- Introduce binding Citizens Initiated Referenda (binding with 60% of votes cast) to be held in conjunction with both Central and Local Government elections.
- Introduce fixed date elections e.g. 1st Saturday of October.
- Extend term of both central and local government to 4 years (with agreement by the people in a referendum) which would mean elections and binding referenda biennially
- Establish a Royal Commission to examine all issues relating to a written constitution, the Treaty of Waitangi, Proportional Representation, and the New Zealand Flag.
The Treaty of Waitangi is rightly regarded as the founding document of the modern New Zealand. New Zealand's history is unique. It never needed to have become a British Colony if the Declaration of Independence of 1835 had been followed through. However the internicine warfare between tribes and actions of unscrupulous land sharks, including The New Zealand Company, necessitated a new relationship. Instructions by the British govermment to Captain Hobson demanded that all negotiations be undertaken in fairness and good faith and a Treaty only be signed with Maori if they willingly participated.
The Treaty was a document for its times to address the issues of the day. It should be held in very high regard today. It is tragic to see the wishes of the signatories ignored and the current abuse of the Treaty by politicians and the Waitangi Tribunal. There are as many injustices being committed today in the name of Treaty settlements, as were committed in the late 1800's.
Regrettably we have a media who cannot or will not examine issues. "He is playing the race card" becomes a catch all phrase of the media to avoid actually thinking about issues. A rational calm examination of the Treaty and its meaning and place in modern New Zealand is needed as we seek a just and united way ahead. Property rights of non Maori are being eroded, race based legislation permeates our legal system and creates injustices, Treaty settlements that were supposed to be 'full and final' are suddenly found to be subject to renegotiation, and a level of distrust and disgust at the injustices being created is developing among non Maori.
Until recently I (as a descendent of British stock) could cruise the waters of Lakes Rotorua and Taupo, walk the mountains of the Tongariro National Park, and admire the spectacular beauty of Mt Cook regarding this as 'my' country with a 4.3 millionth share (approx) in these magnificent natural features with an absolute responsibility (which always goes with rights) to care for them. That property right has been taken away from me. Currently I have a 1.4 millionth share (approx) in the volcanic cones of Auckland to walk the mountains, admire the views, and have a care for them. It appears that property right is also going to be taken away from me shortly. We non Maori are becoming 2nd class citizens in our own country. The concept of Crown ownership on behalf of ALL citizens which took hundreds of years to evolve in Britain to stop the country squires banning the 'peasants' from their property, streams, rivers, lakes etc is being destroyed. NO ONE HAS GIVEN THIS GOVERNMENT THE RIGHT TO REMOVE MY PROPERTY RIGHTS IN THIS MANNER.
RESPONSIBILITY LIES WITH THE POLITICIANS. They are the ones elected to provide the leadership and ethos of the nation. From Bolger and Graham through Shipley, Brash, English, Clark, Goff, and now Key and Finlayson the pace of destruction has increased with a stated determination by Key to complete Treaty settlements by 2014. Short term peace may be 'bought' - rank injustice and division will be the result.
In the 1987 and 1990 elections in The New Zealand Party we wanted to establish some basic principles and realities
1. Culture changes from generation to generation
2. In any culture at any time there is both good and bad
3. A smart country will pick the best from every culture available to it and meld it into a new and better culture.
4. A smart country knows the difference between the cultural and regulatory aspects of life
5. An absolutely basic hallmark of a flourishing just society is that all people are equal before the law (The politicians have ensured that we do not have that in New Zealand)
6. The role of the state is to ensure that each person can practice their culture, religion, and life style freely PROVIDED that practice does not impinge on the rights of others.
THE TREATY OF WAITANGI
Her Majesty Victoria Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland regarding with Her Royal Favor the Native Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and anxious to protect their just Rights and Property and to secure to them the enjoyment of peace and Good Order has deemed it necessary in consequence of the great number of Her Majesty's Subjects who have already settled in New Zealand and the rapid extension of Emigration both from Europe and Australia which is still in progress to constitute and appoint a functionary properly authorised to treat with the Aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of Her Majesty's sovereign authority over the whole or any part of these islands - Her Majesty therefore being desirous to establish a settled form of Civil Government with a view to avert the evil consequences which must result from the absence of necessary Laws and Institutions alike to the native population and to Her subjects has been graciously pleased to empower and to authorise me William Hobson a Captain in Her Majesty's Royal Navy Consul and Lieutenant Governor of such parts of New Zealand as may be or hereafter shall be ceded to Her Majesty to invite the confederated and independent Chiefs of New Zealand to concur in the following Articles and Conditions
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 possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereign 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 as 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
Signed W. Hobson Lieutenant Governor.
Now therefore we the Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand being assembled in congress at Victoria in Waitangi and we the Separate and Independent Chiefs of New Zealand claiming authority over the Tribes and Territories which are specified after our respective names, having been made fully to understand the Provisions of the foregoing Treaty, accept and enter into the same in the full spirit and meaning thereof in witness of which we have attached our signatures or marks at the places and dates respectively specified.
Done at Waitangi this Sixth day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.
The Treaty was simple and explicit. The British government was permitted to establish a central government for the first time in New Zealand. Maori were guaranteed possession of their lands etc UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THEY WISHED TO SELL.
