Māori Party Disheartened by ‘About-Face’ on Treaty
Te Ururoa Flavell
MP for Waiariki
Thursday 8th November 2012
The Morning After: Māori Party Disheartened by ‘About-Face’ on Treaty
Māori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell said today he is disheartened by the National Party’s apparent backtracking on commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
“On a day when Obama wins the US elections; when Parliament affirms the rights and rangatiratanga of Tauranga Māori, when the Prime Minister talks nationhood; when we could have been unique and marked our Parliament and its relationship with Māori as important, we instead were let down by a disappointing defeat on the Oaths and Declarations (Upholding the Treaty of Waitangi) Amendment Bill.”
“We had the courage, the good will, the commitment to promote the Treaty as our founding document for those who may have wanted to exercise that right – but when it came to the vote, National, New Zealand First, United Future and ACT walked away.”
“It defies reason why the National Party lacked the courage of their convictions when it came down to letting New Zealanders have a say about my bill” said Mr Flavell. “Once again they voted politically rather than putting the interests of our country's future first”.
“The Treaty is accepted by a majority of New Zealanders as being for all of us and as the starting point for our nation – and yet National was too gutless to vote in a way which would advance the evolving progress of a Treaty-based nation.”
“Only a year ago, National signed up to a Relationship Accord with the Māori Party based on the premise that 'the Treaty is our country’s founding document'. My bill was to enable all New Zealanders the opportunity to make these words count – to express a commitment, if they so wish, to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi.”
“What would it have hurt for National to allow the Bill to go out to the people for their feedback? Last night wasn’t about voting the bill into law – it was seeking feedback from the broad constituency whether to insert the optional additional words “I will uphold the Treaty of Waitangi” or “Ka whakaūngia e au te Tiriti o Waitangi” across a range of oaths and affirmations.”
“Instead, National and its mates closed down any opportunity for the conversation to occur and in doing so has denied New Zealanders a practical means of showing the significance they attribute to Te Tiriti o Waitangi in their own lives.”