Saturday, November 2, 2013
Mike Butler: A day we all can celebrate
Fed up with the endless anti-coloniser protest that takes place every year on Waitangi Day, here’s an idea. Why not create a new day of national pride to mark – our independence from Australia? A day of celebration and national unity could mark November 16, 1840, the date on Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter under which New Zealand became independent of New South Wales and was empowered to set up a legislative council, an executive council, and courts, under a governor.
The driving force behind this new national day is Ross Baker of the One New Zealand Foundation, a group that gained attention in 2006 when it shadowed the government’s Treaty2u propaganda road show around the country, countering biculturalist spin with historical fact.
“Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter was our true founding document that has been ignored for 173 years”, Baker said. “The day we should all celebrate as our independence day is 16 November, when New Zealand became a British colony under one flag and one law.”
The New Zealand Independence Day idea made its way to social media with a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Zealand-Independence-Day/205679282946703
Another supporter, Trina from Tauranga, wrote: "I would want people to embrace this day with feel-good words like ‘unity’, ‘independence’, ‘celebrations’, ‘togetherness’, ‘pioneering achievement’, ‘families’ – I think New Zealanders are hanging out for something to feel good about these days and they will take to it like ducks to water so long as they do not sense any contention."
The fact that quite senior establishment figures unthinkingly link the phrases “Treaty of Waitangi” and “founding document” in their public utterances has created the impression that the treaty is the source of all things constitutional in New Zealand when closer inspection reveals that this is not actually true.
The Treaty of Waitangi is about chiefs ceding sovereignty in return for rights as British subjects and all the treaty actually says is that the Queen is sovereign and Maori are her subjects, with the rights of subjects, including possession of property.
If a constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed, thus constituting what the entity is, the November 16 Royal Charter is the first statement on how the governance of New Zealand was to be organised.
The charter, which is on display on the Constitution Room at National Archives in Wellington, was an early step in a long process. There was the New Zealand Constitution Act 1846 that was not fully implemented. The New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 granted self-government to the colony of New Zealand.
The 1852 Act established:
1. A bicameral general assembly consisting of the governor, a legislative council, and a house of representatives;
2. An executive council, nominally appointed by the governor;
3. Division of New Zealand into six provinces that had the authority to pass provincial legislation,
Therefore, while the grievers are pushing for November 6 to be officially declared Parihaka Day, this is a call to transfer the public holiday from February 6 to November 16 to create a grievance-free national day.
We could even crack a few anti-Aussie jokes to celebrate our independence from Australia.
For more information of the Charter of 1840, Constitution of the Colony of New Zealand into a separate colony, see http://onenzfoundation.co.nz/wordpress/november-the-16th-new-zealand-independence-day/
at 11:57 AM