He Puapua report: Judith Collins calls on Government to lay out its implementation plan for report

Judith Collins is calling on the Government to have an "adult conversation" and fully lay out its plans when it comes to implementing the He Puapua report.

The Government commissioned the report after the then-National Government in 2010 signed up to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and in 2019 a working group was asked to consider how Aotearoa could give effect to that commitment.

The National Party leader has taken aim at the Government over He Puapua on how to uphold the rights of tangata whenua and believes there needs to be an "adult conversation" about what plans will be made.

Speaking to The Hui on Monday, Collins said she believes He Puapua is "quite a radical interpretation" of the Treaty of Waitangi.

"It does contain elements in it and recommendations that have clearly been undertaken by some of the Government agencies and ministries - all without discussing it with the wider New Zealand population," she says.

"We are not three-year-olds, we need to be able to have these discussions."

Collins has been accused of playing the race card, using terms such as segregation and racist separatism to describe the new proposed Māori Health Authority - one of the Māori kaupapa put forward in He Puapua.

She said she uses these words "very carefully and clearly" because she thinks it's important New Zealanders know what the Government has in store for them.

"We've only had an election a matter of months ago and the Government did not ever mention He Puapua or any of the recommendations in it. They did not ask the New Zealand population to sign up to it and they didn't actually have the conversations," Collins said.

"If you look at He Puapua, there was one particular recommendation that Jacinda Ardern and the Government doesn't seem to want to follow and that is to have a conversation with New Zealanders about what these recommendations are, what they mean, where the future lies for New Zealand, and that's what I'm saying."

He Puapua report: Judith Collins calls on Government to lay out its implementation plan for report
Photo credit: Newshub.

Collins told National Party supporters in a speech over the weekend she had been leaked a copy of draft recommendations from a recent hui where the Department of Conservation (DOC) discussed how to better reflect the Treaty of Waitangi's principles in its policies.

The draft document recommends transferring the DOC estate to Māori. 

Collins said she believes most New Zealanders would accept the Treaty of Waitangi as an "extremely important" part of the constitution, but would "question the interpretation that's being applied" by the Government. 

"And it's being applied by stealth," she told Magic Talk earlier on Monday. 

"My view is there needs to be a national conversation on this rather than just Government agencies, with the obvious approval of the Prime Minister, going ahead and basically devolving all the things that we would be looking at as being owned by the New Zealand public, like the DOC land, for instance. 

"We already have Treaty settlements. We already have these to address the breaching of the Treaty by the Crown back in the 1860s. These are already being done now and almost completed. There's only a few more to go. 

"This is an entirely new interpretation and a radical interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi and it is one that every New Zealander deserves to have their say on."

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson has prepared a Cabinet paper outlining a possible Government response to the He Puapua report recommendations. 

The Government has never released the full report publicly and, because it's never been to Cabinet, it hasn't agreed a position on it. Collins said she was leaked an un-redacted copy of the report by someone concerned about the recommendations. 

Ardern said in Parliament last week the report wasn't released to the public over concerns it could be misconstrued as Government policy.

The Hui is made with support from Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air.

He Puapua report: Judith Collins calls on Government to lay out its implementation plan for report