R DOUG WOOLERTON (NZ First)
: I move,
That the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill be now read a first time. Before I get into the substance of my speech, I would like to acknowledge our Labour colleagues. I know that, sometimes, fulfilling an obligation that is agreed on one’s behalf is not easy, and I understand that it is not easy for our Labour colleagues this evening, but we admire their dedication and we admire their honour. After all, I have had my time of having to do those sorts of things myself. In supporting this bill going to the select committee, I just hope our Labour colleagues get into the swing of saying yes, and perhaps as it goes through the select committee process they will see the sense of this bill and say yes to it coming out at the other end and becoming law. So at the appropriate time, I intend to move that the bill be considered by the Justice and Electoral Committee. I will move that later on in the piece.
The Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill is about one simple thing. I want to say at the outset that New Zealand First is not against the Treaty of Waitangi. We are not against the Treaty of Waitangi being in legislation; we understand that and we honour the Treaty. But we believe that the word “principles” should be deleted, and that is what this bill is about. I do not think everybody has understood that across the country up until now; certainly when talking to me, people have not understood that clearly, but that is what the bill is about.
We understand—as the country does—that the Treaty of Waitangi is an important historical document. It gave all New Zealand citizens rights and protections as British subjects—
Rodney Hide: Even me?
R DOUG WOOLERTON: It gave them even to Mr Hide. It gave rights and protections as British subjects and contained a shared vision for the peoples of New Zealand to live in harmony, which, by and large, we do.
Almost 30 years ago, it was understood that past grievances would need to be addressed, and we have done that under the Treaty claims process. I believe, for the large part, that it has been done honourably and done properly. The Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 was well intentioned but it laid the foundations for an industry that, to some degree, has become self-serving and self-perpetuating. The situation was exacerbated in 1986 when ill-defined Treaty principles were added to statutes. I think it is important to say that when Sir Geoffrey Palmer was asked what the “principles” actually meant, he said the principles were a flourish. They added a simple flourish. In his view, they added something to the Treaty of Waitangi but he did not define what and described them as a simple flourish.
It is important to remember that these principles were never part of the original Treaty. They became something of a judicial experiment, in our view, because Parliament chose not to define them. Some experiments work and some do not; in our view this one clearly does not. The consequences of their inclusion, in our view, from the very beginning has seen an ongoing process of protracted and expensive litigation that has done little more than fill the coffers of several large law firms and, in particular, of lawyers.
Rodney Hide: How did Geoffrey Palmer get on?
R DOUG WOOLERTON: Geoffrey Palmer—with due respect—has done quite nicely out of it as well.
Their removal, in our view, will end this ridiculous situation. More important, the existence of the word “principles” has not led to any tangible benefits for Māori. As we have said many, many times in this House, Māori progress, like progress for non-Māori, is based on a strong economic base, and high-quality employment, education, health, and housing. Inserting undefined principles into legislation does not achieve this. In fact, what it does do is divert time and resources away from valuable programmes and projects into the types of activities described hitherto. We believe this must stop.
There is a simple reason why the principles of the Treaty have not been defined. That is because they cannot be defined. One simple but fundamental solution to sort this out is to remove all references to indefinable and nebulous principles of the Treaty from our statute book. That is the purpose behind this bill that I am introducing to the House today. Most people in the House will remember that countless questions have been asked over many months—in fact, over the last 18 years—about this. My leader and colleagues have asked questions in the House seeking an adequate definition of these principles, but no affirmative answer has been forthcoming. With due respect, the questions that I asked today and the answers I received from Michael Cullen on behalf of the Minister of Justice proved my point. This afternoon in question time, I read out previous answers that the Prime Minister herself had given to those questions back in 2002.
So we have not had adequate definitions of those principles to date. Even further, we have gone to academics and other legal experts and asked them, but the same reply has been given. There is no clear definition on widely diverse interpretations of what the principles might mean in certain circumstances. The simple answer is that the definitions have not been defined and they cannot be, and we believe they should be removed. Again, I repeat that this is not an attack on the Treaty. This is not an attack on the position of the Treaty either in the laws on our statue book or in our country, or on the work that the Treaty of Waitangi builds upon year after year. We believe that both in our day-to-day lives and the way our caucus is made up, and in the discussions we have in this Parliament, we are sympathetic to the Treaty of Waitangi and the objects of it. But we think it demeans the Treaty if words are put in it that cannot be defined and that lead—in my words—to a bun fight on every single bit of legislation. We do not believe that is good for the country, we do not believe that is good law, and we seek, by this bill, to remove that word “principles”.
CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (National)
: National supports the first reading of the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill but says there is much work to be done on it at the select committee stage. I observe that if all parties treat this matter seriously, rather than simply posturing, there is an opportunity to make considerable improvements to the law.
I begin by making a brief comment about what I regard as an intemperate and crude populist remark contained in the explanatory note to the bill. I am referring to the comment about the task of interpreting such clauses having fallen to judges who “have taken an increasingly activist, liberal, and broad licence in providing a form of definition.” In my experience, there are two kinds of judges: conservative and very conservative. The suggestion that these clauses are being interpreted by wild-eyed liberals is insulting to the judiciary. Any problems that have arisen with Treaty clauses are because this place has either failed to provide an adequate definition of what Treaty principles are or has mindlessly inserted them in legislation in an inappropriate way. This is an opportunity to tidy things up.
As Mr Woolerton observed, there is no comprehensive or authoritative list of principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, but guidance can be obtained from some judgments, and I also refer to the Law Commission’s study paper,
Māori Custom and Values in New Zealand Law, where there is a very interesting and useful discussion about Treaty principles. Interestingly, that report referred to a submission the Law Commission had made to the Health Committee on the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Bill 2000 urging Parliament, so far as possible, to provide the courts with guidance as to its precise intention when referring to principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in legislation. The commission noted that those who are required to comply with a statute must be able to ascertain with some degree of certainty what they have to do, or omit to do, in order to comply. The undesirability of resolving uncertainty by reference to a court was expressly noted, but needless to say the Law Commission’s submission was ignored by the Government.
This really is a pretty second-rate piece of work by Mr Woolerton. An example of his inattention to detail can be seen in his seeking to repeal Treaty references in repealed legislation. The Foreshore and Seabed Endowment Revesting Act 1991 and the Maori Fisheries Act 1989 have been repealed, and I very much look forward to Mr Woolerton, or Mr Donnelly, saying something about what exactly New Zealand First is hoping to achieve by deleting Treaty references from repealed legislation.
R Doug Woolerton: I’ll have to sack the lawyer.
CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: Yes, the member will have to sack the lawyer who drafted it! But it is the member’s name that is on the bill, and he bears the responsibility for this kind of sloppiness.
