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Ian Wishart

Ian Wishart is a journalist, publisher, and the editor of Investigate magazine. Ian is also the author of 'The Great Divide' which sheds significant new light on our history and the Treaty debate.

Why the Waitangi Tribunal is lying to Maori

There comes a time in any society dominated by ruling classes when someone from the peasantry has to stand up and ask the age-old question: “why is the Emperor wearing no clothes?”

That time, in New Zealand’s case, is now.

For the past 40 years, New Zealanders both Maori and Pakeha have been backseat spectators as the Treaty of Waitangi has gradually been re-written, re-interpreted and ultimately tortured to become something it never was, and two recent Waitangi Tribunal rulings show it’s time to blow the whistle before players get hurt.

Two weeks ago, the Tribunal issued a ruling, praised by some radio commentators, that claimed Maori had never given up sovereignty to the British Crown. Today, the Tribunal has issued a 618 page ruling attempting to enforce that new Maori ‘sovereignty’ by suggesting Parliament has no power to change laws relating to Maori and that such issues must be decided by Maori.

Both of these rulings are demonstrably wrong – not because I say so, but because Maori who ratified the Treaty of Waitangi back in the 1800s say so in their own words.

Both rulings hinge on the same premise: that Maori never ceded sovereignty to the Crown. Clearly that is the view that now dominates the Waitangi Tribunal’s thinking, so the question remains, is it right?

Some commentators argue that because the Waitangi Tribunal has the sole ‘power’ in New Zealand to interpret the Treaty, that means the claims must be right; the only body in New Zealand with authority to make a ruling has made its ruling, so live with it! The people who follow that logic are however, with respect, displaying intellect as shallow as a birdbath. Although parliament has the power to pass a law ordering the death of all blond, blue-eyed babies at birth, having the power to issue an edict does not by definition make the edict right or even sustainable in logic. Adolf Hitler issued lots of edicts that were lawful in their time, even if factually wrong.

And so it is with the Waitangi Tribunal. It might have the power to push the government around but it does not have the power to push the people of New Zealand around. If what the Waitangi tribunal is saying is false, the Tribunal should be disbanded pending an inquiry into philosophical and scholarly corruption of the unit in my view.

I can prove the Waitangi Tribunal is wrong when it says Maori never gave up sovereignty over New Zealand. In fact, not only ‘can’ I prove it, I already have.......

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