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Maori Party Raises the Flag of Self-determination

Maori Party Raises the Flag of Self-determination in Parliament today

Dr Pita R Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Dr Pita Sharples, co-leader of the Maori Party, today used the opportunity of the Parliamentary General Debate to initiate some questions about the concept of self-determination, a concept which has gained international traction following the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on 29 June of this year. The Declaration is now being sent to the United Nations General Assembly for adoption at the end of this year.

Article 3 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that :

‘indigenous people have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development”.

“I chose to give profile to the concept of self-determination, as I see it as absolutely critical in this time, that all New Zealanders consider how we can enhance the relationship between Tino Rangatiratanga and Käwanatanga as provided for in Te Tiriti o Waitangi” said Dr Sharples.

“Essentially, it is about the relationships we value as New Zealanders”.

“Rangatiratanga, the authority of whanau, hapu and iwi in our own rohe, is an ideal that tangata whenua are consistently looking to uphold” said Dr Sharples. “We in the Maori Party are aware of the dedicated commitment of so many of our people, to achieving self-determination - in order to manage their own destinies”.

“As such, the Maori Party has been aware of the considerable anger expressed by many Maori groups and individuals, about the way in which New Zealand joined forces with the United States, Australia, Canada and the Russian Federation in opposing the text of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” said Dr Sharples.

“When self-determination is such an important aspiration for tangata whenua, it is both irresponsible and discriminatory to fail to talk to Maori about the position New Zealand is taking on this issue overseas”.

“We have received a large number of objections about the way in which New Zealand has represented the position of Maori overseas” said Dr Sharples.

“New Zealanders have told us that they believe the Government has acted deliberately, in such a way as to weaken the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They have also expressed their concerns about the repeated refusal of the New Zealand Government to actually consult with Maori about the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.


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