PETITION: END THE WAITANGI TRIBUNAL

CONTEXT:

The Waitangi Tribunal is a standing commission of inquiry. It makes recommendations on claims brought by Māori relating to legislation, policies, actions or omissions of the Crown that are alleged to breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi.

The role of the Tribunal is set out in section 5 of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975.

By establishing the Waitangi Tribunal, Parliament provided a legal process by which Māori Treaty claims could be investigated. Tribunal inquiries contribute to the resolution of Treaty claims and to the reconciliation of outstanding issues between Māori and the Crown.

However, by the 1990s, the Tribunal was increasingly being perceived as an advocacy body rather than a commission of inquiry. There is no doubt that today that is the case.

Helen Clark's Labour Government introduced a September 2008 deadline for the lodgement of all historic claims. That date has been and gone long ago and yet the Waitangi Tribunal remains at significant cost to the taxpayer. 

The Waitangi Tribunal consists of a chairperson and up to 20 members who are appointed for a three year term by the Governor-General – on the recommendation of the Minister of Maori Development. The chairperson must be either a judge or a retired judge of the High Court, or the chief judge of the Maori Land Court, but the rest of the members require no legal expertise.

If the Waitangi Tribunal is disbanded, any remaining claims could be dealt with either by direct negotiation with the Crown – which more and more claimants are doing anyway – or by recourse to the courts.

This is how all other disputes are resolved in New Zealand.

We call on the Government to end the Waitangi Tribunal.

It has done its dash. It was established just under 50 years ago to provide a legal process by which Māori Treaty claims could be investigated, but now continues to push its boundaries to influence more and more Government action.
It is the right time to close it down. It was always meant to be a temporary standing commission. 

27,263 SIGNATURES
25,000 signatures

PETITION: We, the undersigned New Zealanders, call on the Government to end the Waitangi Tribunal. Any remaining or future claims can be dealt with either by direct negotiation with the Crown or in the courts.

Will you sign?