Crown-Maori relations are in need of repair, according to Kelvin Davis, who is the Minister of the new Crown-Maori Relations portfolio.
This is despite decades of appeasement, more than $3-billion being paid in Treaty settlements, and numerous other special deals.
Davis appears to take the 1800 people who attended 16 hui on the issue as justification for a new body to facilitate a partnership between “the Crown and Maori” to administer “7000 post-Treaty settlement commitments made by the Crown that nobody has been monitoring”.
Davis ignored a letter and subsequent full-page adverts placed by Hobson’s Pledge that objected to a Crown-Maori portfolio.
We argued that such a portfolio entrenches the notion that the Crown and Maori somehow exist as separate groups in partnership with each other when it is constitutionally impossible for the Crown to partner with a sector of its citizens.
Our letter also objected to the matter being discussed at marae meetings because such venues are private property and off limits to all New Zealanders who may be concerned with the issue.
A Stuff report revealed that a note had been sent out ahead of every meeting saying media weren't able to attend the bulk of the hui. Therefore, matters discussed remained secret.
Most surprising is the confirmation that there are 7000 post-Treaty settlement commitments made by the Crown, as well as the assertion by Davis that if these were acknowledged, Maori will start to feel like "fully-contributing members of society".
If Davis succeeds in persuading Cabinet to set up a new government bureau to administer the 7000 post-Treaty settlement commitments made by the Crown, we can be sure that the notion that the Crown and Maori somehow exist as separate groups in partnership with each other will be fully entrenched in government processes, as we argued against.
A constitutional impossibility will be turned into a reality.
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