“Jacinda Ardern and Willie Jackson should commit to burying their co-governance ambitions forever”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“This morning Newsroom reported that Labour’s UNDRIP work programme has been paused.

“That will provide some relief to New Zealanders who believe in equal citizenship, but it’s not enough.

“National got it wrong when it signed the Declaration. They thought it was just symbolism, but it is now creating great division.

“Parliament never voted for New Zealand to sign up, beyond a Ministerial Statement that ACT spoke against in 2010.

“New Zealanders have rejected Willie Jackson’s overtures because he and the Government more generally have insisted on consulting only select Māori groups first. Then they wonder why people don’t understand it when they’ve specifically excluded the rest of the population.

“UNDRIP is fundamentally at odds with a democratic nation state. It says indigenous people have the right to fully participle in the affairs of a nation state, which we agree with.

“Then it says they have the right to opt out and effectively run a separate jurisdiction.

“The whole of UNDRIP is founded on that fundamental contradiction.

“New Zealand is now clearly at a crossroads brought about by our signing of UNDRIP. Either New Zealand is to be a liberal democracy where all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, or a kind of ethno-state where some are born more equal than others.

“That’s why ACT has called for a referendum on co-governance.

“ACT proposes that the next Government pass legislation defining the Principles of the Treaty, in particularly their effect on democratic institutions. Then ask the people to vote on it becoming law.

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

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David Seymour