This is the draft version. I need to expand in places, reference, add macrons and so on. The guts of it is here, though.
1. The Maori seats must be retained.
1.1 The Maori electorates embody the Treaty partnership between Maori and the Crown.
1.2 The Maori electorates represent constitutional recognition of Maori as tangata whenua and act as a constitutional safeguard for Maori interests.
1.3 The Maori electorates are, after 146 years in existence, an inalienable right and are part of the fabric of Te Ao Maori.
1.4 Retention or abolition is a decision for Maori voters.
1.5 The Maori seats are not an affirmative action measure. The Maori seats are an expression of the guarantee to “rangatiratanga” in Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi.
2. The Maori seats must be entrenched.
2.1 Entrenchment will insulate the Maori seats against majority tyranny or the unprincipled use of an ordinary Parliamentary majority.
2.2 The provisions in the Electoral Act 1993 that regulate general electorates are entrenched. The provisions regulating Maori electorates are not. The difference in treatment cannot be justified.
2.3 Dr. Ranginui Walker argued that the Electoral Act 1956 – which did not entrench the provisions regulating Maori electorates but did entrench the provisions regulating general electorates – was “perhaps the most discriminatory measure of all in the application of the law to Māori representation”. He was right and the criticism also applies to the Electoral Act 1993. (Walker, 1992).
2.4 In obiter remarks in Taiaroa v Ministry of Justice McGeChan J held that the Maori electorates are a “Treaty icon” and are “entirely consistent with the Treaty”. That is correct. As an expression of the Treaty, the Maori electorates must be entrenched.
2.5 The provisions regulating the Maori electorates are constitutional provisions. Constitutional provisions must be afforded the highest protection (i.e. entrenchment).
3. The Purpose of the Maori electorates must be clarified.
3.1 There is a misconception that the Maori electorates are concerned with achieving equal representation for Maori (i.e. electoral equality). This is not the Maori electorate’s contemporary rationale.
3.2 The Maori electorates protect Maori interests in the electoral system and are an expression of the Treaty partnership.
3.3 The Maori electorates allow Maori to participate as Maori in an electoral system that is, in all other respects, a western system.
3.4 Maori have been beneficiaries of MMP, though only in the sense that Maori representation in Parliament is equal to and in some Parliamentary terms greater than the Maori share of the population. However, proportional representation has not guaranteed that Maori interests are adequately protected. The Maori electorates have.
4. The Maori option must be extended.
4.1 The existing five month window too short. The window should be extended to six months or longer.
4.2 A provision imposing a positive obligation on the government of the day to “effectively” (rather than “reasonably”) advertise the Maori electoral option must be enacted.
4.3 I support in principle the private members bill from Te Ururoa Flavell MP that would automatically enrol New Zealanders of Maori descent on the Maori electoral roll.
5. Dedicated Maori representation in local government must be investigated.
5.1 I accept that it would be wrong in principle to impose dedicated Maori representation on local governments.
5.2 However, dedicated representation must be discussed. Maori interests are not adequately protected at local government level.
5.3 Provisions regarding Maori input in the Local Government Act 2002, the Resource Management Act 1991 and so on are inadequate. Maori interests must not only be heard, but be afforded the appropriate weight.
5.4 Where dedicated Maori representation is rejected, local governments must be compelled to investigate alternative methods that include Maori perspectives in the decision-making process.