Thursday, February 23, 2006

Treaty Principles Bill Defeated

Rodney Hide's Treaty of Waitangi (Principles) Bill has failed its first reading, with only National voting for it. Good. While I have some sympathy for a legislative definition, Rodney's preferred principles (sovereignty, protection of property rights, and equality before the law) were far too narrow, and his attempt to unilaterally impose them far too divisive. I would rather that any attempt at legislative definition were conducted in full consultation with Maori, and through some mechanism such as a Royal Commission, rather than the overtly partisan process of Parliament. Alternatively, those who complain constantly about how the principles are "undefined" could actually do some fucking reading. Te Puni Kokiri has an excellent guide to The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi as expressed by the Courts and the Waitangi Tribunal [PDF], and the Waitangi Tribunal also has their own document on The Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi [PDF]. These documents are not difficult to find (in fact, they're linked to from the first hit on Google for the obvious search), and I'm sure people like Rodney would find them most informative.

With this bill out of the way and Sue Bradford's Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill sent to committee, there'll be a ballot tomorrow to draw two replacements. Some of the possible candidates can be reviewed from here.