Sunday, April 21, 2024

Dr Michael Bassett: Maori push for parallel government structures

If you think there is a move afoot by the radical Maori fringe of New Zealand society to create a parallel system of government to the one that we elect at our triennial elections, you aren’t wrong.

Over the last few days we have seen calls from one or two Iwi for prior consultation with Maori before ministers submit suggestions to the fast-track consenting panel of experts who are to make recommendations back to government on how to proceed with projects caught up in the toils of our out-of-date Resource Management Act. Various loud assertions about “partnership” and Treaty rights have been made to justify Maori having separate entitlements to everyone else.

In another breath, the same radicals who are grossly over-represented on the Waitangi Tribunal, are acting like a court and trying to summon Children’s Minister, Karen Chhour, to answer for government policy and legislative proposals regarding Oranga Tamariki. The Waitangi Tribunal is NOT a court. It is what is known as a “quasi-judicial body” with only limited powers to summon people. Unlike our court system it has almost no power to bind governments with its findings. In the hands of the current chairperson, Caren Fox, and a cohort of Tribunal members, almost all of them radical Maori, there is a move to get rid of the word “quasi-judicial” and give a body which conspicuously lacks legal skills, the full powers of a court.

On Saturday, with the help of the Herald’s usually reliable political reporter, Thomas Coughlan, the Prime Minister played into the Tribunal’s hands when he suggested that criticism of the Tribunal from two Maori ministers, David Seymour and Shane Jones, breached the Cabinet Manual. It stipulates that ministers should refrain from “criticising the judiciary”. The fact that the Tribunal is not a court was unknown, it seems, both to Coughlan and to Christopher Luxon. Caren Fox will be over the moon. She’s looking for work. Recently she was brooding about future projects likely to be undertaken by the Waitangi Tribunal, including drafting a new constitution. Can you imagine anything scarier than a constitution drawn up by that unrepresentative woke assemblage?

Behind the thrust for a parallel system of government is a completely fallacious interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi. If you go to “Waitangi Tribunal” on your computer and scroll down, you will soon come to a claim that Maori did not cede sovereignty to the Queen in 1840, despite what reputable translations of the Maori version of the Treaty actually say. Professor Sir Hugh Kawharu who was from Ngati Whatua, and head of Maori Studies at the University of Auckland, translated the Maori version of the Treaty with the words “The Chiefs of the Confederation give absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the complete government over their land.” That translation was accepted by the government in which I served, and was endorsed in the late 1980s by the Maori Queen and by Sir Paul Reeves, the two Maori patrons of the 1990 Commission which celebrated 150 years of living with the Treaty. It was accepted by the Waitangi Tribunal during my ten years as a member.

But a tiny collection of Maori radicals in our modern universities and on today’s Waitangi Tribunal, despite Sir Hugh Kawharu’s erudite translation, refuse to concede that Maori ceded sovereignty to the Crown. And, having contrived confusion around what Article One of the Treaty really says, and claiming that sovereignty still rests with Maori, they are now pushing for a parallel system of government. Their translation of the Treaty is nonsense that no respectable academic or government has ever accepted. But the media are always willing to report loud claims and are correspondingly too lazy to read anything substantial about the Treaty. I doubt there is a journalist around who remembers Sir Hugh Kawharu or who would know where to find his translation, let alone be bothered disputing any of the absurd arguments about a parallel constitutional system that the tiny number of radicals are trying to build on their foundation of sand.

It is probably impossible ever to eradicate phoney debate about the Treaty and what it says. But until all governments make it crystal clear that they accept that sovereignty was ceded to Queen Victoria; that the governments that have followed since 1840 were legitimate; and that the best interests of Maori are also served by Articles Two and Three which safeguard Maori land and treasures, and guarantee Maori equality with everyone else in New Zealand, then division and constitutional nonsense will continue to stalk our land.

One good way of lowering the temperature would be to abolish the Waitangi Tribunal. Set up in 1975, when there were very few Maori in Parliament, it was largely intended as a safeguard for their interests, and a guarantee of their voice. Today, Parliament contains a huge number of Maori, miles more than their 17% of the population warrants. They are in all parties and have seven seats designated specially for Maori. Together, they can be relied on to defend Maori interests.

Our traditional system of democracy has proven itself capable of looking after all New Zealand’s ethnicities. A decade ago after historical claims had ended, the then National Minister of Treaty Negotiations seriously considered abolishing the Waitangi Tribunal. Today, at a time when we are being asked to rid ourselves of unnecessary expenditure, waving good bye to Caren Fox and her colleagues who are wasting scarce taxpayer funds would make a significant contribution to progress.