There are four aspects of the legislation I wish to refer to that are contained in Mr Woolerton’s bill: first, general legislation; second, private Acts; third, settlement legislation; and, fourth, two important Treaty statutes that deserve special attention. I refer first to general legislation. The National Party cannot see any reason why there needs to be specific Treaty references in legislation like the Crown Research Institutes Act, the Crown Minerals Act, or the Crown Pastoral Land Act. These pieces of legislation have general applicability; there is no need for a Treaty reference there.
I have greater difficulty with private legislation, and there are at least three examples of private Acts that are referred to in Mr Woolerton’s bill—namely, the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Act, the Royal Society of New Zealand Act, and the Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Act of 1996. These three Acts contain Treaty clauses, but private Acts are passed for the benefit of particular individuals or persons and sometimes exempt individuals from requirements of the general law. An example of a private Act is the Sydenham Money Club Act, which reconstituted the Sydenham Money Club from a credit union to a building society. As a matter of principle, I have a few doubts about whether Parliament should unilaterally be interfering with private legislation. If individuals have agreed on the substance of the legislation and the legislation is then passed by Parliament, I do not know that Parliament should necessarily be deleting Treaty provisions from those Acts. But that is something the select committee can look at in closer detail.
Then we have settlement legislation, and Mr Woolerton’s bill refers to a number of pieces of settlement legislation—for example, the Ngati Tama Claims Settlement Act of 2003, and the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act of 1998. Interestingly, the member, or the person who was the author of this legislation, failed to refer to a number of recent pieces of settlement legislation, such as the Ngāti Awa Claims Settlement Act of 2005. Many of the references to Treaty principles are contained in the preamble or in the formal apology of the Crown that has been incorporated in the statute. As a matter of legislative drafting, I do not know that it is particularly wise to incorporate apologies in the form of the statute, but, that having been done, I have some doubts in relation to settlement legislation about whether particular references to principles of the Treaty, or the Treaty, should be removed. Again, that is an issue the select committee can look at when it comes to consider this bill.
Two other important Treaty statutes need specific reference, and these are the fourth category I identified. The first is the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, from which my friend Mr Woolerton seeks to remove any reference to principles of the Treaty. But such an amendment would remove the very jurisdiction of the tribunal, which was established to investigate breaches of the Treaty, and I cannot see that this Parliament can responsibly and, indeed, sensibly—if New Zealand First does not want to be sensible, it should be at least responsible—delete the proposal that the Treaty of Waitangi Act be amended by deleting those provisions. Then there is the Treaty of Waitangi (Fisheries Claims) Settlement Act of 1992, particularly the references to section 10, which Mr Woolerton refers to, where, for example, a provision requires consultation in accordance with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. That is an example of where the phrase is simply meaningless, adds nothing to the section, and could be deleted.
So, as can be seen, quite a lot of work needs to be done on this legislation, but I believe it provides the select committee with an opportunity to clean up a bit of legislative mess that has developed over the years, and I would not have thought the Government would necessarily be opposed to that. Indeed, once upon a time, we had a Coordinating Minister, Race Relations. It was only Mr Mallard, and he held the portfolio for only a short period of time. I think he was as effective as Coordinating Minister, Race Relations, as the member for Te Tai Tonga would know, as he was as Minister of Education—[Interruption] I do not know that the member should do that—and as he is now Minister for Economic Development. But in 2004 the new Coordinating Minister, Race Relations said that many references to the Treaty of Waitangi in legislation may not be relevant and that he would be reviewing references to the Treaty in legislation. Did he do anything? No, of course he did not. Then, in February 2004, he said that the Treaty was in quite a few Acts and that principles are set in them that are quite inconsistent and in some cases a bit incoherent—just like he is at question time.
So this bill provides an opportunity for the select committee to look at this legislation—because I agree there are some inconsistent and incoherent references to the Treaty—and do a decent job to tidy it up. As a member of the Justice and Electoral Committee—
Darren Hughes: Deputy chair.
CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: deputy chairman, as the boy wonder from Ōtaki says—I look forward to receiving this bill in the select committee, having a good look at it, and seeing whether we can do something with it because, even though it is flawed in its present form, it does raise a number of important issues. I think that if the select committee does its job we can tidy it up very well.
Hon STEVE MAHAREY (Minister of Education)
: It is good to follow on from the new member, who is, of course, a neighbour of mine. It is good to see him on his feet in the House. I would have to say, though, that one of the things he should not do in the House is start deriding somebody else’s label. Mr Mapp’s label of “PC Eradicator” must be one of the most stupid titles ever invented in this House. But I acknowledge that although it sounds as though National members this evening intend to send this bill to a select committee, in the hope that there may be some clarification, they are themselves saying they will not be voting for the bill.
That brings me to my colleagues from New Zealand First, and I acknowledge the New Zealand First folk in the House. We are watching, I think, one of the more sophisticated aspects of MMP operating this evening. One of the things about MMP that New Zealanders are getting their heads around at the present time is something that all parties in the House are now well used to—they have been in situations like this—that is, minority Governments. It means, of course, that Governments have to work out situations with other parties in terms of their partnerships or their agreements on confidence and supply. What we are talking about tonight is part of New Zealand First’s agreement. New Zealand First understands that what we will say about this bill will reflect not only that agreement but also the opinions of the Labour part of the Government.
So that brings me to the bill and, for members who have been in the House for a little while, we are back on familiar ground. This member’s bill is the identical member’s bill that was introduced in February 2005 by the Rt Hon Winston Peters. Its purpose is to remove all references to the expressions “the principles of the Treaty”, “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi”, and “the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles” from a range of specified statutes. It also proposes to repeal any regulations promulgated under statutes that refer to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. In other words, the New Zealand First Party has something against the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Pita Paraone: Tell us what they are.
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: Mr Paraone is asking what they are, and during the debate those New Zealand First members will hear a great number of those principles outlined, such as partnership, a principle like all the “P” words that go with that, which of course will be talked about through the debate.
As I said, in accordance with the supply and confidence agreement with New Zealand First, the Government intends to support this bill through its first reading. That will enable it to go to a select committee, which will allow debate on the appropriate place of the Treaty principles in legislation. It reflects the fact that constitutional principles are often the subject of debate. The Treaty is a constitutional document. The principles that underlie it are therefore points of debate, and we are willing to go to that point. But let me make it unequivocally clear: the Government supports this bill in its first reading only, because it has genuine concerns about the need for this legislation and about the negative impact it will have on promoting an enduring and positive, cooperative relationship between Crown and Māori if the bill is allowed to proceed beyond the select committee. That is our view; that is clear.
My colleagues from the Māori caucus have made clear that they do not see this bill as having a positive impact on any of the relationships that we have been at pains to build up between Māori and the Crown. Therefore, while the debate can be held, we will not ultimately be supporting the bill. The concerns we have are obvious. This bill, if it goes forward, will have an adverse impact on relationships between Māori and the Crown. In recognition of the important place of the Treaty, successive Governments have put the Treaty’s principles in legislation; that has been something that successive Governments have done and have respected. In fact, most of those pieces of legislation were passed during the 1990s under a National Government.
