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Letter to The Editor
from THE AUSTRALIAN
The New Zealand parliament, in its wisdom, decided to enshrine the “principles” of the treaty of the 1840 Waitangi into legislation. This has led to endless litigation between Maoris and the government, and endless payments by the New Zealand taxpayer to Maoris to compensate them for apparent “breaches” of the treaty. Such payments have not improved the lot of ordinary suburban Maoris one iota.
Defining the “principles” of the treaty has led to endless interpretations and permutations, most never envisaged by the original signatories. Judicial activism has been kept alive and well with attempts to satisfy claimants and quests to define and apply the “principles” of the treaty to an ever-increasing list of injustices suffered by Maori at the hands of white settlers and their descendants. The only winners have been lawyers and a select few Maori elite to have received treaty settlements.
Far better for all Australians to simply get on with their lives and take advantage of what the country has to offer. A treaty will not be the magic bullet for those living in impoverished, remote areas offering no employment opportunities, and it will not help children being brought up in dysfunctional households, nor will it keep people out of prison who make free choices as to the crimes they commit. Most important, a treaty will divide Australia on race. Do we really want to go there?
MH, Northwood, Vic