Rodney Hide is going to be public enemy number one again…after his column in the Herald on Sunday, where he dares to question the premise of “partnership” that many believe is mentioned int he Treaty of Waitangi.
Quite how the Maori elite get chosen is a mystery. But somehow it happens. And behind the scenes they wield considerable economic and political power.
Imagine it. Queen Victoria is recently enthroned in her brand new Palace of Buckingham. Her country is the most industrialised economy the world has ever seen. Her empire stretches around the globe. Maori number fewer than 100,000. They have very limited technology and resources. They have been warring among themselves for more than 30 years. They have killed 20,000 of their own. Another 40,000 Maori are enslaved or displaced. The Musket Wars have overturned traditional tribal territories.
I know, says the Queen, “I will partner up with Maori to govern that far-flung corner of my empire. The Maori and I shall share power. And I will bind my heirs and successors to the deal.”
Nope. Never happened. The clear Article 3 promise of “all the rights and privileges of British subjects” was very generous and compassionate. To this day, many peoples of the world wish and dream that they too could enjoy those self-same rights and privileges.
Hmmm…I wonder if Rodney wants to form a new party. He could make his final paragraphs part of the manifesto and insist on them as a bottom line:
But the priesthood have declared there is a partnership. And Parliament and the Government listen. And so a partnership of sorts there is. The Treaty claims are destined to be endless. There is no agreed list of demands that, once accepted, ends the gravy train.
But Parliament is still all-powerful.
Parliament could simply declare that the final say on what the Treaty means is the clear-cut English text – and that the words mean exactly what they say. That would end it. Overnight.