Evolving the Treaty of Waitangi
Article the first
The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof.
Article the second
Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.
Article the third
In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.’
Happy Waitangi day my fellow NZers and Whanau, on our day of creation as a country here’s what I really like about our treaty. Regardless of the English or Maori version used, the treaty lays out the power relationship and responsibilities between the state and the individual and as we face the next great depression I believe there is strength in that realization.
We don’t have a Declaration of Independence or Constitution guaranteeing civil rights, but we do have a treaty which right off the bat sets up the Crown’s responsibility protecting the rights of Maori, I believe that we should look to expand that relationship so that it’s not seen as just something 'just' for Maori but for all NZers.
I think we should look to expand the definition of the Crown/Government as having a responsibility to protect the rights of all NZers. I believe that we can expand that definition without taking anything away from the position of Maori as the indigenous culture but we view it as a power dynamic between the individual and the State. The State is there is protect all of us, to protect all of our rights and our Treaty clearly sets out that dynamic of State responsibility in Article two and three. For me Article One is about ceding sovereignty to the State to have the power to fulfill its obligations of responsibility, not about having some type of Orwellian crush of personal sovereignty where Maori and Pakeha alike are slaves to the State.
For me the Treaty is a celebration of understanding the role of the State and the individual, a symbiotic relationship where we the individual cede to the State the power to protect our universal civil rights including property rights.
That's why Key's jaw dropping arrogance to remove Section 9 from the SoE ACT is so shocking and so angering. Key claimed he will find an 'elegant' way forward, yet his ignorance on the issue doesn't support any of the grace elegance requires. Key claimed that Section 9 had never been tested in court, less than a week after he made that assumption, Mai Chen wrote a damning column throwing Key's ignorance back in his face...
* In the seminal 1987 Lands case, the Court of Appeal held that section 9 amounted to a "constitutional guarantee" to Maori, which restricted the Crown from going through with the wholesale transfer of Crown lands and assets. The Lands case resulted in the Treaty of Waitangi (State Enterprises) Act 1988 which gave the Waitangi Tribunal binding powers to recommend that land that had been transferred to SOEs be transferred back to Maori (it is these "clawback" provisions the Government has said will apply to mixed ownership model companies).
* In the Coal case, the Court of Appeal held that mining rights were "an interest in land" for the purposes of section 9, requiring the Crown to devise a scheme for safeguarding Tainui against the sell-off of Crown land; and
* In the Broadcasting Assets case, the Privy Council held that section 9 imposes a continuing obligation on the Crown to take reasonable steps to assist in the preservation of the Maori language by the use of both radio and television broadcasting, and an obligation of active protection where the Crown's actions resulted in the vulnerable state of the language. This decision was central to the creation of Maori Television.
...Key is either an ill briefed Prime Minister or is purposely attempting to set race relations back a century.
Pakeha who don't want asset sales can look at the Treaty in a whole new way and finally feel their national sovereignty is being served by it. We need to evolve the Treaty so that we all feel that it protects us and in turn protect it.