In terms of removing the references, I say that that would not obstruct what is going on, anyway, because we would undoubtedly find that the courts would simply continue to operate as if the references were there, because they need to refer to the principles of the Treaty. They have been referring to those principles for some time. They will continue to do so because it is in the practice of the courts to do so. So nothing would change. There would, of course, be a risk of litigation, because people would then begin referring back to what courts have already done, and going back to those rulings to say: “Let us litigate these decisions because they exist.”
There are inconsistencies in the bill. Other legislation, for example, would be disturbed by this bill. It contains no consequential amendments to other legislation, and there are other inconsistencies in it. The bill removes a whole set of substantive rights. For example, the deletion of the reference in a section of the Treaty of Waitangi Act would remove the power of the Waitangi Tribunal to order the resumption of the Crown Forest Lands Act. In other words, if we did that kind of thing we would simply contradict a whole range of other legislation.
All these arguments have been traversed before. The Government’s clear position is to send the bill to the select committee and no further.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: The first two speakers had 10 minutes, as they have on all members’ bills. All other speakers have 5 minutes.
METIRIA TUREI (Green)
: The Green Party will oppose this bill, as we have similar bills. It is amazing how often this issue keeps coming up and being stopped dead in its tracks. We are really concerned for Labour, and we certainly look forward to hearing from its Māori MPs as to their views on this legislation. What do they think about it, given that their party is going to support it? It is a very sad situation.
Poor old Doug Woolerton. What has to be remembered here, when he says that the whole point of this bill is to get rid of the industry, is that his leader has been saying to get rid of the industry for years and years. Now Doug has taken up the mantra. Well, I tell Doug that it is just too late. We have had the principles in legislation in this country for 31 years. For 31 years we have had a massive amount of jurisprudence on the issues around the principles—not that it is all good, and not that it is all a good thing, but there has been that jurisprudence and work done. We are finally getting to the point where many of the issues have been resolved. Doug is just too late.
What has this supposed industry spurned as a result of this jurisprudence? I will tell members what it has done. Generations of young Māori lawyers have been able to come through the ranks, enabling them to take control of their hapū and their iwi and to be active and work for their people. These are the new leaders of this country. There is a new generation of judges and a new generation of politicians. These are the things that have arisen out of the 30 years. Business management graduates are coming up who will be able to manage the resources that arise out of, in part, the principles and their application to various areas. They are industry leaders in agriculture and in information technology.
The Waitangi Tribunal has done amazing work with the tools it has had—flawed as those tools might be—doing things for New Zealanders as a whole, such as protecting New Zealand’s forests. If it were not for the Treaty, the principles, and the application by the tribunal this country would have sold off its Crown forests in massive amounts. It has enabled Māori broadcasting to become an amazingly successful industry in this country, in television and radio. It is te reo Māori week; it is Māori Language Week. But for having this tool—like I say, flawed as it is—we would not have had Māori language protected in law.
Hon Brian Donnelly: That’s not the principles.
METIRIA TUREI: It is the principles. This is the tool that has been used because it was the only one available to enable that protection to happen. We, the Greens, completely agree that the tool is flawed. We do not concern ourselves with the principles. They are not in any of our policies. We never refer to the principles, because we believe it is the text and the articles that are relevant. But we will not support a bill that eliminates the principles from legislation and from the legal processes, leaving just a huge lacuna—a massive hole—where that jurisprudence lives, because that would return us back to the days before the principles were enacted and used. It would return us back to the days when the Treaty was a nullity and we were not able to use any tools in law to see that our rights as tangata whenua were being met and dealt with properly in legislation. That, ultimately, is what New Zealand First wants and is looking to do—to go back to those days.
I will give members an example, because I think what they are trying to do is so sad. I just refer back—it is Māori Language Week—to the tribunal report of, I think, 1985 that used the principle of active protection to make sure that te reo Māori was an important and significant language. That led directly to the 1987 Māori Language Act, which states that Māori language is a protected and official language of this country. Let us just go back to 1979, before the implications and use of that principle, when Dun Mīhaka ended up with a decision from the Court of Appeal saying that although Māori language in New Zealand was a matter of public importance, the Treaty had no legal bearing on the matter. The court based its decision on the English common law that applied in New Zealand because there were no tools for it to make any other decision.
The principles are flawed. We would like to see a hapū-based decision-making process in place, but unless New Zealand First or any other party is prepared to enable the signatories to the Treaty—the hapū signatories who are entitled to rangatiratanga—to make those decisions and have a process, there is no room in this Parliament, and certainly not with support from the Greens, to eliminate the only tool that Māori has ever had to be able to ensure we have legal recognition in this country. Kia ora.
TE URUROA FLAVELL (Māori Party—Waiariki)
:E te Kaikōrero, tēnā koe, tēnā tātou katoa. Kātahi te pire heahea rawa atu, pai kē māu tēnā e whakamārama ake.
Anei kē te tīmatanga mai o te pukapuka whakamārama o Te Puni Kōkiri mō ngā mātāpono o Te Tiriti o Waitangi: “He rangi tā matawhaiti, he rangi tā matawhānui.”
Me kī, ki te whāiti te titiro, he whaiti anō hoki te paerangi ka whāia haeretia e ia. Mēnā e whānui ana te titiro, ka whānui anō hoki ngā huarahi kei mua i a koe. Kua tae mai te Pāti Māori ki tēnei pire ā-mema, me te mōhio anō hoki, me titiro whānui kē tātou ki Te Tiriti o Waitangi hei kupu taketake o Aotearoa. Ko te mate o tēnei pire, he whāiti kē tōna titiro ki te Tiriti ki tōna itinga rawa, he aronga whāiti, he pae tata tōna.
Ko tā te Tiriti, he waihanga i te āhua o te whenua nei he puna ora me kī, kia whai mana ai te tū o te Kāwanatanga. He kupu ērā e whakamārama nei i te aronga o te Karauna ki te tangata whenua; kia noho kōhatu te tino rangatiratanga o te iwi, kia noho pūmau te whenua Māori i roto ngā ringaringa o te Māori, kia pūmau te rangatiraranga o te tangata. Na Tā Robin Cooke, te Perehetini o Te Kooti Pīra te kōrero: “Koia te kupu whakaharahara rawa i roto i ngā kōrero ō nehe i Aotearoa nei, e kore e taea te tuku i ōna pou.” Engari i tēnei pire, ko tāna mahi ko te tapahi i te pito, ko te tuku i te motu kia rewa. Ko tāna mahi ko te ūkui i ngā kupu o te Tiriti i ngā ture katoa o Aotearoa. Arā, mai i ngā kupu taki, i ngā whakamārama, i ngā kupu āpiti, i ngā whakaritenga, me ērā atu o ngā whakatau ā-ture.
