Sunday, October 21, 2012

ICRP: Abolish the Waitangi Tribunal

Press Statement from the Independent Constitutional Review Panel
- on the Waitangi Tribunal’s Kohanga Reo Report

The Waitangi Tribunal’s report on kohanga reo makes it clear why the Tribunal should be abolished, according to David Round, a spokesman for the Independent Constitutional Review Panel.

“The Tribunal is now clearly nothing more than a grandly-named Maori lobby group” he said. “Its recommendations are pure politics.” He pointed out that governments have poured over a billion dollars into kohanga reo over the last two decades, and that that was only a part of wider taxpayer support for the Maori language. “We might reasonably expect a word of thanks for this generosity. But instead the Tribunal complains that this funding is actually directed towards education rather than narrow Maori language immersion, and demands, not just more funding, but an apology for not doing enough.”

“Whether the Tribunal’s recommendations are reasonable or not, it is absurd to claim that details about childhood education can be required by the ‘principles’ of the Treaty.”

The Independent Panel has been established by a group of New Zealanders of diverse political backgrounds who share a common concern that an out of control Treaty industry has become a serious threat to New Zealand’s prosperity and integrity as a viable nation.  

Mr Round said that the discovery and application of Treaty principles, even when carried out by judges, let alone the Tribunal, was a matter of personal opinion and political prejudice.

“Treaty principles are vague enough to justify any recommendation anyone would ever want to make.”

“There are many instances of the Tribunal’s bias and partiality to claimants. It is not even a reliable guide to what happened in the past, and has no more qualifications to argue for future policies than anyone else,” he said.

“To demand an apology for not being more generous is not just ungracious and ungrateful, but downright arrogant. The tribunal is behaving like a greedy bully. If Maori want even more money and political changes to save a language which few of  them care enough to  speak, they should argue for those things on their own merits, not hide behind the increasingly threadbare fa├žade of the Treaty”, David Round said.

Details of the members of the Independent Constitutional Review Panel can be seen HERE.

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