Deletion of Principles of Treaty of Waitangi Act PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steven Young   
Monday, 13 August 2007

 

 

NOTES FOR ORAL SUBMISSION TO

JUSTICE AND ELECTORAL COMMITTEE

COMMITTEE ROOM 2

BOWEN HOUSE

WELLINGTON

 

28 JUNE 2007

 

 

Mr Chairman,

 

I would like to thank the committee for this opportunity to make an oral submission on the Bill.

 

Firstly I would like to apologise for our National President Mr Kai Luey not being present to make these oral submissions himself.

 

My name is Steven Young, and I am the National vice-President of the New Zealand Chinese Association.

 

The New Zealand Chinese Association was incorporated in 1935.

 

The Association has a national executive and 13 branches active throughout the country.

 

Because of distance and work commitments, not every member who would like to support this submission could attend today. However I would like to introduce:

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The members of the New Zealand Chinese Association and its branches, are by and large, members the long-established Chinese community who have been here, over several generations, since the late 1880s or earlier.

 

It also includes newer migrant who has here “only” 35 years or so.

 

Its members have become well-integrated into New Zealand society and work and interact with the wider community on a daily basis, and understand the issues of the day at least as well as the general community.

 

As a group of New Zealanders we have as large a stake in the future of New Zealand as anyone else.

 

As a previously marginalised community in what was a mono-cultural New Zealand society, we understand and share the concerns of the Maori community who were once also marginalised.

 

We support the Maori people in their struggle for redress for the injustices of the past.

 

And we accept their right to be recognised as the original people of this land.

We also recognise their special constitutional position as guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi.

 

The Bill seeks to delete the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi from legislation on the grounds that these Principles are undefined or ill-defined, and therefore possibly open to expansion.

 

We oppose this Bill because its basic premise is incorrect.

 

In our written submission we have expanded on our reasoning.

 

Achieving consensus from our community to allow us to formally register our opposition to this Bill has not been an easy task.

 

It is fair to say that the decision was not without some dissent and disquiet.

 

It is the hope of our community, as in the wider community, that the outstanding Treaty claims for past injustices will be heard and settled expeditiously. 

 

We do not believe that deleting the Principles of the Treaty from existing legislation will be helpful in this regard and we have expanded on our reasoning in our written submission.

 

Some claims, such as WAI 262, are rather broader and are really a debate on the future of New Zealand.

 

A one of the ethnic communities which now make up a large and increasing proportion of New Zealand’s overall community, we are very keen to contribute to the national conversation regarding the future nature and composition of New Zealand.

 

To date that debate has been largely confined to the “Treaty Partners” the Crown and the Maori people.

 

It is said that the Crown represents all non-Maori New Zealanders. 

 

This is accepted where the subject matter is redress of past injustices.

 

However where the debate on the Treaty concerns the future of New Zealand there is a legitimate role for all groups, including the “ethnic sector,” to contribute.

 

Many ethnic groups do not feel that this has been recognised.  We feel unwelcome and indeed gagged in relation to any discussion in which the Treaty is mentioned.

 

It is important that we be allowed a more active role in the national conversation, particularly where the Treaty intersects with New Zealand’s multi-cultural future.

 

It is in the interest of everyone to keep working in a process that advances social justice and equity.

 

END

 

2 July 2007

Meipara (Justice and Electoral Committee office) advises that they can probably transcribe after committee meets again 19 July 2007.

 

 



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