Anei pea te pātai nui e koa mā. He aha te mea kawa, kino ranei o te whakaaro kia noho tonu mai ānei mātāpono, o te whakanui rānei i te Tiriti hei tūāpapa mō Aotearoa? Koia nei tā te Pāti Māori tū. Me waiho ko Te Tiriti o Waitangi hei tūāpapa mō te motu kia whakatinana i te moemoeā, arā, kia whai wāhi ai ngā taha e rua, arā, a Māori rāua ko Pākehā i roto i te whakahaere o te motu. Me kī, i tae ā-tangata whenua atu ō mātou tūpuna ki te Tiriti. E ai ki a rātou, he mana taketake anō ō rātou. E ai ki tō rātou titiro, he mana ake tō te Tiriti, he whānui tonu tōna titiro kia noho ia hei korowai, hei kupu oati mō ngā tāngata katoa e noho nei i Aotearoa. Kei tōna hōhonutanga, ko te Tiriti he whakawhitinga o ngā whakatau i waenganui i ngā tāngata whai rangatiratanga, kātahi, ka puta ētahi here ki runga i tēnā, i tēnā. I tēnei wā, ē ko te āhua nei kei te hiahia tētahi o ngā hoa haere o te Tiriti kia puta.
Ko te noho ā-rangapū i raro i te Tiriti, he mea tupunga, ehara i te mea kōhatu. I te Take ā-Whenua i te tau 1987, ko tā te Kooti Pīra whakamārama, ko te tikanga “he mea whai oranga” te Tiriti, he mea hanga hei tūāpapa mō te nohonga ngātahi i waenga i te Māori me te Karauna. Anō nei “he kākano, kaua ko tētahi mea kua tupu kē kia taea ai te tāpiri atu i ngā whakaaro”. Kia tupu taua kākano ki tōna puāwaitanga, me whakairi te Tiriti hei mea ora, hei mea akiaki, kia here i te nohonga tahi o te tangata mo ake nei.
Engari kia tau mai a raruraru, ko te āhua nei ko te mahi o te hoa, ko te oma atu i ngā whakatau i whakaritea. Ko tā te Tākuta Brash nei i mua o te pōti matua kua hipa, ko te whakairi i te haki mā, ko te tuohu i te māhunga anō hoki, anō nei ka hinga rātou. Hei tāna, ka ūkuia katoatia ngā kōrero pōrangi, ngā kōrero kaikiri ā-iwi, otirā ko ngā whakapuakanga ā-mātāpono 39 i ngā ture katoa. I te taenga atu ki te wā whiriwhiri ko wai te hunga ka noho hei hoa Kāwanatanga, ko tā Te Rōpū Reipa, ko te whiu atu i tōna aronga ki te Tiriti, ā, anei te utu, ko te utu e kōrerohia ake nei, ko te tautoko i tēnei pire me tana haere ki te komiti whāiti. Ka mutu, nā runga i tōna hiahia tūturu nei kia kitea mai ai i a ia i ngā nūpepa, pouaka whakaata, kua tukuna ko tā Winitana Pita pire, arā, te mea i hinga i te Pipiri o te tau kua hipa i raro i te ingoa o Doug Woolerton.
E kore rawa te Pāti Māori e noho whakamuri, e noho wahangū rānei i te Whare Pāremata nei. Ko tā mātou kē, ko te kōkiri i ngā take kua puta mai i te hapori, i te iwi kia tae rā anō ki te wā ka noho te Tiriti hei mea wānanga i waenganui i te Karauna me te Māori. Kia ora tātou.
- [An interpretation in English was given to the House.]
[Greetings to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, and to all of us. What a stupid bill!
The Treaty gives shape to this nation—as a key source of the Government’s moral and political claim to legitimacy, and as a document that articulates the commitment of the Crown to tangata whenua to have their tino rangatiratanga preserved, Māori land ownership emphasised, and chiefly authority protected. It is a document of which Sir Robin Cooke, the then President of the Court of Appeal, said:
One has to ask what is so “offensive” about the concept of having principles, or honouring the Treaty as the basis of our constitutional platform for Aotearoa.
As with any partnership, the Treaty partnership is forever evolving. In the lands case in 1987, the Court of Appeal suggested that the Treaty should be interpreted as a “living instrument”, laying the foundation for “an ongoing partnership” between Māori and the Crown, which should be seen as “an embryo rather than a fully developed and integrated set of ideas”. Nurturing that embryo into full life requires the Treaty to be a living and dynamic document, to secure an enduring partnership.
But when the going gets tough, it seems some parts of the partner are running from their responsibilities. Dr Brash flew the white flag of defeat, well before the election, stating they would remove what he called “racial nonsense”, any references to the principles, from 39 pieces of legislation. When it came time to stitch together a coalition Government, Labour was prepared to throw away its so-called commitment to the Treaty by agreeing to support this bill going to select committee. And in a desperate attempt to get some media attention in this country, Winston Peters’ bill, which was last voted down in June 2005, resurfaces under the name of Doug Woolerton.
The Māori Party will not renege on our responsibilities as part of Parliament and also to our constituency tangata whenua. We respect the fact that unless and until it is freely renegotiated between the Crown and Māori, the Treaty stands; it continues in being.
Thank you all.]
JUDY TURNER (Deputy Leader—United Future)
: I rise on behalf of United Future to speak on the first reading of the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill. United Future will support the first reading, but it sticks in the craw of our throat to do so. I repeat a line I used last time we spoke on this bill, which is that it is a shabby vehicle, but it is the only one leaving the station, and we are very keen to hear from New Zealanders on this important issue. Our concerns are that whenever we pass legislation in this House that makes reference to the principles of the Treaty we have this extended diversionary debate at every step about what the principles are and why they not defined. We seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on this issue.
One of the concerns we have is that whenever we refer to principles or to the spirit of a document, we risk watering down the original text. In regard to this matter, when we refer to the principles of the Treaty, we would ask what that does to the original text. Some speakers have made out that there is no understanding in any department regarding what these principles are, but I think that is false. Substantial work has been done in several quarters about the principles of the Treaty and that is part of the discussion I would like to have as to whether quantifying that and agreeing on it could be helpful. Rather than eliminating the phrase, we could deepen our understanding, so that when we refer to the principles of the Treaty, if that is considered a desirable way forward, we understand what we mean by that, very, very clearly.
One of the things that most disturbs me about this bill is some of the comments in the explanatory note. For instance, the sponsor of this bill has said that he does not want to get rid of references to the Treaty, but actually he does because clearly he wants to eliminate all references to the expression “Treaty of Waitangi and its principles”. I think that is a disturbing thing. If New Zealand First members wanted to resubmit the bill with a different flavour they should have changed the commentary and made that clear. They were too lazy to do that, and I find that disturbing.
New Zealand First members talk about the opportunity that they believe this expression offers judges to become increasingly activist and liberal in their interpretation of the law, and I think that discussion needs to be had to see whether clarity can be brought to it. Then it gets a bit more disturbing. They say under their third point in the explanatory note that as far as they are aware, references to the principles of the Treaty have had no tangible benefit to date for Māori. I like the example mentioned by the Green member when she referred to the principle of “active protection”, I think was the term she used, as it applied to te reo, and the good work that was able to do.
