Monday, 25 March 2013


The Constitution Act of 1986 remains a legal document, but it is not a ‘constitution’. Like any other act it can be amended by a majority vote in Parliament.
Should any Government have the courage to attempt a formal written constitution, the Treaty of Waitangi must be rejected as an element in the final draft.
The Waitangi treaty was an agreement between Maori and the British Crown.  Once signed, Governor Hobson declared “we are now one people”. This statement was premature, as Maori were not granted the right to vote in a general election until the New Zealand Constitution Act was passed in 1852.  Because Maori were not being sufficiently involved in politics, exclusive Maori seats were established by the ‘Maori Representation Act’ of 1867. The wording of this act defines its intention as being a ‘temporary provision’.
 In 1975 an act was passed giving Maori the right to join the General Electoral roll. It was then opportune to realise the ‘one people’ statement, and embrace all New Zealand citizens in a multi-cultural society. Unfortunately the Maori elders preferred to retain their privileged guarantee of four parliamentary seats, defying The ‘Human Rights Act of 1993’ which makes separating the rights of people on racial grounds illegal.  
 The Maori are represented at the highest level by The Crown; the sovereignty clause in the treaty affirms this, but a treaty between the Crown and a people that are represented by the Crown must create a conflict of interests.  A bi-cultural society is unrealistic, as we are an ethnic mix whose origins stem from the invasion of New Zealand by the Maori, followed by colonisation by the English, and the inevitable immigration from many other valued cultures. The electoral Act, and the Treaty of Waitangi, are barriers to us creating a multi-cultural written constitution, and any other form of Constitution is unacceptable, morally and practically.
Published in Dominion Post 01 Apr 2013.

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