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Constitution

Entry 86, on 2004-11-15 at 14:37:12 (Rating 3, Politics)

The government is currently reviewing New Zealand's constitution, partly because of the fuss regarding special privileges for Maori provided by the Treaty of Waitangi, which were brought to attention by Don Brash's speech.

I find strict adherence to the Treaty to be a real problem. One major issue is that the exact meaning of the treaty is vague in places. There is also more than one version of the Treaty, which isn't helpful. The Treaty seems to clearly confer governance of New Zealand to the British government so there doesn't appear to be any case for Maori self-governance. Ownership of all possessions is left with Maori, but because there was no formal system of ownership in pre-European times, exactly what does this apply to?

Another argument used to favour Maori with extra privileges is that they care more for the land. I see no evidence of this whatsoever - Maori abuse of the environment is as bad as European in my opinion. Maori destroyed native species, burned off large areas of land, and introduced pests - just like the Europeans.

I think its time we forgot about the Treaty and special privileges disappeared. This is scary - I actually agree with Don Brash on something. On the other hand Maori are disadvantaged in some ways - the crime rates, life expectancy, and income figures reflect this - so we need to find out why so that everyone in New Zealand gets a fair deal.

I'm not sure how to do this, all I see is the current system doesn't work - gains through treaty claims, etc just seem to go to the small percentage of Maori who have learned how to use the system and there doesn't appear to be much filtering down to the rest of the population.

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