Those who signed the Treaty of Waitangi would struggle to understand why an undefined and divisive term “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” came to be inserted in our legislation, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said at Waitangi.
A fracas between Mr Peters and Te Tii marae members on February 5 eclipsed a detailed speech he gave at the stone church in Paihia on February 3 in which he slammed legal chaos with activist judges, bureaucratic meddlers, treaty lawyers and a “Treaty Industry”.
The claimed existence of “treaty principles” and “treaty partnership” has created an insidious culture of division and parallel systems which we grapple with today, Mr Peters said.
The way forward for Maori, just as it is for non-Maori, and indeed people all over the world, is the best of First World education standards, First World health, First World housing, and First World employment and incomes, Mr Peters said.
Influence of iwi leaders on Government an issue
The influence of iwi leaders, especially post- treaty settlement iwi, could become a battleground this election.
In 2008, when John Key was elected Prime Minister, he brought the Maori Party into his Government and established preferential access for iwi leaders to Cabinet.
A Communication and Information Exchange Protocol was drawn up and signed by the Prime Minister and iwi leaders to ensure their views were represented in Cabinet and in the policy development process.
In particular, the Iwi Leaders Freshwater Group engages directly with senior Government ministers at least three times a year, and Government ministers regularly attend the quarterly Iwi Chairs Forum meetings.
Prime Minister Bill English met the Iwi Chairs Forum last week in Waitangi. The agenda of that meeting was kept private and requests for information are ignored.
The Prime Minister should be open about the content of discussions at the regular meetings between iwi leaders and the Government.
What other businesses have access to the top decision makers over the allocation of resources like fisheries, water, and radio spectrum?
Meet Don and Casey
Don Brash and Casey Costello will speak in Hawke’s Bay at 7pm on Tuesday, February 28, at the Havelock North Community Centre.
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