As a non-Maori citizen of this nation I want to speak about Treaty matters and respond to the opinions of those who speak from the Maori perspective.
Because these matters are right up front in our society, the media is constantly reporting the Maori viewpoint but not pursuing how the other 85 per cent are feeling, thinking, responding. One must ask, why?
Are we lethargic, or are we not being encouraged to participate, or is it because we will be instantly labelled racist if we say anything, at all? I suspect this is the case.
The big problem is the discussion is always between Maori and the Crown/Government, pursued that way by both parties. The truth is, it is the people of New Zealand now who pay for the whole process, who give their goodwill for this redress of historical injustices, who will continue to pay as the costs for servicing the leases/rents needed to be paid in perpetuity for the public buildings such as hospitals, court houses, schools and universities which sit on land returned in the settlement process.
This results in rising costs or the reduction in these essential services that all of us use.
The working taxpayers are footing the bill. Not the Government or the Crown. If the bill so far has reached the $16 billion quoted, that's one helluva lot of redress and there is a long way to go yet. In the document Ngapuhi Speaks, there are "recommendations to the people of Aotearoa/New Zealand". These begin with: "In view of the goodwill shown by Maori towards non-Maori in Te Tiriti o Waitangi ... "
Yes we can recognise that, but what about a return recognition of the goodwill of current non-Maori now? My mother would say, "That's what sticks in the gullet."
Human history, over centuries, has led to tribal wars, religious wars, territorial wars, conquerors and the conquered, with treaties and redress not considered. While, as evidenced in Ngapuhi Speaks, there was considerable cynicism from both parties around the intent of the Treaty/Te Tiriti at the time, 175 years on can we not all practise goodwill?
Reading further into the "recommendations to the people of Aotearoa/New Zealand; to the media; to Elizabeth II, Queen of England", for me is so disheartening. There are no offers of anything into the future, from Ngapuhi to the non-Maori New Zealanders.
All responsibility for the "mutually beneficial relationships" into the future lies with non-Maori taking on the conditions Ngapuhi detail.
If Ngapuhi never ceded sovereignty, then they deny the functions of the Crown/ Government over the past 175 years. This must result in a mistake by the Government to have supplied services over those years. And taking taxes from these people. Does this mean there is a right to claw back all the costs of the education, health, welfare services etc mandated and supplied to them as equal citizens under the Crown? And to pay back any taxes collected from them?
The unbalanced rhetoric of Hone Harawira continues to just insult us all. I have read a copy of Ngapuhi Speaks. It is quite a substantial document, well researched. But it is history we New Zealanders now, under a tried and true justice system, are trying to address.
I would sincerely hope that any future constitution would address the needs of all New Zealanders to live in harmony and enjoy the fruits of all endeavours, equally, but I feel little confidence in that hope.