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


One law for all --- Richard Prebble

One law for all
Wednesday 25th Aug 1999
Richard Prebble

Speech -- Governance & Constitution

Extract of speech to Indian community

Gandhi Centre, cnr New North Rd & Virginia Ave, Auckland, 7.30 pm Wed 25 August

One law for all

Hon Richard Prebble CBE, Leader ACT New Zealand

The ACT Party is raising an issue where all the other parties have virtually the same policies and none have a mandate. That is our present Waitangi settlement process. Neither Labour who started it, nor National who is continuing with the policy, have ever sought a mandate from the electorate.

The policy is roaring out of control. We now have claims for the electromagnetic spectrum, for the water in our rivers and for the flora and fauna of New Zealand. It has become a cargo cult. But it has gone further - government departments, without any mandate from Parliament, are now issuing mission statements declaring New Zealand to be bicultural.

This raises an interesting question - where does that leave ethnic communities like the New Zealand Indian community? Which one of the two cultures does the government say you are? Alternatively, is government perhaps saying your culture does not exist? Where did they receive authority to make such statements?

Where does it say that we are bicultural in the Treaty? Where does it say we are bicultural in any Act of Parliament? You may think it is harmless window dressing, but it's not.

Last year I spoke to the NZ Sikh Association. Afterwards I was having a cup of tea and one member challenged me: "What special measures will you promise for us Sikhs?"

"Nothing. I promise you'll get no more and no less than any other New Zealander."

He pressed me. "We've had MPs from Labour and the Alliance. They have given us a promise of a new ethnic ministry. Why doesn't ACT?"

I held my ground. "I won't promise you preferment because one person's positive discrimination must mean another person was discriminated against. I believe in equal opportunity for all."

He then said, "How can I join ACT?"

"Why the change of heart?" I asked?

"My son wants to be a doctor," he told me. "He was dux of his school. He applied to the Auckland Medical School and was declined. They said that New Zealand has too many Indian doctors."

I made inquiries with a friend who has been on the interviewing panel of the Medical School. At first he said this couldn't have happened, but after a 20 minute conversation he admitted it could have.

When I was growing up in the '50s, I was taught at school that what the Treaty meant was that we are all New Zealanders, with equal rights as citizens. Since then they've gone and changed it.

I say the original meaning of the Treaty as intended by Governor Hobson and the chiefs who signed it was that Maori were getting the same citizenship rights as everyone else.

I also say that New Zealanders of Indian descent deserve the same citizenship rights as all others.

I do say to you that there is no such thing positive discrimination. Whenever there is someone receiving preferential treatment, that means some other New Zealander is being negatively discriminated against.

The ACT Party stands foursquare for equal opportunity and we're absolutely opposed to privilege and discrimination of any kind. In many ways I believe this is the most important issue of this election. I invite you to decide whether you are prepared to tolerate discrimination by government agencies that by implication are saying that your culture and your citizenship rights are in some way less valuable and less entitled to respect than others. If we don't stop this nonsense now, it may later prove impossible to stop.

The ACT Party does not say - and never has - that Maori have not suffered real grievances or we shouldn't address them. ACT says let's deal with genuine grievances - not made-up ones.

You don't have to be a lawyer, Sir Douglas, to know that Treaty claims for sunlight or the electromagnetic spectrum are bogus. Nor do you have to be a lawyer to know that unless Parliament sets a timetable and a cut-off date for claims and clearly states all claims must be fair, full and final, then this grievance industry which the Waitangi process has become, will just keep on going.

New Zealand deserves better. We are a multi-cultural and multi-racial people and we want a level playing field and one law for all. [end]


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election