Why is our constitution being rewritten?



Be very, very afraid! Something is happening behind closed doors that very few know about but will affect all the people of New Zealand; a pro-Maori Advisory Panel and their Maori Activist mates are reviewing our Constitution.

A brief report by Ross Baker, Chairman of the One New Zealand Foundation Inc.


Since the National Party’s Relationship Accord and Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Maori Party, the handpicked pro-Maori Constitution Advisory Panel, which had its’ first meeting in August 2011, has met with many Maori and pro-Maori groups and organisations, but to our knowledge not one group that is opposed to a new constitution. A quick read shows the Engagement Strategy document is set up to give special rights to iwi Maori, 15% of the population. See full copy of the ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY DOCUMENT AND PANEL’S MEETINGS TO DATE ” in right hand column.


Our present constitution dates from 1846 as first given by the British Government. The New Zealand Colonial government only accepted it, with amendments in 1852 and like many constitutions around the world our constitution has undergone many amendments and additions since. In 1947 New Zealand adopted the Statute of Westminster giving New Zealand complete autonomy in domestic as well as foreign affairs. Our constitution was repealed in 1986 but immediately reinstated with new provisions. Our Prime Minister John Key stated on the 20 April 2010 “We have a strong legal basis and constitutional framework”.


So what brought about this review of our constitution? It is all to do with the gaining of greater power for Maori. For many years activist Maori have wanted more power within Government, but this was impossible with just the Tiriti o Waitangi which plainly states one law for all. Instead Maori needed a special status within New Zealand so formed the Maori Party in 2004.


The next step in their plan was to rewrite New Zealand’s Constitution. In 2008 and 2011, the National Party gained power and John Key took on the Maori Party as a Coalition Partner. Clause 8 of the National Party’s Relationship Accord and Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Maori Party, states,


‘National and the Maori Party agree to continue to progress the review of New Zealand’s constitutional arrangements and the advisory panel established to lead public discussion on relevant issues. The advisory panel is to deliver its recommendations to the Government in September 2013’.


In 2009, inspiration came to the activist Maori when the Republic of Bolivia reviewed their Constitution and the 55% of full-blooded indigenous people decided to take back more power in their government. Hon. Pita Sharples recognised that Maori too could gain greater power by having United Nations recognition as an indigenous people and then instigating the rewriting of our constitution.


The Hon John Key, without mandate from Parliament, the other political parties or ‘the people’, allowed the Hon Pita Sharples to attend the United Nations on the 19 April 2010 and agree to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous People on behalf of the New Zealand Government. This had been refused by previous Governments, as there was no forensic evidence that Maori were an indigenous race. Labour leader Phil Goff stating, “The declaration was signed in secrecy and Dr Sharples had “sneaked off” to New York, and we were told afterwards”.


While accepting the Declaration on the 19 April 2010, the Hon Pita Sharples misled the UN by stating that, “Maori hold a distinct and special status as the indigenous people or tangata whenua of New Zealand“. The Prime Minister John Key supported this in a media release on the 20th April 2010, but stated in a letter to the ONZF in January 2012, that New Zealand does not have a definition of the indigenous people of New Zealand. Nonetheless, Maori now had the international recognition they sought without the need to authenticate with forensic fact.


A hand picked pro-Maori Constitution Advisory Panel was named by the Minister of Maori Affairs and Co Leader of the Maori Party, Hon Pita Sharples, and endorsed by the National Party Deputy Leader, Hon Bill English. Since August 2011 this pro-Maori Constitution Advisory Panel has held meetings in many centres with groups and organisations called “stakeholders“, but to our knowledge, not one group that is opposed to the proposed new constitution. It was stated in the “Engagement Strategy document” they would have an up to date website, but nothing has appeared. Fifty per-cent of the allocated time has already gone leaving only 12 months until the Panel must report to government with its recommendations, but those opposing a new Constitution have yet to be invited to give their views. There is no doubt this pro-Maori Constitution Advisory Panel has no intention of consulting them.


As if to make this hijack of our democracy even more ridiculous than it is, the Secretariat of the Constitutional Advisory Panel, also stated, “Any conversation about the Treaty must fully involve Māori, as Treaty partners”.


This flys in the face of the fundamental principle of the Tiriti O Waitangi that once signed, tangata Maori became British Subjects with the same rights and only the same rights as the people of England. All people would be under Her Majesty’s Sovereignty and Her Majesty’s Laws. The Tiriti o Waitangi does not imply in any way a “Partnership between Maori and the Crown”.


Nor should it be overlooked that it has never been proven that Maori are indigenous to New Zealand. “The traditions are quite clear on one point; where ever crew disembarked there were tangata whenua (prior inhabitants). The canoe ancestors of the 14 century merged with these tangata whenua,” Statement by Dr Ranginui Walker in the1986 New Zealand Book of Events’. Whatever the origins of the Maori, today due to generations of intermarriage most have more Pakeha ancestry than tangata Maori ancestry. A fact reflected in the diluted legal definition. “A full-blooded Maori and any descendant of.” Mr Colin Rawle expressed this very well in the Otago Daily Times, “Being Maori cannot be a state of mind if that mind is predominantly non Maori. People of predominately non-Maori ancestry who identify themselves as Maori are fooling themselves ~ and far too many others”.


These activists, representing only a very small percentage of our population and in most cases mixed ancestry, are intent on imitating the standard set by Bolivia where 55% of the population are full blood indigenous and enjoy political dominance. The Bolivian style of Constitution the activists favour will mean non-Maori could have very little, if any rights within their own country.


From reading the panel’s minutes to date, the Ministers responsible for the Consideration of Constitutional Issues cannot deny the Constitution Advisory Panel they picked is pro-Maori and must therefore be dissolved. Any genuine review of our Nation’s Constitution should naturally include representations from a full cross section of the community. Without this our Democratic/Human Rights as New Zealand Citizens are severely violated.


This review has no mandate from the general population and has not the least concern with the greater interest of New Zealanders; it is solely a Maori Party initiative to gain more power within Government. But even Prime Minister John Key is on public record as saying; New Zealand is not in any need of a review of our constitution, “We have a strong legal basis and constitutional framework”, (Hansard, Volume 662, page 10238)


Wake up New Zealand; this is happening right under your nose, just like the Principles, Partnership, Foreshore and Seabed. If you don’t take the time to stop it now, you will be no more than a visitor in your own country.


“He iwi tahi tatou – We are now one people/Nation”.


Please take the time to write to the Prime Minister, the Hon John Key and tell him you do not want a new Constitution. Ask your family, friends and work mates to do the same. We already have, “A strong legal basis and constitutional framework”.


Email the Hon John Key at, john.key@national.org.nz


Authorised by the One New Zealand Foundation Inc. www.onenzfoundation.co.nz.