of New Zealanders (not politicians) to provide thoughtful leadership on these matters as we look forward;

A further option is to establish a Royal Commission.

‘The call from tangata whenua and other like minded New Zealanders is for a comprehensive discussion led by the citizens of New Zealand’ she said today.

‘Our people are wary of a government-led inquiry’.

‘The Government’s chance for providing some leadership on this matter existed in the Foreshore and Seabed Process. That process has revealed that the select committee is rendered irrelevant’.

‘What our people have called for, as with the Foreshore and Seabed, is a reasoned and robust discussion about defined issues of constitutional importance’.

‘Central to this discussion is the need to increase New Zealanders exposure to and acquisition of, sound knowledge about the Declaration of Independence and Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the history of our nation’ said Mrs Turia today.

‘Nationhood is meaningless if we have not matured in our attitudes to and decisions about the past, present and future role these documents play in our lives’ stated Mrs Turia today.

ENDS


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