24 Jun 2013

Opinion divided on role of Treaty in constitution

8:48 am on 24 June 2013

A co-chair of the Constitutional Advisory Panel says many Maori do not want the Treaty of Waitangi to be formally written into New Zealand's constitutional arrangements for fear it could be undermined.

Sir Tipene O'Regan says feedback by Maori and non-Maori received by the panel so far shows opinion has been divided on the role of the Treaty.

He says some want the principles of the Treaty to be entrenched in a formal written constitution, while others are concerned that doing so will damage it.

Sir Tipene says a lot of Maori do not want the Treaty's principles near a constitutional document because they are worried it will be denigrated by a majority Pakeha parliament.

But he says it's too early to say where the weight of opinion is going to fall.

The submission period has been extended by one month to 31 July.