Historian Dr Michael Bassett, a Minister in the Fourth Labour Government, blogs HERE. - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

How come the fake English version of the Treaty was legislated as part of the 1975 Act? How come it was never remedied?

robert Arthur said...

As I have commented before, how wonderful it would be if any reasoning so ratioanal and fathomable appeared in the msm. But, despite all the soul searching about falling trust, still very unlikely.

Allen Heath said...

As usual, a well-thought-out and cogent argument Michael. The Waitangi Tribunal is a dead horse which, like all dead horses should have been confined to the knackers yard of history but, unfortunately, has been left too long and now stinks to the skies. If pro-part-Maori activists can vandalise the English version of the tatty Treaty at the National Museum, then perhaps someone could spray-paint the WT into oblivion. It has reached its use-by date, having succeeded in giving some of maoridom a lot more than they deserve while they, Oliver Twist-like, hold out their greedy hands for more.

Basil Walker said...

There would be nothing more positive in the next budget than to hear Minister Willis declare ALL Previous FUNDING that is allocated over a longer term with a Maori provision that creates a racial barrier is annnulled, finished , stopped , from budget day . All funding from budget day forward will be for the entire NZ population without the barrier of ethnicity.
The same for the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment but that is for another day.

Terry Morrisset said...

Repeal the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, abolish the Waitangi Tribunal, abolish the Maori Electoral seats, repeal all racist legislation, grow Luxon a set of gonads and all will be resolved.

Anonymous said...

Time to shut down the Waitangi Tribunal and pass David Seymour's bill defining the treaty principles.

Fred H said...

Will Luxon ever stand up and be counted ? He must abolish the Waitangi Tribunal without any more delay. Will Seymour and Peters stand up and force Luxon to act on this matter, or are they going to sit back and let Luxon over-ride the wishes of the vast majority of the Electorate ? Will the National MPs roll Luxon before the Electorate does or are they just as gutless as their leader --- he certainly isn't our leader !

The way things stand at present, we may as well have stuck with Hipkins of all people.

Anonymous said...

“One good way of lowering the temperature would be to abolish the Waitangi Tribunal.”

Abolish the Waitangi Tribunal and remove from legislation the apartheid 1975 Treaty of Waitangi Act which was enacted under false pretenses, using one page of a two page “official Hobson wax sealed and pinned” two page document known as Maunsell’s make-do Maori language treaty.

This document was tampered with, the two pages separated and one page was fraudulently used to become the official English language Treaty of Waitangi.

This fake treaty was responsible for the enacting of the apartheid Treaty of Waitangi Act and the forming of the apartheid Waitangi Tribunal.

All other statutes which give explicit recognition to the treaty also to be removed from legislation and then we can all move forward together as one people, as intended in the Maori language te Tiriti o Waitangi signed on the 6th February 1840 at Waitangi.

Anonymous said...

Yes -there should be a referendum soonest .
But not on the Treaty principles = endless disagreement.

The question should be:

Do you, as a citizen and tax payer of NZ, want democracy ( equality of all citizens and fair taxation)?
Do you want an ethnocracy where one specific ethnicity has special privilege in many domains, including final veto over all legislation ( as per the He Puapua model)?

So, cut to the chase.
People - tax payers - might wake up as to what is intended for NZ .

Allen Heath said...

Further to my earlier comments, if anyone had any doubts about the farrago that is the Waitangi Tribunal they need only read "Taonga and contra proferentem" by Piers Seed which shows how translation and meanings of words have been twisted to suit the Tribunal judgements, although I should say decisions, as the tribunal is not a judicial body in the correct sense of the term.

Anonymous said...

If PM Luxon is afraid to challenge the Waitangi Tribunal, then WT Minister Goldsmith will do nothing.

Reggie said...

Thanks. Interesting that you regard the Kawharu translation so highly. I was of the impression that it was his translation that under pinned the modern fanciful view that Maori did NOT cede sovereignty. But you point out that this view is generated elsewhere. Are you able to identify when and from whom this view arose? Was it a follow on from Justice Cook and mates from the Lands case?

Anonymous said...

Hipkins lost a lot of credibility when he couldn't identify what a woman is.

Luxon is little better when he doesn't know what indigenous means, although, admittedly, that word does have a few more syllables.