< November 2018 newsletter

Labour’s policy on so-called ‘partnership’ between Crown and Maori

Despite NZ First scuppering the inclusion of the word "partnership" in the new Maori Crown agency's name – it is still used in the description of what the new agency will do. Crown-Maori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis said the new agency, Te Arawhiti, would help facilitate the next step in the Treaty relationship, moving beyond the settlement of Treaty grievances into "what it means to work together in partnerships".

The Settlements Commitment Unit states on its website:

“The nature of the Treaty partnership between the Crown and Māori is evolving and there are opportunities for collaboration and innovation over time.”


“Over time both the Crown and iwi will be able to increasingly focus on the question of what it means to be a Treaty partner. This will include further improving how iwi can effectively contribute to policy development and the setting of the government’s priorities”.

The constitutional implications of this policy are enormous - yet this has barely made a ripple in the media. The Point of Order blog is an exception. (Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy, launched earlier this year by a small team of veteran newspaper reporters). It has recently posted a couple of perceptive commentaries on the issue of Treaty partnership and co-governance. See: ‘Some Partnership Proposals need puncturing………’


‘We await answers from Peters and Davis to questions about Treaty partnership and co-governance’

It is obvious Government policy is raising expectations among iwi and Maori organizations that they will wield more power over Government policy. According to a news report on Maori Television,  Moana Jackson (purportedly a Maōri intellectual property expert), believes a complete reset of approach is required. He told delegates at the inaugural Māori intellectual, cultural and property rights conference, held in Nelson during September:

“The Treaty relationship doesn’t talk about consultation. Treaty parties don’t consult- they negotiate, they reach agreement and as long as the Crown is wedded to the idea ‘oh, we’re fulfilling our Treaty obligations if we consult with Māori' then they’re beginning again from the wrong place.”

"So, that’s one of those fundamental mind-shifts that has to happen and I’m not sure that the government has got there yet. It still believes it has that superior right to make the final decision."

Meanwhile, another iwi group is busy pushing for “a real commitment and partnership between central and local government, and iwi”. The National Iwi Chairs Forum met last week in Dunedin. One key focus of the meeting was partnership between iwi and the Crown, including the development of a Treaty Partnership Framework to discuss with the Crown. Lisa Tumahai, the chairwoman of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, who hosted the event, wrote in an opinion piece published in the Otago Daily Times:

“Partnership is the key. It is a key principle espoused by the Treaty of Waitangi, and yet every Treaty settlement that has been negotiated since 1840 has acknowledged the Crown's failure to act accordingly.

 See Tumahai’s opinion piece ‘True partnership between iwi and Crown needed’ in full HERE.

And unsurprisingly, another key focus of the hui was freshwater management and ownership.

The Iwi Chairs Forum is the same crowd that promoted and then supported Matike Mai Aotearoa – the working group on constitutional transformation. Their radical report, which essentially promotes a co-governance model for the governance of New Zealand, is available HERE.

Go back to the November 2018 newsletter


Human Rights Commission advances political agenda of Iwi Chairs Forum

The Human Rights Commission and the National Iwi Chairs Forum* are working together on a campaign to transition from New Zealand's existing democratic government system to a radical race-based constitution. Continue reading

'Others' not consulted on Declaration Plan

Photo: Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, Jacinda Ardern, Kelvin Davis and David Parker at the 2018 National Iwi Chairs Forum. Alarm bells are ringing after Māori leaders expressed monumental ambitions during initial discussions with the Government about how to recognise the highly controversial United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson, says those discussions will shape the Government’s Declaration plan.  Continue reading

LGNZ's Campaign to Abolish the Poll Provision

Local Government NZ (LGNZ) is campaigning vigorously to abolish the sections the Local Electoral Act 2001 which relate to the rules for binding citizens initiated polls concerning the establishment of Maori wards. The members of National Council of LGNZ want its members to be able to impose Maori wards unchecked - thereby depriving members of local communities of an individual democratic right expressly written into law. For a comprehensive and well researched essay on this issue, please click HERE. This essay, authored by Michael Coote - a freelance writer and financial journalist - was published on the NZCPR website on 22nd April. Michael explains what LGNZ is seeking, and the reasons why. Continue reading

Government moving beyond settlement of treaty grievances – to partnership

Last year, the Government created a new agency - 'Māori Crown relations'. At the launch, Minister Kelvin Davis, announced that "The agency…will help facilitate the next step in the Treaty relationship – moving beyond the settlement of treaty grievances into what it means to work together in partnerships." Continue reading

Update on the Crown-Maori Relations Portfolio

The Minister for Crown-Maori Relations is due to report back to the Cabinet Crown-Maori Relations Committee this month, with a detailed guide for Ministers and agencies on an engagement model. This is following hui held around the country through April and May, seeking feedback on how to strengthen the relationship between the Crown and Maori. Continue reading

The Crown-Maori Relationship – Demands A Threat To Democracy

The Prime Minister has established a new Crown/Māori Relations portfolio, “to focus on the health of the Crown/Māori relationship now and over time”.  The Minister for Crown-Maori relations – Kelvin Davis – has been touring the country, seeking advice on what such a relationship should be post Treaty Settlements.  Throughout this consultation process the general public have been side lined, with most meetings held with the Maori community. Continue reading

Government announces new Māori-Crown Relations Agency

According to a NZ Herald report, the ‘Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti’ agency will help facilitate the next step in the Treaty relationship – moving beyond the settlement of treaty grievances into what it means to work together in partnerships. It will also provide leadership across the public sector on other matters including the constitutional and institutional arrangements supporting partnerships between the Crown and Māori.   Continue reading

'Point of Order' goes into bat for democracy

Following the Hasting District Council’s decision to appoint Māori representatives with speaking and voting rights to its four standing committees, (thereby sparing them the need to campaign for election), Victoria University of Wellington published an article on its website headed Academics commend Hastings District Council for inclusive, effective decision-making. Continue reading