“Parliament never voted for New Zealand to sign up to UNDRIP, beyond a Ministerial Statement in 2010 that only ACT spoke against. It is not a binding document, merely a declaration, that should be ignored.

“Helen Clark got it right when her Government refused to sign UNDRIP. Sadly, John Key got it wrong when his Government went to the UN and signed it. He may have thought it was just symbolism, but it is now creating great division with UNDRIP being turned into He Puapua by the Labour-NZ First Government in 2019.

“A 2019 minute from the Cabinet Māori Crown Relations Committee shows a plan to comply with UNDRIP (later known as He Puapua) was commissioned by the Labour-NZ First Government.

“Helen Clark’s Government said that the Declaration is ‘fundamentally incompatible with New Zealand’s constitutional and legal arrangements.’ She was correct.

“New Zealand is a signatory to more important U.N. documents than UNDRIP. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says that ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,’ and ‘Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.’ By singling out indigenous people for specific rights within New Zealand, UNDRIP contradicts the Universal Declaration.

“UNDRIP contradicts liberal democracy and universal human rights because it attempts to give some people different rights because of their birth. As Helen Clark’s then Minister for Māori Affairs said, ‘The declaration also implies that indigenous people should have a right of veto over parliamentary law-making.’

“New Zealand is now at a crossroads brought about by the Key Government’s naïve signing of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 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.

“The drive behind Labour’s push for co-governance is that collectives are more important than individuals. Which group you belong to is more important than the dignity inherent in every individual person. There should be different laws for different groups, and you should be treated differently based upon who your ancestors were. These values are anathema to a democratic society.

“We cannot afford to continue dividing ourselves along superficial lines. We must celebrate the common humanity that unites all people and stop seeking ways to divide us with group rights and collective identity.

“ACT will restore liberal democracy and universal human rights. All New Zealanders are alike in dignity and this should be reflected in our institutions.”

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