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The pre-eminent principle of justice that citizens should be treated equally without regard to race, religion or creed was hard fought for.
It’s hard to believe that it was surrendered in New Zealand without a murmur. It was done away with bit-by-bit and hardly anyone noticed.
And now we have a bunch of taxpayer-funded worthies on the Constitutional Advisory Panel dedicated and determined to turn justice inside out. Their purpose is to entrench and embed injustice into our law.
The once well-regarded principle of equality before the law was a tremendous achievement.
Before that principle was established, people who disagreed with the governing religion were burnt at the stake. And the rights people enjoyed depended on parentage.
New Zealanders breaking free of the oppressive class system didn’t frame their egalitarianism as eloquently as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin but were proud that in New Zealand “Jack was every bit as good as his master”.
That’s now gone.
Ancestry again matters in law. And successive governments have re-empowered a new tribal elite.
No one explains why it is that special Maori get a special say about the use of privately owned resources under the Resource Management Act. Parliament simply says it is so.
And parliament itself is confused. It’s some messed-up mix of “Maori are disadvantaged,” “We have the Treaty,” “Maori were here first” and “We need their vote.”
No one can explain how the tribal elite became the elite or the status and power successive governments have afforded them. Government policy created the vacuum and Treaty entrepreneurs filled it.
And now an advisory panel is beavering away determining “the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in our constitution”. Its conclusion is predetermined through the panel’s make-up and the inquiry’s conduct “in ways that reflect the Treaty relationship” and “in ways that reflect the partnership model”.
The panel’s establishment is easily explained. It meant a lot to the Maori Party and it was next to free for National to agree to.
But now what? The panel will huff and puff and solemnly conclude that the Treaty means Partnership and that the Partnership needs constitutional recognition. The solemnity of the language and the panel’s status will overcome the absence of logic and underpinning rationale.
It will further elevate the Maori elite, putting them effectively side by side with elected government and making it even harder to return New Zealand to an egalitarian and colour-blind state.
The National-led government will reject the panel’s advice. That will be a huge relief for the population at large and National’s popularity will increase.
Nonetheless, the rejection will create a new bone for the Treaty grievance industry to gnaw on. The racist constitution won’t be achieved with this government but it will be with a subsequent one.
That’s the panel’s purpose: to prepare the ground for the establishment of a racist state with special and powerful privilege for the select few.
The radicalisation of the New Zealand polity has not been achieved through revolution. It’s been achieved stealth-like, bit by bit. It’s a consequence of the rejection of political principle and embracing pragmatism and compromise.
These have been ruthlessly exploited by radicals in suits wearing bone carvings to the great cost of us all.