ACT is calling on the Prime Minister to publicly reject the recommendations of a Cabinet-commissioned report which aims to give effect to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

He Puapua represents a significant and serious departure from the idea that all New Zealanders are equal before the law,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“In March 2019, Cabinet commissioned He Puapua and, after multiple requests, has finally released a heavily-redacted version of the report.

“For those who believe this report can be easily dismissed and isn’t going anywhere, some parts of He Puapua are already being implemented by the Government – for example, exempting some Māori land from rates, establishing Māori wards, giving Māori greater rights under the RMA, and a new history curriculum were all proposed by the report.

“Will the Government openly tell New Zealanders whether it intends to implement the remaining recommendations?

“The report proposes:

• A Treaty-based constitution
• Public education programmes across all sectors, including conscious and subconscious bias training, to deal with structural racism
• Significantly increased return of Crown lands and waters to Māori ownership in addition to Treaty settlements
• Progressively bringing all legislation into line with the Declaration
• A Māori court system
• A Māori Parliament.

“Ultimately, this is a question about what the Treaty really means.

“Does it mean that all New Zealanders are equal before the law?

“Or does it mean we are a partnership between two collectives, and our rights depend on who our grandparents are?

“ACT believes all New Zealanders should have equal rights and opportunities. This report isn’t going to deliver that.

“This is a divisive plan and it will set one group of New Zealanders against another.

“The Government must stop exploiting our differences and focus on the common dignity of all New Zealanders.

“ACT exists to have honest conversations about difficult issues like this and to unite New Zealanders behind good ideas.”

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David Seymour