Tuesday, December 05, 2023


When this government came to power, it did so on an explicitly white supremacist platform. Undermining the Waitangi Tribunal, removing Māori representation in local government, over-riding the courts which had tried to make their foreshore and seabed legislation work, eradicating te reo from public life, and ultimately trying to repudiate Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This agenda is highly controversial, to say the least, and this morning it resulted in the expected pushback, with nationwide protests against the racist government. They were organised at short notice, but a respectable size for all that, and the message was clear: if the government continues with its racist agenda, there will be more.

Meanwhile, in parliament there was pushback of a different sort, with te Pāti Māori MPs swearing their own oath first before doing the legally-required one. Its worth comparing the two. Here's what Tākuta Ferris went for (other te Pāti Māori MPs used similar language):

I, Takuta Ferris, swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to our mokopuna according to tikanga Māori. I will perform my functions and duties and exercise my powers in accordance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
And here's the legal oath of allegiance, set out in unmodernised 70-year old legislation - which is itself cribbed from legislation 150 years old:
I, [specify], swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her [or His] Majesty [specify the name of the reigning Sovereign, as thus: Queen Elizabeth the Second], Her [or His] heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.
One of these sounds a hell of a lot more like modern Aotearoa and a hell of a lot more in tune with kiwi values than the other, and it wasn't the one full of archaic feudal bullshit. And while many people would prefer an affirmation with references to other parts of the constitution, its still likely to look a hell of a lot more like Ferris' than the legal one. Which tells us just how archaic and out-of-date key parts of our legislative framework are. Its long past time we changed them.