The phrase in the explanatory note that really upsets me, after stating that there has been no benefit to Māori from having references to the Treaty’s principles, states: “… it has also surreptitiously created unrealistic expectations among Maori in relation to their entitlements from society.” I hope I am not the only one who finds that statement extremely disturbing. I would like to think that submitters to this bill will pick up on the commentary, because it certainly is a very strong flavour that affects the bill.
United Future will support the bill because we believe that discussions could be had that could be advantageous. But, beyond the first reading, unless there are substantial changes, we will support it no further.
RODNEY HIDE (Leader—ACT)
: I know that my speech is awaited with eager anticipation, as it will indicate which way the ACT party will throw its mighty weight. It is surprising that the principles—
Shane Jones: Foxtrot!
RODNEY HIDE: Well, the jealousy of this Labour Party knows no end.
It is amazing how this real accident of the principles of the Treaty being inserted into our legislation could achieve such constitutional status and have such high-minded speeches being given about it. The truth of what happened is that in the State-Owned Enterprises Act that Geoffrey Palmer was negotiating with Māori, he thought he had pulled a fast one because he put in the provision about the principles of the Treaty. Māori felt really good about that.
Geoffrey Palmer then went back to Cabinet and told them not to worry, that it did not mean anything. That is what Sir Geoffrey Palmer said—that putting the principles of the Treaty into legislation did not mean anything. Then the discussion around the Cabinet table was that normally judges like to think that the experience of putting something into legislation must mean something, and that Parliament would have intended something. But Sir Geoffrey Palmer said: “No, it’s OK. It doesn’t mean anything.” Of course, what has happened now is that it has grown into a huge industry. We should make a distinction between the Treaty and the principles, because it is huge.
Shane Jones: It’s part of the constitution.
RODNEY HIDE: Well, Shane Jones talked about it being part of the Māori constitution. That may be true, but the problem is that if one accepts that Parliament is Sovereign, then it is for Parliament to decide what the rules are and what the law is, and it has never done it for these principles. We hear Ministers and other people getting up in this Chamber to say that the principle means this or the principle means that. What sort of jurisprudential adventure is that? They say: “Oh, the principles of the Treaty!” and wave their hands and get all solemn about it but do not actually determine what it means. They leave it up to unelected bureaucrats and judges—poor things—to interpret what it all means.
So the ACT party rises—and I am sorry; I know we are disagreeing with my friends in the Māori Party on this—to support this bill going to select committee and to at least have a debate. Mr Finlayson, who is the finest lawyer in the House, says the bill can be fixed up, so I think we should support it through the House. But I will make a wee comment about the politics of this.
Mr Maharey said this was the sophistication of MMP in operation. Well, let us just think about that for a moment. It means the Labour Party is going to support something that it hates to its core. It hates it. Not one Māori MP from the Labour Party has got up and explained why they are voting for this bill. Of course, New Zealand First felt oh so good. It has the baubles of office—a little poodle sitting there—and it has got the Labour Party to agree to this bill. But the stupid things in New Zealand First got agreement to only a first reading. So the Labour Party will vote for the bill going to a select committee and then will kill it. New Zealand First has signed up to the Labour Party to achieve nothing. How stupid could they be?
I ask Mr Woolerton why New Zealand First did not ask the Labour Party to support the bill all the way if it believed in and had the courage of its convictions. The Labour Party has done the New Zealand First MPs like a dinner. Helen Clark said to them: “Don’t worry, we’ll support you to the first reading, and we’ll kill it there.” That is what she has told the Māori caucus. I have to say to Doug that Shane Jones and the other Māori MPs are all laughing at him. They are all saying that Helen Clark, Michael Cullen, and—as John Tamihere observed—the “smarmy” one, are tricky.
They are so tricky that even the wily old fox Winston was outfoxed by the Labour Party and the Māori caucus. They got New Zealand First’s support for the Government and its Budget in return for what? Labour is going to vote for the first reading of the bill and then kill it. I always knew that New Zealand First were useless; I just did not realise quite how useless they truly were in signing up to this agreement with the Labour Party. But I have to say that we support this bill.
Hon BRIAN DONNELLY (NZ First)
: I have to say that is wonderful, coming as it does from a member who, in the 10 years since he has been here, has actually produced nothing, and who belongs to a party that has produced absolutely nothing. But I do not want to go on to slag them off and do those sorts of things. I ask members to consider a scenario. Let us imagine we had a Crimes Act that simply stated that all people should be good at all times, and then we left it up to the courts to determine what was meant by being good. I believe that very, very few people would think that was anything but a nonsense. Yet that is exactly what we have with the insertion into legislation of clauses that refer to undefined principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
I want to quote from the law professor Matthew Palmer, who said: “From a traditional legal perception the Treaty of Waitangi exists in a shadow land—half in and half out of law. It has no legal status in and of itself. In order for the Treaty to be part of the law it has to be made so. The primary way in which this occurs is through incorporation in legislation.” That is the Treaty of Waitangi.
However, the Treaty is itself internally contradictory. It was drawn up by an Irishman, who left school before the age of 10 and was too sick at the time he drafted it to even leave the ship, based on instructions from someone half a world away. It was then translated overnight by people who were far from being constitutional lawyers, and who did not have a deep understanding of te reo Māori—neither Henry Williams nor Edward Williams were experienced translators—into a language that did not have the lexicon of international legal concepts. It was not translated into indigenous Māori but into missionary Māori.
The Treaty is not a founding document in the sense of being a constitution, but Lord Normanby’s instructions required Hobson to first gain the free and intelligent consent of Māori before he annexed New Zealand. So the Treaty is the document upon which our nation was founded. It is a defining document for our nation, in the sense that it spells out a set of enduring relationships. Chief Justice Prendergast got it wrong. It is not a simple nullity; it defines our nation.
However, because of the Treaty’s internal contradictions and its capacity for multiple interpretations, lawmakers have been reluctant to insert it directly into legislation. As Matthew Palmer has said, the Treaty of Waitangi is not sensibly susceptible to ordinary techniques of statutory interpretation. Instead, legislators have inserted the pusillanimous term “principles of the Treaty”—a simple flourish, as Geoffrey Palmer referred to the term when he inserted it into the State-owned enterprises legislation. Yet it is his son who demolishes his father’s work. Matthew Palmer argues that if the only point in putting in a reference to the Treaty is symbolic, it is unnecessary and unhelpful. If it is to express Treaty implications for that legislation, as required by the
Cabinet Manual since 2001, then that is the civic implication that should be addressed and put into the legislation.
I make reference to the Education (Tertiary Reform) Amendment Act 2002. Two Labour Ministers on the Education and Science Committee refused to put in any reference to the principles of the Treaty because that was too vague and did not specify exactly what was intended, and instead came up with the wording: “The tertiary education strategy must address … the development aspirations of Maori and other population groups.” I will tell people, right at the end of this speech, who the members were who refused to allow reference to the Treaty principles to go in there. On the basis of that, I will rest my case.
