Andrew Little, ably assisted by a compliant media, has supposedly built up his cred to better proportions than the previous leaders since Clark.
The claims though were specious and come from people who should know better were just plain wrong.
Whatever level of acceptance Andrew Little had managed to claw his way to, though, has been destroyed by his interest in exploring Maori making their own laws…kind of a Maori sharia proposal.
Labour leader Andrew Little has proposed looking at giving Maori greater self-governance, possibly including the ability to make some of their own laws.
Mr Little made the comments yesterday, referring to a Waitangi Tribunal finding last year that Northland Maori did not cede their sovereignty when signing the Treaty.
Prime Minister John Key was criticised by elders at Waitangi for dismissing that report. Mr Little said the Waitangi Tribunal report found Maori should be able to make their own laws on matters affecting them. While that would be “highly problematic” he said it should be looked at.
Mr Little acknowledged it could concern some New Zealanders. “The fear is always that these things turn into a ‘they are getting special privilege’ or ‘they are getting a control we would never be able to have’. We have to be sensitive to that, but we’ve also got to understand for iwi now and those who have had their settlements and developed their own economic base, there are some things we might want to say they can be responsible for that is consistent with historical obligations.”
He said it was time to look at what would happen after the settlements were completed.
He said some Native American tribes had law-making powers over their territories in the United States where recognised tribes were exempt from some laws – including taxation – and could create their own laws in many areas. Mr Little said allowing separate law-making was “highly problematic”.
“But we shouldn’t be so dismissive of any claim by iwi over what they do. We do have to function as a nation-state and we don’t want to compromise that. But let’s have a look at it.”
Mr Key said allowing some iwi the ability to make their own law would be “divisive” and he did not support the suggestion.