28 Jan 2013

Maori tell constitution group how they want NZ run

9:32 am on 28 January 2013

An independent constitutional group says feedback from Maori is that they want their values included in any new basic rules which New Zealanders should live by.

Lawyer Moana Jackson, who specialises in the Treaty of Waitangi, made the comment on a Treaty debate on Radio New Zealand which explored the place the 1840 document would have in any constitution.

Mr Jackson, also the convenor of the Iwi-led Independent Constitutional Transformation Working Group, says Maori have similar views on the topic of a constitution.

He says the answer has always been they want a constitutional system which cherishes relationships, protects the land and guarantees people will be safe and cared for.

Meanwhile, public law specialist Matthew Palmer says the Waitangi Tribunal should not be able to consider contemporary Treaty claims - once all historical cases are settled.

Mr Palmer says he thinks the Waitangi Tribunal's ability to consider contemporary allegations of breaches of the Treaty should be abolished and they should instead handled by the courts.

However the Waitangi Tribunal should continue to address historical breaches, he says.

Mr Palmer says the courts would ensure Maori and the Crown follow fair process and in good faith.

Mr Palmer indicates that the courts have a sensible view of what the Treaty means and that's reflected in laws passed by Government and recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal.

He says the Treaty should be in New Zealand law and that it should maintain an ongoing commitment between Maori and the Crown to work together.