Parliament

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

 

Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill

Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill
Hone Harawira, Member for Te Tai Tokerau
Wednesday 7 November 2007

I must say it was a real privilege and a joy to be on the Justice and Electoral Select Committee to hear the submissions on this bizarre and ridiculous Bill todelete the “Treaty of Waitangi and its principles” from legislation.

Aprivilege because it enabled me and the rest of the Committee, to get a real sense of how united the country seems to be, in opposing this mean-spirited piece of legislative malevolence.

And ajoy, because I got a buzz from the passion, the intensity, and the rationale that backstopped the overwhelming opposition to this Bill, sponsored by Doug Woolerton and represented by Pita Paraone, on behalf of NZ First; and because I was able to listen to all the groups, many of whom were non-Maori, who were able to tell us what an incredibly dumb idea this Bill was.

And they weren’t telling us it was a good idea at the wrong time, nor that it had merit but that it had simply been badly written, nor in fact were they saying that there some good clauses, which might benefit from being rewritten.

What they were saying, was that this was a bill which would do unspeakable harm to race relations in this country, roll back any gains made over the past 25 years, and work to the detriment of the whole nation.

Te Korowai Aroha Health Centre said that taking “the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles” out of legislation would not enhance Maori health, but would in fact make it even worse.

Ngai Tahu Mamoe said the principles of the Treaty actually helped protect our ecosystem from pollution, and the excessive extraction of resources.

AndSir Ivor Richardson himself said:“for its part, the Crown [in 1840] sought legitimacy from the indigenous people for its acquisition of sovereignty, and in return, it gave certain guarantees”.

These words – legitimacy, sovereignty, guarantee – all concepts pivotal to the status of the Treaty and the relationship of the Treaty partners, came up time and time again, through all the many submissions we received, and what the majority of submissions said (some 160 out of 171) was that these concepts had been discredited by successive governments, and would be permanently scarred, if this Bill were to go through.

In their submission,Te Kaunihera Kaumatua o Te Whanganui-a-Tara said:“Maori have honoured their part of the Treaty … As for the Crown, they have never fully honoured their part of the Treaty and continue to use legislation to steal what is rightfully owned by Maori – for example, the foreshore and seabed”

The Treaty was supposed to establish a partnership, in which both partners have a duty to act reasonably and in good faith, but this Bill goes a long way to destroying utterly, apartnership which is already in dire straits following this government’s support for Police use of the Terrorism Suppression Act as a vehicle for mounting attacks against Maori communities and individuals, and engendering widespread fear and anxiety throughout the wider community.

The Maori Party absolutely rejects NZ First’s unsubstantiated and ludicrous claims that taking the"Treaty of Waitangi and its principles" out of legislation, would actually begood for the relationship between Maori and Pakeha, just as we also absolutely reject their preposterous claim that“the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles" willharm race relations in Aotearoa.

BUT, Mr Speaker,BUT, and I repeat again Mr Speaker,BUT that’s not nearly as ludicrous, nor as preposterous, nor as farcical, nor as downright perfidious, as Labour’s Maori MPs going along with this legislative foolishness!

Mr Speaker, Labour’s Maori MPsvoting to delete the "Treaty of Waitangi and its principles" from legislation, is as dumb as turkeys voting for an early Christmas, or Helen Clark calling for a snap election!!

But vote for it they did, and not just a couple of them either, but the whole lot of them -Parekura Horomia, Nanaia Mahuta, Mahara Okeroa, Mita Ririnui, Dover Samuels, Dave Hereora, and Shane Jones, !!!!

I mean, just who on earth do they think is going to support them after theyvoted to delete the “Treaty of Waitangi and its principles” from legislation?

Can Labour’s party politics be so dictatorial, and can Labours Maori MPs have been rendered so voiceless, so powerless, so helpless, so toothless and so incapable, that they would willingly sacrifice their very Maori-ness byvoting to delete the “Treaty of Waitangi and it’s principles” from legislation?

For heaven’s sake - this country is actually founded on the Treaty of Waitangi! and dare I say itagain, this very Prime Minister herself even went so far as to contradict her own vote on this Bill, when she called the Treaty of Waitangi, the foundation document of this nation.

Mr Speaker, it’s not theprinciples that have caused harm – it’s theprinciples that have not been honoured, that have caused the real harm.

Ngai Tahu Maori Law Centre in fact, spoke to this very point, when they said:“If passed, this bill will do unspeakable harm to the race relations of New Zealand Aotearoa.”

And in that light, it is very clear to see exactly what the mightyMaori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples meant, when he said that the recent terrorist raids into Ruatoki had“set race relations in this country, back a hundred years.”

And in the same way that we condemn this damnable piece of legislation to the refuse heap, so too do we condemn in the strongest possible terms, the recent actions of the Labour government against the Tuhoe nation, the Ruatoki community in particular, and tangata whenua in general.

The Waitangi Tribunal says that acting reasonably, honourably and in good faith, actually requires both Treaty partners to acknowledge each others respective interests, authority and values.