In 2002 New Zealand First decided to test whether the emperor had any clothes on. We asked a number of Ministers what they understood the principles of the Treaty to be. The answers were enlightening. The real doozy came from the then Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs. She told the House that she knew a certain local body was complying with the principles of the Treaty because it was required to do so under section 8 of the Resource Management Act. But, when asked what the principles were that the local body was required to comply with, she essentially told us that it was not up to the Government to tell or explain to local government what the principles of the Treaty were. Another Minister of Education said that if we wanted to find out what the principles were, we should look at the Education Act 1989. I have to tell that Minister that there is no reference to the principles of the Treaty in that Act.
I wind up by saying that the two members on the Education and Science Committee in 2002 who refused to allow the insertion of the term “principles of the Treaty” were Nanaia Mahuta and Tariana Turia. I rest my case.
Hon GEORGINA TE HEUHEU (National)
: National supports the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill. Steve Maharey seemed to indicate that National was not supporting it, but we do support it going to the select committee because National has for some years now recognised that the continued insertion of the phrase “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” into various enactments, without much guide as to what that phrase means, has given rise to a serious problem. More important, though, it has over the years in my view brought the Treaty claims process into disrepute. That is unfair, especially to the process, but more so to Māori who under that process seek fairness and reparation for injustices visited upon them in the previous 160 years. Bringing this matter to Parliament at least gives us all an opportunity to debate the issue and gives an opportunity for the public, who are concerned as well, to come and give their views.
National’s support is qualified, however, and my colleague Chris Finlayson set out very clearly where we think the bill is deficient and how we will be proposing to improve it. The bill is deficient; it is flawed. Mind you, it is what we would expect of a party like New Zealand First, whose members are more concerned with posturing and wanting to make a political point. It is one thing to throw a bill together and to propose carte blanche—obviously without much thought as to the impact—the wholesale removal of certain clauses, just to make a political point, but it is another thing entirely to apply a measure of intelligence to what is a hugely important issue, to ensure that the bill does remedy the situation that we all think has arisen and that needs to be addressed, and also to avoid a situation where we might create more claims. It might give rise to fresh injustice and, as a consequence, new claims. Would it not be laughable if New Zealand First becomes responsible for legislation that creates a whole new gravy train, as they like to put it, of claims? This bill has the potential to do that.
I want to give two examples. The Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act states that the meaning of Ngāi Tahu claims means all claims made at any time by any Ngāi Tahu claimant and founded on rights arising in or by the Treaty of Waitangi, the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi—and it goes on, basically setting the heart of that settlement. I wonder whether New Zealand First realises that in that settlement, as with the others, it is ripping the heart out of those settlements. Why would it do that? It is because it is only trying to make political points. It would not do it because it is applying some intelligence. That is why my colleague Chris Finlayson has indicated clearly that there are categories of enactments where it is probably right and proper to remove that phrase, but there are other enactments where it is utterly ridiculous to take that phrase out—not unless we are going to remove only the two words “the principles” and leave in “the Treaty of Waitangi”.
I want to refer briefly to section 6 of the Treaty of Waitangi Act. Rodney Hide shows a lack of knowledge when he talks about the principles of the Treaty somehow “arising” in 1986. It is in the 1975 legislation. Mat Rata introduced that legislation. He knew exactly what he was doing when he introduced it, Māori knew too, because how can we refer only to the Treaty, when there are two versions—Māori and English? Māori mostly signed the Māori version. So if we are to have just “the Treaty” without a qualifying remark, what version are we to refer to? Mat Rata knew exactly what he was doing when he inserted that clause. We must take the two versions, and from those two versions we elicit some underlying principles. That is what he did then. He did not envisage that subsequent Governments would poke the Treaty everywhere, and make it a nullity.
This bill is flawed. It is typical of New Zealand First. This issue requires intelligence and it requires all of us as we debate this bill to show a measure of respect to the people who first brought in the Treaty process, introduced it in good faith, and wanted nothing more than the reconciliation of New Zealanders, one with another. We must bear that in mind as we see this bill go through the process.
Hon NANAIA MAHUTA (Minister of Customs)
: Sometimes we do things that we do not like, but we need to do them so that we can truly appreciate what we have. This is the second time this bill, the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill, has been introduced into Parliament. In the last term of Parliament Winston Peters brought it to the House. At that time Labour voted against it. I gave a speech at the time and said that the Labour-led Government was not prepared to send a signal that it was walking away from Māori, and that is why Labour members voted against the bill the first time. That is still the case today. We do not agree with the intent or purpose of this bill.
However, the political landscape has changed. We have had a general election, and voters have made their choice. Interestingly enough, in the Māori electorates the party vote for Labour was significant but, sadly, we could not stitch together an agreement that could ensure that matters like this would not be brought before the House. The current Government formation means we have an agreement with New Zealand First. Part of that agreement requires that we support this bill going to a select committee, and that is all. We will do that on the basis that although this issue will be canvassed at a select committee, there is no undertaking beyond that point.
It needs to be said that although National is trying hard to “cool up” its image, its real challenge will be to embrace diversity. Labour is a broad-based party, made up of many peoples. We understand that in trying to shape a common purpose and vision, we need to work hard to find ways of working together. That is how it should be if we are committed to an enduring relationship—and that is much like the intent of the Treaty of Waitangi.
One thing we have all learnt since Don Brash’s Ōrewa speech is that if we scratch the surface of our society, there is a delicate underbelly, and we expose the most negative aspects of the New Zealand Aotearoa psyche. Much of that is based on ignorance, prejudice, and blatant disregard of differing world views—one of which is Māori. Removing references to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi from legislation would do little to build consensus or a constructive way forward.
A huge body of knowledge has been accumulated over time, including knowledge from the judiciary and from political and academic discourses. The point is that we are not starting from a blank slate, and neither should we be. Aotearoa New Zealand has walked too long in the shadow of our shameful colonial history. We need to walk confidently ahead, ensuring that the principles underpinning the Treaty provide a practical opportunity to go forward together, and to secure a strong foundation for our country and all its people.
This bill will not improve or speed up the Treaty settlement process, as the negotiated outcomes and the apology for historical injustices—an important component of Treaty settlement legislation—are most certainly linked to the principles of the Treaty. There may be a real opportunity for discussion regarding the principles as defined by Labour in 1989, which have guided much of the discourse over the last 17 years. If we look at some of those principles, we understand much of the intent of what those who originally defined them were trying to achieve.
One is the principle of government—that the Government has the right to govern and to make laws. The next principle is the principle of self-management. Iwi have the right to organise as iwi and, under the law, to control the resources they own. The principle of equality is that all New Zealanders are equal under the law. The principle of reasonable cooperation means that both the Government and iwi are obliged to accord each other reasonable cooperation on major issues of common concern. The principle of redress means that the Government is responsible for providing effective processes for the resolution of grievances in the expectation that reconciliation will occur. These are the types of principles that will guide a way forward, and they could be an opportunity for us all.
