Friday, August 5, 2011

reviewing what

I agree with Annette Sykes on the so called 'constitutional review' that it is actually an 'institutional review'. We can't deal with the issues unless we actually look at them and the terms of reference directs the panel in certain directions (even though they argue that this hasn't happened) - they may come up with great recommendations  but under this government, as evidence has shown, that will be it. Meanwhile our situation gets worse - how bad? Check this out.

Anyway back to Annette Sykes
"The only issues that will be explored by this panel will be what the term of office should be for the Government, the size of the electorates and whether or not there should be more Treaty provisions within future legislation. The parameters of the review stipulate that rather than recognising the Treaty of Waitangi as this country's constitution, the Crown would much rather tinker with what already exists, a system that was forced upon our people and gives Maori no voice as was envisaged under the Treaty. Our people will have certain expectations that will not be met due to the 'institutional' nature of the review".
The voices will be heard but will they be listened to - they certainly weren't when they changed the Foreshore and Seabed Act. It will be difficult for the members of the review to hear all the input, offer their recommendations - to see them fall by the wayside as the Government continues on it's merry way. 
Mr English says he hopes many Maori who have strong constitutional views take the opportunity to air them because often those types of discussions are held between the Crown and Maori.
That is a good point - that these discussions are held between the Crown and Māori - but which Māori, and do they represent the wide variety of views that Māori have. Luckily there is also another process occuring where the people can really give their views and have them heard, as Annette explains
"I would much rather our people engage with the Independent Constitutional Working Group - Aotearoa Matike Mai, being led by the most prominent Maori expert on constitutional matters, Moana Jackson. That process is Maori-led and will be able to fully explore the true potential of the Treaty of Waitangi as our country's constitution. MANA will encourage people to participate in hui that will be held around the country by the Independent Constitutional Working Group, rather than being disappointed because of the limitations of the Crown's process".
O'Sullivan (2003) in 'Beyond Biculturalism: The politics of an indigenous minority' sums it up well for me
"The absence of self determination is the foundational cause of resource alienation and collective political and economic marginalisation."... "Self determination challenges the systemic and ideological foundation of post-colonial notions of sovereignty and government. It aims to decolonise the indigenous relational status to the nation state. it seeks an equality that can only be achieved by the recognition of group rights and it requires the withdrawal of the state from domains in which it would prefer to intrude."

We need a constitutional review and we need it to be focus on the real issues. The maori party may claim another win for them in getting the review underway but it is a hollow victory and they know it.

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