Treaty the focus of special hui on constitution

By Rebecca Malcolm of the Rotorua Daily Post -

The ongoing role of the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori representation in government were two of the key issues considered at a special hui looking at New Zealand's constitution.

About 40 people turned out yesterday to the Maori community hui looking for views on the Constitution Conversation.

The hui is a result of the Government initiating a review of New Zealand's constitution and seeking public feedback.

The Constitution Advisory Panel is travelling around the country stirring up comment and debate on the constitution - including whether it should be in a single document, the role of the Bill of Rights Act and Treaty of Waitangi in the constitution and Maori representation in local and national government, among other things.

Speaking at yesterday's community hui, Dr Ranginui Walker, who is on the panel, said some of the most important issues to Maori included the role of the Treaty of Waitangi - especially after the end of settlements.

"What happens to the Treaty after the claims process?"

He said it was also important to hear Maori voices on Maori representation in both local and national government.

It was his hope that hui would encourage people on the ground to put in submissions.

"I'm hoping that you will be moved enough to do that."

Fellow panel member Bernice Mene said it was important to get as much feedback as possible. She said some issues might not appeal, and that was okay, but everyone should have their say.

Anyone can make a submission. To find out more visit the website www.ourconstitution.org.nz. Submissions can be made by post, email or online before July 1.

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