It is very important to understand that the evolution in Treaty discourse has changed over time. More recently, the way in which Treaty clauses have been included in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act and the Local Government Act 2002 really reflects where we have come to as a nation. The Treaty clauses in both of those Acts reflect an approach of providing greater clarity of the purpose of referring to the Treaty in legislation in order to make operational the relationship between the Crown, Māori, and other New Zealanders. These examples provide certainty about how relationships should work so that pragmatic and practical working relationships can be forged. This is a constructive way forward.
Once again, I say that I do not support the intent of the New Zealand First bill. It rejects the path we have come down to build an Aotearoa New Zealand we can all be proud of. This is not the next foreshore and seabed issue. A Labour Government established the Waitangi Tribunal, set out the principles in 1989, continued the Treaty settlements process, and provided the platform for Māori development with two Hui Taumata in two decades. Those are just some of the generational achievements.
Sending this bill to a select committee allows a debate to occur. We are not afraid of that, but I urge the House to consider the merit of building a nation founded on the principles of the Treaty, not on empty promises. The bill should go to a select committee, and no further.
R DOUG WOOLERTON (NZ First)
: I move that the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Sorry—does the member realise he has a speech in reply?
R DOUG WOOLERTON: Thank you. I apologise for being presumptuous. I cannot get over the glowing attributes and support that New Zealand First members have found ourselves receiving. I was moving ahead of myself, and I apologise for that.
It does sadden me a little bit that when changes are suggested like taking out the words “the principles” from legislation, it is interpreted as New Zealand First—or in particular myself—wanting to take out the provisions relating to the Treaty of Waitangi. That is not the case. I said that several times throughout my earlier speech, and I say it again. We are not here to take the Treaty of Waitangi out of legislation; it is the words “the principles” that we want removed.
Te Ururoa Flavell: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Kia ora, Madam Speaker; kua rongo au i te kōrero o te mema nei. I tēnei wiki, te wiki o te reo Māori, e tika ana kia whakahua i ngā ingoa Māori i runga i te tika. Arā—
[Thank you, Madam Speaker. I have heard this member’s address. During this week, the week for the Māori language, Māori names should be pronounced correctly. Indeed—]
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Points of order should be succinct. Have you finished?
Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Please be seated. The member will be seated when I am on my feet. Te Ururoa Flavell, had you finished?
Te Ururoa Flavell: I te tatari au ki te tangata nei.
[I was waiting for the interpreter.]
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): The member paused and I was asking him whether he had finished. We will have the interpretation, thank you.
- [An interpretation in English was given to the House.]
Te Ururoa Flavell: He īnoi—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Please be seated. I am dealing with this point of order. Are you saying that the interpretation—
Te Ururoa Flavell: No, no,kei te pai. He īnoi kia kī “Waitangi”, kaua ko te “Waitangi”. Āe.
- [An interpretation in English was given to the House.]
[No, no it is fine. I make a request that it be pronounced “Waitangi” (with the second “a” sounded like the “u” in cup); and not “Waitangi” (with the second “a” sounded like the “a” in man). OK.]
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): I warn the member that that was not a point of order. He should not have interrupted the member’s speech. [Interruption] Mr Henare, I am ruling on a point of order; I am speaking. I warn the member. I am dealing with the point of order. There will be silence during points of order—that includes you, Mr Hide.
Rodney Hide: What have I done?
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): I was ruling on a point of order. Members know very well there will be silence while I rule on points of order. That was not a point of order. The member should not have interrupted the member’s speech.
Te Ururoa Flavell: Point of order, Madam Speaker.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Do you want to make another point of order? It had better be a different point of order, because that was not a point of order.
Te Ururoa Flavell: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Ā, kia ora rā. I roto i te pukapuka nei kei te kī mēnā ka mau ā-hara nei te kōrero a tētahi, e taea ana te whakaputa i te aroaro i mua i te aroaro o te Whare Pāremata. Koi nei tāku e whai nei.
- [An interpretation in English was given to the House.]
[Thank you kindly. It states in this book that if a member says something that offends another member, the offended member can bring up the matter before the House of Parliament. This is what I was following up.]
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): That was not a point of order. The member cannot correct another member’s speech like that.
Tariana Turia: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I thought that the Standing Orders stated that if a member in the House offended another member by what he or she said, that was in fact a breach of the Standing Orders. I think Te Ururoa Flavell has rightfully raised a point of order about offensive mispronunciation.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): The member did not raise a point of order about taking offence.
Tariana Turia: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): No, the member did not raise a point of order about taking offence.
Tariana Turia: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. The fact is that he raised the issue of offensive mispronunciation, which often happens in this House. That is the reason why he raised the point of order.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): No, that is not a point of order. The member did not raise it as taking offence.
R DOUG WOOLERTON: Madam Speaker—
Te Ururoa Flavell: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): I have ruled on the point of order, and it is disorderly to contest the ruling. I have ruled on it.
Te Ururoa Flavell: Excuse me, Madam Assistant Speaker. Just to help us at this point in time, the difficulty has been, perhaps, in portraying the kōrero to the translator. What Mrs Turia has raised is the intent of the point of order, which was to draw to the attention of the House, and of the member, that in this week of Māori language we would appreciate the effort to pronounce words in an appropriate way. At the point in time when I raised the matter, it was a matter on which I had taken offence—thus I raised the point of order.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): That was not certainly clear the first time.
Hon Brian Donnelly: I want to be helpful here. The issue is that members can take offence at what has been said. I do not believe that members can take offence at how something has been said, because there are some members in this House whose English, in fact, offends many people in the way it is produced. We would be forever taking points of order about other members if we could do that about the manner in which something had been said. The key issue is whether somebody has attempted to pronounce the language in an appropriate form. I think that a reasonable attempt was made by the member Doug Woolerton. [Interruption]
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Please be seated; I will rule on the point of order. The member has spoken to the point of order and I agree with him—it concerns “how”. I agree with the member that we will get ourselves into a lot of difficulties if that is taken literally.
Tariana Turia: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Is it a new point of order?
Tariana Turia: Well, it is a clarification. I would like to refer the Assistant Speaker to the time when Rodney Hide pronounced Elmar Toime’s name incorrectly and that was drawn to the attention of the Speaker of the House at the time, Jonathan Hunt. So if we Māori people are to continue to allow the mispronunciation of our language, then I think that it is a pretty sad day for this House—because that is offensive.
Lindsay Tisch: Maybe I can assist. If the member feels that Mr Woolerton made an offensive remark by not using a proper Māori interpretation or pronunciation, and if he feels that that is an offence, then under Standing Order 115 he can ask for an apology. So the question is whether the member has taken offence at what Mr Woolerton has said. If he has, then there is a remedy. If he has not, then there is no case to answer, because—as has been said, and from what I could hear from where I was sitting—there was actually no offence taken other than at the mispronunciation of a word. So, Madam Assistant Speaker, I suggest you ask whether Mr Flavell was offended by a misinterpretation or mispronunciation of a word.
