“It’s time for Labour to lift the veil on He Puapua and tell New Zealanders what its plans are on co-governance”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Answers to written questions show Māori Development Willie Jackson has been meeting with a new Declaration Governance Group and independent legal experts, along with National Māori Organisations, to flesh out his plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“The least he could do is tell us which individuals are trying to shape the constitutional future of our country. Even better, he could talk to ordinary New Zealanders about his plans. Jacinda Ardern says we will be consulted later in the year, but by then it will be too late. We deserve input now.

“The Prime Minister confirmed a week ago that a Cabinet Committee was about to consider He Puapua. The next step would be for the document to go to a full Cabinet meeting today. It’s time for Jacinda Ardern and Willie Jackson to be clear about the Government’s intentions around co-governance.

“If Jacinda wants to continue down the path of co-governance, she needs to make her case to the people.

“ACT has called for a referendum so we can have meaningful debate and all New Zealanders can have their say.

“No society in history has succeeded by having different political rights based on birth. Many New Zealanders came here to escape class, caste and apartheid.

“All of the good political movements of the past four hundred years have been about ending discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex and sexuality to treat each person with the same dignity.

“The effect of the referendum would be to flip the debate on our constitutional future.

“Over the past 40 years, the courts and the Waitangi Tribunal have quietly made co-governance our unquestioned and unquestionable destiny.

“ACT says every child born in New Zealand, and every legal immigrant, has the same rights. Nobody should get an extra say because of who their great grandparents were. Nobody should be treated differently because of who they are.”

ACT has launched a petition that can be found at www.act.org.nz/treaty