United Nations Declaration: Judith Collins at odds with Māori wing Kahurangi National over consultation on indigenous rights

Judith Collins appears to be at odds with National's Māori wing after she questioned why the wider public is not included in the first consultation on indigenous rights. 

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson announced on Thursday the next steps in developing a national plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

It comes after months of controversy sparked by National and ACT over He Puapua, a Government report commissioned in 2019 that sets out a roadmap to co-governance between the Crown and Māori by 2040. 

Paradoxically, the report was commissioned as a response to the former National-led Government signing New Zealand up in 2010 to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The Government will work through a two-step process, which will begin with targeted engagement over the next few months with iwi and Māori organisations on how they wish to be involved. This will be followed by wider public consultation.

Collins, who has accused the Government of a "separatism by stealth" agenda over He Puapua, questioned on Twitter why Māori will be consulted before the wider public. 

"So why is the wider New Zealand public not included in the first consultation?" she wrote. 

Kahurangi National - the party's Māori wing, which describes itself as the "voice for Māori within Te Rōpū Nāhinara o Aotearoa" - responded to Collins' tweet with a link to a Waatea News article about Māori wanting to be consulted before being expected to sign up to things. 

"Might be a good start as to why?" the Twitter account of Kahurangi National responded to Collins, with a link to the article. 

The Waatea News article quoted Auckland Council's Māori portfolio head Angela Dalton, who said: "One thing we keep getting told by Māori is 'do not come to us once you have developed your plans and then ask us to participate or consult'."

The same Kahurangi National Twitter page tweeted: "Wonder why? Must be Māori privilege at the expense of others..."

Collins says she wants the consultation extended to all Kiwis, despite Jackson confirming that the wider public will be consulted with in 2022. 

"I challenge Minister Jackson to extend his consultation on these matters to all New Zealanders so this can be something all New Zealanders contribute to," Collins said. "By making this a matter for Māori alone, he is fostering more division."

National leader Judith Collins and deputy leader Dr Shane Shane Reti.
National leader Judith Collins and deputy leader Dr Shane Shane Reti. Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

ACT leader David Seymour also questioned the consultation approach.

"The Government is taking the whole country on the path to being an ethno-state, not just the select Māori leaders it's chosen to consult on its implementation of He Puapua," he said. "If there's to be a constitutional conversation, everybody deserves to be part of it. "

But Seymour criticised National for "blindsiding" ACT by signing up to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples when the parties were in Government. 

"ACT was not told under the 'no surprises' policy that National was doing this. National was in bed with the Māori Party and ACT was blindsided and vehemently opposed it," he said. 

"If ACT hadn't brought this issue to Parliament in April and questioned Jacinda Ardern about it, nobody would know about He Puapua. If National hadn't blindsided ACT by signing up... we wouldn't be here today."

Collins says her vision for New Zealand is "moving together towards a more prosperous future" with "all 200+ ethnicities who call New Zealand home". 

"We acknowledge the wrongs of the past must be righted and believe that the best way for the Government to address inequality is to address the issues themselves," she said. 

"That means getting houses built, ensuring equal access to health care, education, and employment, and ensuring access to rehabilitation to end cycles of crime and violence."