When the Clark government held a high-profile hui to review the New Zealand constitution, there was a muted undercurrent to have “group rights” [sic] accepted as superseding individual rights, and an overt attempt to incorporate the Treaty of Waitangi into a new constitution.
The attempt is now being made again under this government—under the guidance of Bill English and Pita Sharples, and with the assistance of an “expert” advisory panel. Seeking to be said “experts” are the likes of Moana Jackson and Margaret Mutu, who is on the record as seeing the constitution of Bolivia as “a future model for New Zealand.”
For the record, this is a constitution that gives special “group rights” to “indigenous” Bolivians, and gives nature “equal rights” to human beings.
Maybe not a future model for New Zealand then, we hope, but certainly a strong candidate for the world’s next famine.
Helen Clark’s constitutional conference was ultimately unsuccessful—not because attendees were opposed to the idea of group rights (an anti-concept wiping out the recognition that individuals hold rights “not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the Collective—”as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross”), but mainly because Maori themselves were opposed to tying the Treaty down as long as they weren’t tying the knots themselves. Such incorporation, said Shane Jones at the time, might “tie down the Treaty's mana as a 'sacred covenant'”; or as Ngatata Love said "I say what my tikanga is, not the law." Meaning, of course, that if law is clear and objective then witchdoctors won't be paid a fortune to give this week's interpretation of 'taonga.'
Clark was at least astute enough to realise giving the witchdoctors power to write their own constitutional ticket would be congenitally stupid, and left the constitutional question alone for the rest of her term. Key and English however, politically naive and desperate for Maori Party votes, are foolish enough to give the farm away before they’ve even realised what Sharples (and Mutu) have set their eyes on.
That vigilance, then, is going to be up to you and I.
RELATED POSTS & LINKS:
- Govt begins cross-party constitutional review – B E E H I V E (Dec. 2010)
- The Hooey From Helengrad – Peter Cresswell, F R E E R A D I C A L (2000)
- Indigenous Constitutions: Bolivia today, Aotearoa tomorrow?
– R A D I O N Z [audio]
- Cue Card Libertarianism: Constitution – N O T P C
- Preamble – Lindsay Perigo, C O N S T I T U T I O N F O R N E W F R E E L A N D
- Objective Laws - P R I N C I P L E S F O R A F R E E S O C I E T Y
- Individual Rights - A Y N R A N D L E X I C O N
- Constitution - A Y N R A N D L E X I C O N