Local Government Minister's Dangerous Mistruths In 'Three Waters' Interview

In an astonishing and dangerous interview on Q+A on Sunday Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty stated his justification for continuing to include co-governance in the ‘Three Waters’ reform, is because “the treaty recognises that Maori have special rights in water in particular…it’s been tested in the courts and found to be New Zealand law.”

It’s astonishing not only because he stated that mistruth, but because Jack Tame didn’t question him on it’s validity.

The fact is it has never been tested in court and there is no law. If it was, then why did Minister David Parker leave those Maori property rights out of Labour's own RMA reform legislation?

What’s worse still, were his comments that there are “provisions in our laws around the treaty that aren’t democratic….There are provisions that we have in this country that wouldn’t stand up to a purely academic democratic framework, but that’s not how we work in New Zealand.”

The cavalier nature of McAnaulty delivering that statement about Labour’s plans for our democracy should be of serious concern to all New Zealanders.

The likes of McAnulty and Willie Jackson’s anti democratic claims of legal precedence for special Maori rights under co-governance, base their argument on the Treaty being a partnership.

They have never been able to explain the origins and historical foundation for their claims.

The fact is there is no legal precedence.

The moment the Court of Appeal in the 1987 ‘Lands Case’ handed down its judgement, certain Maori, having protested for years that the ‘Treaty is a fraud’, all of a sudden started arguing that the Treaty was a partnership.

Partnership in a constitutional and legal sense was never ever part of that 1987 case. But it’s on the deliberate misconstruction of that case that claims have been made over, and over, and over again.

The fact that their claims would have required the Court of Appeal in 1987 to ignore the words and meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi is flippantly dismissed.

In the Treaty of Waitangi governance was conferred on the Crown.

The tribal leaders ceded, conceded or yielded government to the Queen.

The rule of law is enshrined in the Treaty by reason of the Treaty’s promise of equality - and in addition equality under the law is a basic element of the rule of law.

And that means policies, like co-governance and 'Three Waters', that create inequalities under the law are repugnant to the rule of law.