Geoff Parker

In her disjointed article, Josie Pagani promotes the dark forces that strive to undermine New Zealand’s precious democracy.

In my view, Pagani pins her argument for Maori wards or ‘power-sharing’ on the Treaty of Waitangi, but there is nothing in the Treaty (any version or translation) that speaks of separate racial representation in governing bodies.

The Treaty was a simple 3 clause document which simply said:

ARTICLE ONE – the chiefs cede all their rights and powers of sovereignty to the Queen.

ARTICLE TWO –  the Queen confirms and guarantees to the chiefs and tribes and ALL people of New Zealand the possession of their lands, dwellings, and all their property.

ARTICLE THREE –  the Queen’s Government extends its protection to the people of New Zealand and grants Maori the status of British subjects. (1)

The Treaty is not a true treaty as it was not between politically organised nations; it is a simple transfer of sovereignty document that had served its purpose the moment it was signed. It had no legal standing in international law and of itself had no standing as part of the municipal law of New Zealand. (2)

With regard to Ned Fletcher’s tome that Pagani holds in high esteem, Roger Childs, a former history teacher and freelance journalist, has this to say about Fletcher’s book: “Unfortunately Fletcher has largely wasted his time because he was focusing on the fake Freeman Treaty.”(3)

Pagani, like most treatyists, peddles the treaty translation of claimant and Waitangi Tribunal member Hugh Kawharu, who redefined these key words in the treaty – kawanatanga and rangatiratanga – to create a treaty that was purported to grant to the governor the right to govern settlers while letting the chiefs carry on being chiefs. (4)

That is clearly nonsense; it did not happen, and was not what the chiefs signed up to  because they did not want other chiefs carrying on as they did as too many people were being killed.

If they did not understand what they were signing and still thought they were chiefs then why did cannibalism and tribal wars end, and the chiefs free their Maori slaves? (5) 

Later in 1860 at Kohimarama, the chiefs reasserted that sovereignty had been ceded. (6)

At Waitangi (1840) the words of the chiefs themselves display a full awareness that their acceptance of Governor Hobson would place him in authority over them, and that behind Hobson stood Queen Victoria. (7)

Pagani then flicks on to ‘treaty settlements’ and theft of property. Very little, if any, New Zealand land was stolen; most was sold by the chiefs (8).

However, 4.87% of New Zealand’s total landmass was legally confiscated from rebelling tribes. This was to ensure peace in the new colony and to pay for the cost of quelling the rebellions.

By 1928,  more than half of that confiscated land (2.56% of NZ’s total landmass) was either given back or purchased, so after that time only 2.31% remained in Crown hands. (9)

Changing tack again, Pagani says, “Nearly half of councils have Maori wards alongside general wards.”

Almost on the same day in February 2021 that the electoral returning officer acknowledged receipt of 4 valid petitions containing 21,000 signatures that would force Councils to run a public referendum on Maori wards, Nanaia Mahuta scurrilously, under urgency, changed the Act that allowed for this petitioning. So with no constituent restraint, woke Councils had free rein, which resulted in a rapid increase of Maori wards.

If that law had not been removed there would be very few Maori wards today, as nine previous referendums initiated by various councils throughout the country record their ratepayers voting NO with an average vote of 77%.

And the ratepayers of three councils with a high Maori population (44%) voted NO with 58% of the vote. (10)

Pagani then says, “They [Maori ward candidates] are ‘democratically’ elected by voters on the Maori roll.” How can that be democratic when only a section of the community can participate in that vote? These candidates only care about gaining advantages for their Maori supporters, not the community as a whole. (11)

The flawed aim of Maori wards is to ensure Maori are represented in local government decision-making.

However, information on the LGNZ site shows that Maori are well represented in relation to their population. The 2019 data shows that Maori make up 13.5% of all elected local body officials (13), while the 2018 census had Maori as 13.7% of the adult population.

And in Parliament, Maori are over-represented in relation to the voting Maori population.

Controversially, most councils already ensure Maori have a voice around the council table via standing committees, where half of the members are appointed by local iwi. Those iwi members have full voting rights and the same status as councillors.

And lastly the ‘old chestnut’– ‘Treaty partners’ raises its head. There were no treaty partners – only treaty participants. (11)  

Rounding up

Democracy is based on the simple principle that all citizens must be treated the same under the law. Every individual has the same rights and indeed has the same responsibilities under the law.

Within society, people may share common views and interests with others, be those cultural, religious, ethnic, social or perhaps sporting. All such groupings are basically tribal in nature.

But forming such groupings, call them what you may, should not give the members collectively any special rights under the law.

Democracy is based on giving equal rights to individuals. Giving special rights or privileges to groups, however configured, cannot be good. If you start treating one group of people either better or worse than others, it will end in tears.

Separate race-based political representation, such as designated Maori seats on local government bodies, not only undermines democracy, it also creates division within our multicultural society.

Rather than advancing racial separatism in our communities, our governance and influential members of society should be entrenching societal unification.

Suggested reading: Sir Apirana Ngata’s ‘Treaty of Waitangi Explanation’(14)

1. https://sites.google.com/site/treaty4dummies/home/the-littlewood-treaty

2. David Round  – ‘Twisting the Treaty’ page 83/84

3. https://breakingviewsnz.blogspot.com/2022/11/roger-childs-sorry-ned-wrong-treaty.html 

4. https://sites.google.com/site/treaty4dummies/home/the-kawharu-translation

5. https://sites.google.com/site/treaty4dummies/home/rangitiratanga-kawanatanga

6. https://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-BIM504Kohi-t1-g1-t1-body1-d2.html

7. https://sites.google.com/view/kiwifrontline/enlightenments/chiefs-speeches-1840

8. https://sites.google.com/site/treaty4dummies/home/land-sold-not-stolen-or-lost

9. https://sites.google.com/view/kiwifrontline/enlightenments/maori-land-stolen

10. https://sites.google.com/view/kiwifrontline/enlightenments/polls-results

11. https://sites.google.com/view/kiwifrontline/maori-agendas/local-government-hijack/maori-wards-appointments-qa

12. https://sites.google.com/view/kiwifrontline/enlightenments/partnership

13. https://www.votelocal.co.nz/media/ 

14. https://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-NgaTrea-t1-g1-t1.html

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.