Act Party - rewrites Te Tiriti interpretation

The Act Party is calling for a referendum on co-governance arrangements with Māori at the next election and has already written a new interpretation of Te Tiriti which they want turned into law.

Mr Seymour told The Hui the current interpretation "results in abandonment of liberal democracy and creates a New Zealand that does not have a place for all."

But despite a referendum which would test Māori co-governance support, Act's leader said a number of current co-governance arrangements could stay under the new law, including Waikato, Ngāi Tahu, Tūhoe and Whanganui iwi arrangements.

Asked how some relationships would stay while others would go, Mr Seymour explained he wouldn't reverse those settlements because those assets were part of Treaty redress.  He added "you could make the argument that actually those assets should have been returned in full".

Waikato iwi responds

Waikato leader Rahui Papa welcomed that sentiment saying a full settlement for his iwi would mean their asset base would be equivalent to 28 percent of the country's GDP.

When the Crown invaded Waikato in 1865 it confiscated 1.3 million acres of land and Mr Papa welcomed Seymour's support of the return in full. He said based on a full settlement, the Waikato River would be returned and rather than a co-governance arrangement, the tribe would have full unitary control. 

Instead, the Waikato iwi negotiations with the Crown in 1995 resulted in a settlement which was the best of a bad situation.

Co-governance boards under threat

The co-governance arrangements that are under threat are arrangements such as the boards of Crown Research Institutes, State owned enterprises and the management of healthcare.

But Rahui Papa said the Act Party's interpretation of Te Tiriti misses out Articles Two and Three of Te Tiriti which guarantees Māori participation in the social sector.

Act Party leader David Seymour argued The Treaty Principles Act says everybody in NZ has the same political rights and duties. 

Mr Seymour delivered his speech to the Milford Rotary club last week.  The Act Party which usually stands for tax and the economy, delivered a speech focused specifically on the Treaty and Māori.  In the speech there was no mention of tax or inflation but 54 references to Te Tiriti and Māori.