The relationship was 'central government' (British), and 'local government' (Tribes). The current concept of dual government, or 'Maori Sovereignty' within New Zealand was never intended and never instituted, and is a gross abuse of the intended Treaty relationship.
The guarantee of possession of land, forests, fisheries, and other properties was qualified 'until such time as they wished to alienate' the same. It was never absolute for all time! The current mantra of 'guaranteed possession' is a gross misrepresentation of the Treaty as it is only a partial quotation of Article two. It has only been allowed to become common lore through a gutless, gormless, separatist, racist political body (National, Labour, and Maori parties in particular), an incompetant superficial media, and a philosophy of political correctness that overrides any concept of truth and justice.
The statement of Captain Hobson as each Chief signed the Treaty - 'He iwi tahi tatou' - 'We are now one people' has not been honoured by the politicians as they have taken us down a separatist path. It was obviously Hobsons expectation that as political governance developed all people would be treated equally and have equal rights and responsibilities in the governance of this country. That expectation has not been honoured.
FORESHORE AND SEABED.
The vast majority of the land which passed into settler hands did so through legal sale. The issue of the foreshore and seabed was not addressed at the time as Article three of the Treaty applied. This guaranteed Maori the "Rights and Privileges of British subjects'. This included the lakes, beaches, and sea being held in 'trust' by the crown for the benefit of all citizens equally. Both Labour and National are in breach of Article Three of the Treaty in handing back lakes, forests etc that were in common ownership to a section of the New Zealand community based on race. They are giving away the property rights of non Maori. It is a brave (and probably naive and foolish) assumption that the promised 'guaranteed access' for all citizens will continue through future generations. There have already been instances where the new 'owners' of Lake Taupo have tried to institute access charges and this will no doubt increase.
The issue does not seem to to have been addressed in the early days of colonial history. Maori ownership of land and any adjacent foreshore and seabed was obtained through conquest and held by might. Under Article Three of the Treaty a new form of ownership came to New Zealand. Individual title of land - common title of lakes and sea. No longer did members of one tribe have to ask permission to fish in another tribal area, it was now available for all. It was not an issue in the early days as there was plenty of seafood resources for all.
In all the debate about the foreshore and seabed the issue of which concept is best has yet to be raised - individual (or tribal) ownership by one section of the community OR common ownership by all vested in the Crown. I believe article three applies and should be entrenched.
I know of no society or culture around the world where individual wealth and advancement has been achieved through communal ownership of resources. From the small style co-operative movements through the communes of China and Collectives of the Soviet Union all have failed to advance their peoples and societies. While some such as local co-operatives and Israeli kibbutzes have provided short benefits it is individual ownership that allows people to retain and enjoy the fruits of their labours and advance materially. Societies where individual ownership, and effort is valued advance the fastest - but only survive and flourish in the long term where there is a strong ethical base and a high sense of justice. For all the millions paid out in Treaty settlements and assets held in tribal ownership the material and social advancements of the tribal members has been minimal. Those at the top have of course benefited hugely! Certainly there is no reduction in crime and social dysfunction within the Maori community.
There are a number of hard questions that have to be asked
1. Is it fair and just that those with a smidgeon of Maori blood are able to participate in the Treaty Settlements for the supposed sins of their pakeha ancestors? As the nation is being divided on the grounds of race by the politicians should not those with over 50% non Maori blood be counted as non Maori and those with over 50% Maori blood be counted as Maori? Should there be a 'coloured' category as in old South Africa? Let me state for the record that I am absolutely opposed to any such classification.
2. Is it fair and just that in the latest Aquaculture bill Maori are guaranteed 20% of all new Aquaculture licences? This despite the fact that they are 13-15% of the population AND CAN STILL 'DOUBLE DIP' APPLY UNDER THE GENERAL CLASSIFICATION.
3. Is it fair and just that some Maori should claim the foreshore and seabed when pre european ownership of the foreshore and seabed directly related to ownership of the adjacent land, most of which has passed legally into private ownership??
4. Is it fair and just that claims for flora and fauna, air waves, and such features not created by anyone other than God should even be accepted by the Waitangi Tribunal.
5. There are huge and tragic social problems within the Maori community. The question has to be asked as to how much the sense of grievance and entitlement carefully cultivated over the past few decades has contributed to those problems?
The wisest words I have every heard on the subject and which I believe should be emblazoned on the wall of every whare kai in the country were spoken by Sir Apirana Ngata to the youth of his day in the 1930's
"Grow up tender plant in the days of your youth,
Your hands to the tools of the Pakeha for the welfare of your body,
Your heart to the treasured possessions of your ancestors as a crown for your head
Your spirit to God the creator of all things"
In other words embrace modernity and education for your material wellbeing, respect and enjoy your culture(the good parts!), and remember that God is the creator of this beautiful country and of each one of us all equally.
If we can get those in balance and are prepared to look honestly, openly, and unemotionally at the issues and implement the solutions to our problems we may yet truly become 'one people'.
The nation is like a rope comprised of many strands. When the strands are bound together the rope is strong and useful. When it becomes unravelled each strand is weak and useless.