Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

No Right Turn: Not Just About Treaty Clauses

No Right Turn

Not Just About Treaty Clauses


http://norightturn.blogspot.com

When Labour chose to rely on New Zealand First for confidence and supply, it knew it would have to swallow some dead rats. One of those rats is on the menu tomorrow, in the form of Doug Woolerton's Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill - and Labour's Maori MPs are already gagging. And who can blame them? The bill is an attack on Maori, which seeks to strip all references to the Treaty of Waitangi from legislation (including, ironically, several formal apologies in Treaty Settlement bills, the repeal of which could cast those settlements into doubt). But its worse than that, because the bill wouldn't just repeal the various "Treaty clauses". It would also repeal the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal to consider some claims, and to compensate some successful claimants.

The guts of the bill is section 4(1), which repeals a long list of enactments. Exactly what they do can be seen in the relevant bills digest. But right at the end, by which time everyone would have stopped paying attention, is this little bit:

(za) section 6(1)(d), section 8(1), and section 8HB of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975.

What do those clauses do? Section 6 of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 establishes the basic jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal to hear claims. Section 6 (1) (d) includes in this jurisdiction

any act done or omitted at any time on or after the 6th day of February 1840, or proposed to be done or omitted, by or on behalf of the Crown

This may be bad drafting - the clause is encapsulated by conditions which include a reference to the "principles of the Treaty", and repealing it alone would not prevent the Tribunal from considering past ordinances and regulations, or proposed policies or practices - but "act[s] done or omitted" is somewhat broader than that, and in the context of the other changes, the repeal is somewhat suspicious. Repealing the encapsulating clause would effectively strip the Waitangi Tribunal of all jurisdiction.

Section 8 allows the Tribunal to consider legislation referred to it by resolution of the House, or by a government Minister, to determine whether it is "contrary to the principles of the Treaty". To my knowledge it has never been used (the government will not refer legislation itself), but is in principle the same as the requirement of the Attorney-General to advise on consistency with the BORA.

Section 8HB allows the Tribunal to recommend the return of crown forestry land subject to a well-founded Treaty claim. Repealing it would effectively mean that some claimants might not be able to be compensated by the return of their land, unless it is vested in an SOE.

These aren't "Treaty clauses" by any stretch of the imagination. While they contain the phrase "principles of the Treaty of Waitangi", they don't govern the broad interpretation of legislation. Instead, they actually do things - and things that actually matter. Either NZ First has been doing some very sloppy drafting, or they are attempting to put one over on Parliament. And given the absence of this clause from the version of the bill which was put to the House in June last year, I'd suspect the latter.

And worst of all, Labour is going to vote for this. They have no choice, but it still stinks to high heaven. Regardless of whether it passes or fails, the Maori Party will crucify them for it - and Labour will deserve every bit of vituperation they get over it.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: U.S. Capitol Insurrection As Seen From Abroad

In the wake of the white nationalist mob takeover of the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s pending second impeachment, I contacted journalists and activists overseas to get an idea of how the rest of the world currently views us.... More>>


Ian Powell: Health Restructuring Threatens Patient Voice

The opportunity for public voice is vital for the effective functioning of New Zealand’s health system. Inevitably voice boils down to the accessibility quality of comprehensive healthcare services for patients both at an individual treatment and population health ... More>>


Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Denying Assange Bail

History, while not always a telling guide, can be useful. But in moments of flushed confidence, it is not consulted and Cleo is forgotten. A crisp new dawn can negate a glance to the past. Having received the unexpected news that Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States for charges of breaching the Espionage Act of 1917 and computer intrusion had been blocked by Justice Vanessa Baraitser, his legal team and supporters were confident. All that was left was to apply for bail... More>>


The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

Gordon Campbell: 22 Short Takes On The US Election

Finally, the long night of Donald Trump’s presidency is over. To date, the courts have been given no cause to conclude that the exhaustively lengthy counts of those mountains of mail ballots was anything other than legal. Stacking the US Supreme ... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog