David Seymour says ACT's Bill on Treaty of Waitangi will 'increase mana'

  • 25/11/2023

Despite not getting a referendum over the line, the ACT Party reached a deal with National and NZ First to get a Bill on the principles on the Treaty of Waitangi to the first reading.

It was a compromise on a proposed referendum on the matter, with incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon saying before the election a public vote on such a matter would be "divisive and not helpful". 

Joining Newshub Nation on Saturday, ACT leader and incoming Regulation Minister David Seymour admitted coalition partners National and NZ First were sceptical of the referendum.

He said the compromise was a law be drafted, debated in Parliament and sent to a Select Committee.

That would "allow people to have a say about our Treaty principles", Seymour added.

He suspected "people are I actually going to really welcome that conversation", he said.

"It's going to be a really positive thing," Seymour told Newshub Nation.

"People who are out there saying, 'This is all terrible - we're not allowed to have that debate'… Hang on a minute, debating the principles of the Treaty actually increases the mana of the Treaty because we're finally talking about it democratically."

And he believed that was something that had never been done.

"It's all been decided in backrooms and in the courts; the Waitangi Tribunal and the public service," Seymour said.

"I just suspect that, after we go through that process, the other parties might just change their mind and decide it's a good thing they want - or they might not."

Nonetheless, he told host Rebecca Wright getting the Bill to the first stage was "tremendous progress".

"It's an absolutely critical debate about what our founding document means to us in modern times that has to happen."

Watch the full video for more.

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