The Māori Party has launched a far-reaching Treaty policy calling for a separate Māori parliament similar to the devolved parliaments of Scotland and Wales.
The party's centrepiece policy, launched at Waitangi yesterday by co-leaders John Tamihere and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, also calls for Waitangi Tribunal recommendations to be made binding and all Māori to be on the Māori electoral roll.
About 50 people attended the launch event, a short distance from where the Treaty was signed in 1840. The launch was also livestreamed.
President Che Wilson said the party had liberated its voice and refreshed itself after three years out of Parliament.
While some of the party's policies seemed radical, the same was said a few decades ago about ideas that were now fully normalised.
"Look at kohanga reo. That was radical 30 years ago, it was out of this world. People said, 'How dare those Māoris even think they can teach that language?', whereas now it's expected," Wilson said.
"It's no different with our launch. It's a chance to put a peg in the ground. We can be like Britain. They have a Scottish Parliament, a Welsh Parliament. We can do it as well."
The party also wanted all Māori to be enrolled on the Māori electoral roll. That would be a "game changer" because it would mean a guaranteed 15 seats for Māori in Parliament.
Tamihere said his party would push for parity between all iwi – currently Treaty settlement relativity clauses apply only to Ngai Tau and Waikato-Tainui – and an end to settlements based on big iwi groupings.
He also said Waitangi Tribunal findings should be binding on the Crown because its recommendations were regularly ignored, for example on water rights.
"It's the only form of justice in this country where findings go nowhere. If the majority culture doesn't like the justice system we've evolved together they just deny it by saying, 'It's a recommendation'. It seems bizarre doesn't it?"
One immediate change he wanted was an amendment to the Electoral Act allowing Māori to choose their roll any time they voted, instead of locking them in to the Māori or general roll for six years at a time. That rule had cost 17,000 Māori a voice at the last election, he said.
It was up to Māori to liberate themselves and believe they were worthy, Tamihere said.
Rawiri Waititi, the party's Waiariki candidate, said the policy would "turn heads" and "make rednecks' heads fall off".
He urged the youngsters at the launch, from Kerikeri youth group Mai Lyfe, to never let anyone treat them as second-class citizens in their own land.
Guest speaker at the launch was former Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, who famously split from the Māori Party in 2011 before setting up the Mana Movement.
On Tuesday, however, he threw his full weight behind his former rivals.
Harawira said the Māori Party was the only party in the upcoming election that represented the voice of Māori, and the only one which understood Māori suffering and aspirations.
"Nobody but us can deliver for us," he said.
The party's candidate in Te Tai Tokerau is Mariameno Kapa-Kingi, who lives in Whangārei and is of Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa and Ngāpuhi descent.