Yet whatTe Runanga o Ngati Apa told us was that the“removal of the principles would signal a continuing erosion of the already fractured relationship between Maori and the Crown”, and they described this type of behaviour as not befitting a partnership, but rather demonstrating the arrogance of a domineering partner.

Ngati Apa also reminded us of the words of the greatTahupotiki Wiremu Ratana, when, through Ratana MP Eruera Tirikatene, he placed before parliament a petition, calling for the Treaty to be enshrined in ALL legislation – a call that Ngati Apa told us, has been virtually ignored.

TheNew Zealand Chinese Association said that this Bill was nothing more than an attempt at the“denial, erasure or the forced forgetting of New Zealand’s history” - when what we all need is to remember and acknowledge our history, our accountability, reconciliation and healing.

And you couldn’t help but notice, that while we were hearing submissions on this Bill, theUN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was notingwith concern, the proposal to remove statutory references to the Treaty of Waitangithrough this veryBill.

That UN Committee was of course, called in to respond to the Foreshore and Seabed Act; an Act which was frequently and consistently referred to throughout select committee hearings, as representing the ultimate breach of the Treaty.

Te Runanga o te Rarawa however, came at it from another angle altogether, when they suggested, that if NZ First’s argument that putting in the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi were made“not at the request of Maori, but by paternalistic and interfering Ministers”, then on principle, NZ First should also support striking outother legislation like the Foreshore and Seabed Act, made“not at the request of Maori, but by paternalistic and interfering Ministers”.

But did they do that? Oh no, no no … the stated aim of their Bill, of this Bill, is to eliminate all references to“the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles” not to help Maori at all.

This Bill, this callous attempt to wipe out all references to“the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles” from legislation, confirms the intention of this government, and its partners, to minimise the Treaty, to marginaliseMāori, and to reduce Treaty rights to a nullity.

The Maori Party will never accept the arguments of those parties, and Labour’s Maori MPs in particular, who voted to destroy the Treaty.

The Maori Party stands by its commitment to the principles of partnership, active protection, and the duty to act reasonably, honourably and in good faith.

The Maori Party stands by its commitment to“defending Maori rights and advancing Maori interests, for the benefit of the whole nation”

And the Maori Party invites all other parties to enter into discussions as to how we might make the Treaty the basis of a positive future together, rather than the rock on which our uncertain alliance will forever founder.

The Maori Party opposes this Bill, with every fibre of its being.

Tena koe, a, tena tätou katoa.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Why Herd Immunity Isn’t A Valid Option, And What’s With Our Reluctance To Wear Masks?

Herd immunity has recently bounced back into the headlines as a tool for managing Covid-19, and as a supposed alternative to lockdowns. In the US, a group of scientists was recently brought together in the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts by a think tank funded by the Koch brothers. The assembled scientists signed the so called Barrington Declaration, which promotes herd immunity as a rational means of re-opening US public schools and the economy at large... More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On National Being Shafted By Its Own Creation

As it licks its wounds, let’s hope the National Party can still find time to look back with some pride at what it has achieved in Epsom. The Act Party’s nationwide success on Saturday night has been a tribute to National’s foresight, and to its ... More>>

ALSO:

Green Party: 'Fruitful Discussions ... Further Discussions To Have'

The Green Party says there is a negotiation going on with the Labour Party, but there are more discussions to be had. More>>

ALSO:


Border: No Changes To Border Exemptions After Fishing Crew Test Covid-19 Positive

The cases were detected after routine day three testing but the immigration minister and air commodore agree there's no need to change border exemptions. More>>

PSA: Labour-Led Government Has Mandate For Transformation, Equality And Transparency

The Public Service Association welcomes the progressive electoral landslide New Zealand voters delivered on Saturday, and the union says its members look forward to implementing policies that reduce poverty and inequality, support affordable housing ... More>>

ALSO:


Stats NZ: New Report Shows Significant Changes To New Zealand’s Climate

Climate change is already happening in New Zealand and could have a profound impact on future generations of New Zealanders, a new report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ says. Our atmosphere and climate 2020 , released today, includes analysis ... More>>

ALSO:

Judith Collins: Obese People Must Take Responsibility For 'personal Choices'

National Party leader Judith Collins has described obesity as a weakness and says people should not 'blame systems for personal choices'. More>>

Māori Party: Poll Reveals Tamihere On Cusp Of Historic Māori Movement Election Victory

John Tamihere’s election campaign is on the rise and on track to return the Māori Party to parliament, a new Māori TV poll has revealed. The poll released on 11 October during the seventh and final Māori TV Maori Electoral campaign coverage has Tamihere ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Four-Year Terms Of Parliament, And On How The US Courts Are Dismantling Democracy

Last week, the issue of four-year parliamentary terms surfaced again. Infuriatingly, it is being discussed purely in terms of its convenience for political parties. They’d get so much more time to enact their policies, free of scrutiny or sanction by voters ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels