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Labour Votes Down Treaty of Waitangi, Again

Labour Votes Down Treaty of Waitangi, Again

Hone Harawira, Maori Party Treaty & Constitution Spokesperson
7 August 2008

“Disappointed, but not surprised,” was the reaction from Hone Harawira, Maori Party Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau, at Labour’s Maori MPs voting down the Treaty clause that the Maori Party had proposed be included in the Policing Bill.

“Maori and the Constabulary have been at loggerheads ever since Hone Heke chopped down the flagpole in 1844,” said Harawira. “If ever there was a piece of legislation where the Treaty should have been included, it’s this one.”

Harawira presented an amendment to the House to insert a clause, “in interpreting and administering this Act, effect will be given to the Treaty of Waitangi” but it was voted down in the House.

“We wanted a Treaty clause, to ensure Maori would be involved in all decision-making, from governance to operations,” said Harawira, “I have no doubt that if that had been in place in 2006, the police raids into Tuhoe would never have taken place.”

Harawira pointed out that even the Commissioner of Police’s Maori Focus Forum considered “the absence of a Treaty clause to be a particular disappointment”.

“The inclusion of a Treaty clause would have been a principled policy response - both to the Government's Treaty obligations and to its absolute need to do all that it can to improve the state of the relationship with tangata whenua”.

“Labour has voted down the Treaty twice in the last three years. This was a chance for them to get some credibility back, but it seems they’re just not interested.”

“Special thanks to the Greens for supporting us on this,” said Harawira, “but our people are going to be gutted when they hear that Labour’s Maori MPs have chosen to vote down the Treaty, again.”


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