King Tuheitia Paki is calling for Maori to have a share in New Zealand’s sovereignty by 2025.
[…] The details remain sketchy. It could be as simple as King Tuheitia and Queen Elizabeth having turn about. That would be easiest. In fact, we could just make King Tuheitia and his successors the Crown and dispense with the Governor-General. We could have our own ready-minted monarchy.
But I suspect the King Tuheitia means shared government. That’s far trickier.
One obvious way of achieving shared government is through a dual Parliament. Setting up and running such a system would be complicated and difficult. It would mean deciding and then establishing the proper roles and functions of the two parliaments.
For example, would they be side-by-side or would the Maori Parliament operate a veto?
Alternatively, there could simply be reserved seats in government for Maori. That’s how it’s been done in the management of waterways and catchments under “co-governance” arrangements.
Maori could well have seats perpetually in government voted in by those on the Maori roll. That would certainly be easier than a dual parliament. The issue would be the number of seats. I sense that shared sovereignty means half and half.
In the end, we don’t know what they mean until they tell us. I suspect it will be predicated on some degree of self-determination, including a parallel police force, courts, education, health and social welfare system. None of those are new concepts as they have already existed or been tried out under various names.
No doubt whatever is agreed as “shared sovereignty” it will be only the start.
It’s the principle that matters: and the principle is not one person, one vote, but shared sovereignty, which clearly is something else.
While the exact detail of “shared sovereignty” may be vague, the Maori King’s political route is not. He’s withdrawn his support from Labour (too broad a church) and thrown his weight behind Mana and the Maori Party.
The politics is simple. The price of their support for the government would be a roadmap to shared sovereignty. That’s reinforced by the King’s trusted lieutenant, Tuku Morgan, standing for and winning the presidency of the Maori Party. His first job as president was to enter negotiations with Mana. His intention is to win all seven Maori seats and be literally the kingmakers.
I have no doubt both Labour and National would agree to a suitably stacked royal commission inquiring into something innocuous-sounding like how to give full effect to the Treaty of Waitangi as the price of government.
But politics is a funny business: King Tuheitia may well be inadvertently crowning Winston Peters kingmaker.
If Winston can bring National across the line without the help of the Maori Party, you can bet that the association with the radical Mana movement will be sufficient reason for Key to keep the Maori party at arms length.
– Rodney Hide, NBR