Rodney Hide: I just refer to the point that Tariana Turia made, and she is quite right. That was at question time. It seems to me that if a Labour MP raises a point of order in this House, it receives a very favourable hearing, but when members on this side of the House raise a point of order, it is shouted down. I distinctly remember that at one question time about 10 or 15 minutes were spent on my mispronunciation of—I am too scared to say it—the name of the gentleman who used to run New Zealand Post, and Labour MPs took points of order and were ruled on very favourably. My mispronunciation was considered to be highly offensive, because it was me saying it and Labour MPs complaining about it. Here we have Māori Language Week and an Opposition MP is taking offence—
Hon Judith Tizard: Ha, ha—try his name!
Rodney Hide: You see, they can even shout out during points of order and get away with it.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): There will be silence during points of order.
Rodney Hide: Well, it should not just be recorded; Judith Tizard should be sent out—because if I were doing it I would be.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Please be seated. The member’s point of order certainly went on far too long, and much of it was not a point of order. Did Nandor Tanczos still want to speak to the point of order?
Rodney Hide: Madam Assistant Speaker, I had not finished, and if you are going to allow Ministers from the Government side to interject, is that a new ruling? The point I am making is that there seems to be two rules in this House.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): The member knows he cannot assert that. The member will be seated.
Rodney Hide: But I have not finished. Just because Judith Tizard interrupted me, it does not mean I have to stop.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): It does mean you have to stop, because I have heard the point of order and ruled that the member has to present the point of order in a succinct way.
Rodney Hide: Well, let me summarise in a succinct way, because it will affect your ruling.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): The member will be seated. I have heard the point of order.
Rodney Hide: You’re going to get another one.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Please be seated.
Nandor Tanczos: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I want to draw your attention to perhaps another dimension on this issue. It relates to the Speakers’ rulings on pages 50, 51, and 52 of
Speakers’ Rulings. Speaker’s ruling 50/6 states: “The Speaker will interpose immediately when, in the Speaker’s judgment, the word used is offensive; … a member may rise and test the matter …”, Speaker’s ruling 51/7 states: “An expression or a word that may be regarded as acceptable parliamentary language in one context may not be acceptable in another context.”, and Speaker’s ruling 52/1 states: “The key element in judging whether a word is appropriate, is whether it will bring disorder. The inflection, the gesture or the menace with which a word is said, can also bring disorder.” It seems to me that if there is a constant habit among members of mispronouncing Māori words, then that may well be an issue that brings disorder if Māori members of the House in particular, and perhaps other members, are offended by it. So it seems to me that the application of those Speakers’ rulings may well apply.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): That interpretation could be taken but the point Mr Donnelly made concerned the “how”. If we were to have that, there would be extensive points of order that in themselves could bring disorder. Mr Tisch spoke to the point of whether a member had indicated he or she had taken offence at the pronunciation of a word—and I am sure that the member did not imply any offence, at all. I would ask Mr Woolerton to move on and to make clear what he was saying.
R DOUG WOOLERTON: Absolutely—thank you, Madam Assistant Speaker. I would like to make it clear—
Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): I will hear from just Mr Woolerton. Would the member please continue.
R DOUG WOOLERTON: Thank you, Madam Assistant Speaker, and I would like to make it clear—
Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Now we will hear the point of order. Mr Hide, I have finished with your point of order previously.
Rodney Hide: You have not heard this one. During the points of order that were being taken, you growled at me, Madam Assistant Speaker, for talking to Mr Tau Henare and then to Tariana Turia through the point of order while you were speaking. But they were sitting beside me. Is it the ruling now that members cannot speak to a person sitting beside them during a point of order? Is that the new standard, because my understanding—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): The member will be seated. The reason I called out to Mr Hide was that I was giving a ruling on a point of order—which is when he spoke—after I had already warned the other member.
Rodney Hide: But—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): No, the member will not continue. I have dealt with that point of order.
Rodney Hide: Well, you haven’t.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): I will just warn the member. His bill is coming up; I do not want to send him out. I just ask him to show some respect to the House.
Lindsay Tisch: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I think this can be brought to a conclusion just by asking the member whether he took offence. If he took offence, then I am sure Mr Woolerton will apologise for that, and we can move on. It is very clear under Standing Orders 115 and 116, which I mentioned before, that the question you should ask of Mr Flavell, Madam Assistant Speaker, is whether he took offence. If the answer is yes, then I suggest you ask Mr Woolerton to apologise so we can move on. If he did not take offence, then there is no issue and we should move on.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ann Hartley): Thank you, Mr Tisch. I have already asked the member that and, certainly, he has indicated that he did take offence. I have dealt with that, as I said to Mr Woolerton. Mr Woolerton was just in the process of standing up to continue his speech and indicate how he saw the matter.
R DOUG WOOLERTON: Indeed I was. I was just going to say I am sorry if anybody took offence at my pronunciation. I apologise for that. In fact, very often people say I do not even pronounce my own name properly, and often people think I am of Australian extraction. Unfortunately I do not pronounce some words properly but, as my colleague Brian Donnelly said, if Te Ururoa Flavell allowed us to use his nickname “Jimbo”, I might be much better off.
But I was in the process—I have almost forgotten now—of saying that it is unfortunate if every time we seek to make a small change to anything around the Treaty, either we are accused of being racist or our intentions are misinterpreted. It saddens me that that is the case, because what we have been accused of is certainly not our intention in this bill. The intention in this bill is to make things clearer—
Hon Maurice Williamson: This member should have been a Minister.
R DOUG WOOLERTON: Absolutely! The intention is to make things clearer where the law mentions the Treaty of Waitangi, and to give clarity to the law. I am in no way offended when Mr Finlayson of the National Party says that the bill in my name needs a bit of tidying up. He has undertaken—
Hon Tau Henare: Needs a bit! You need to rewrite it!
R DOUG WOOLERTON: I am pleased that Mr Finlayson is a member of the Justice and Electoral Committee, because the task would be way, way beyond the capabilities of Mr Tau Henare if we were unfortunate enough to have him in that select committee. I have total confidence that Mr Finlayson will be able to tidy up the bill in the manner he has suggested. I do not take offence at that. I take that as constructive criticism, which I am sure is the way it was meant.
It is good to see the support for my bill in the House. I look forward to the debate on it in the select committee, and I want to repeat, for about the fourth time, that it is not the intention of this bill or of New Zealand First to do away with the clauses of the Treaty of Waitangi. We just want to get rid of one word: “principles”.
A party vote was called for on the question,
That the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi Deletion Bill be now read a first time
||New Zealand Labour 50; New Zealand National 48; New Zealand First 7; United Future 3; ACT New Zealand 2; Progressive 1.
||Green Party 6; Māori Party 4.
|Bill read a first time.
referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee.referred to Justice and Electoral Committee