Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Flavell: Māori must make decisions about Māori representation

Speech - TE URUROA FLAVELL (Co-Leader - Māori Party)

General Debate, Wednesday 23 July 2014, 3.30pm

Speaking of individuals, not that I do want to, I note that Colin Craig wants to be an MP, and Colin Craig introduced his latest attempt at a headline by calling it a wild and crazy idea. He is not wrong there.

But more than that, the Conservative Party’s policies to get rid of the Māori seats, shut down the Waitangi Tribunal, and implement one law for all are ignorant, are dangerous, and are not welcome in the political system of our country.

It is election time and once again political parties that are in trouble choose to pull the race card out of the hat to scratch the redneck part of our society. I can tell you that Māori are sick of it, as is this nation. Politicians have a responsibility to educate and inform, not act in such a way as to provoke racial division and tension.

New Zealand needs leaders who understand that indigenous rights are human rights, that cultural diversity and representation are good for democracy, and that the constitutional basis of our nationhood lies in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

I for one am proud to say that this has been the consistent call of the Māori Party since we first entered this Parliament. We want all aspiring members of Parliament to understand that dedicated Māori electorate seats distinguish our democratic process here in Aotearoa.

Actually, we must not forget that the first race-based law was introduced in 1858 and was called the English Law Act, which was one single statute which imposed the one single culture, customs, and conventions of Britain on all New Zealanders. The Māori electorate seats are a conversation between Māori and the Crown—not for the majority of New Zealand making a decision for a minority.

As the Chief Judge of our Courts Taihākūrei Durie said: “Like the Treaty of Waitangi, the Māori parliamentary seats stand as an enduring symbol of their constitutional status and historic statements of principle like symbols are essential tools in rebuilding our national identity.”

Since the English Law Act we have been in catch-up mode ever since, trying to build a more representative Parliament that encompasses all New Zealanders not just those with a British passport.

The Māori seats have been an important mechanism to try to protect and develop Māori interests. Colin Craig needs to know that his party has no right—no right—to step in and try to take the rights away from tangata whenua. Only tangata whenua have the right to determine what is in our best interests. As parties to the Treaty, Māori should have at least guaranteed representation in the organs of kāwanatanga.

Labour tried in the past through the Foreshore and Seabed Act and by opposing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and look how that went down. We have been down that track before and we do not want a repeat run. The reality is that the New Zealand Government, after advocacy from the Māori Party, signed up to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in 2010 and it is here to stay.

In fact, Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states: “Indigenous peoples have the right to participate fully, if they so choose, at all levels of decision making in matters that affect their rights, lives, and destinies through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures.”

So we are where we should be, and we should not have to put up with the divisive rants of some. We have had over 170 years of attempts at assimilation, from various politicians and parties, and we continue to suffer from the consequences of those sorts of policies today.

The old assimilation policy is hidden behind a few new terms and slogans, such as “one law for all”, or “we are all one people, we are all Kiwis”, and even “some of my best friends are Māori.” But the intention is the same, and we know all about that. In this day and age there is no place for political leaders who know nothing about our history and know nothing about us. There is no excuse for being ignorant and we, the people, will never ever* tolerant policies that aim to take away from us, without our informed consent. That will not happen. Māori must make decisions about Māori representation.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Royals: The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall To Visit

Prime Minister John Key welcomes today’s announcement that the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit New Zealand in November. This will be the second joint visit for Their Royal Highnesses to New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Tracey Martin Replaced: Ron Mark Is New New Zealand First Deputy Leader

Clayton Mitchell was the successful candidate for the Associate Whip position. Winston Peters was re-elected as Leader by the Caucus. Ron Mark was elected as the Deputy Leader with effect from 10am, Friday, 3rd July. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuild Rebrand: "Regenerate Christchurch" To Replace CERA

The regeneration of Christchurch will be the city’s focus for the next five years as local leadership progressively takes control of the rebuild, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

ALSO:

Nauru: Scholars Urge Minister To Act On Deteriorating Democracy

“Since the 2013 election in Nauru, there has been a series of disturbing developments on the islands that indicate a severe deterioration in the state of its parliamentary democracy and in the rule of law,” say the scholars. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: NZ Begins Presidency Of UN Security Council

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the start of New Zealand’s month-long Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in New York. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cash For Charter Schools, Mould For State Schools

“Recently released financial statements show the Whangarei charter school He Puna Marama received $3.9 million in government funding to the end of last year. Yet their audited accounts show they only spent $1.4 million on education, leaving almost $2.5 million over two years unaccounted for." More>>

ALSO:

Kiwirail Plans Shift From Electric: National Urged Not To Take Backwards Step

The National Government shouldn’t drag New Zealand backwards by replacing its climate friendly electric trains with carbon-polluting diesel trains, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Capital Connection:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news