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GUEST EDITORIAL - A Treaty and a Constitution?

By Trevor Ammundsen

This week we are in Brisbane, enjoying sunny days yet chilly nights. Ex-pat Kiwis who reside in Australia like to rant on about the weather and our family here are no different. But all is not rosy here as inflation is a major issue for the average person with food prices sky high, good Otago Pinot Noir at about $80 a bottle and quality cigarettes (yes, it is an oxymoron) almost $70 a packet. For the record I don’t smoke so don’t write letters telling me of your lack of empathy.

Idly reading the Herald online while sipping a Pino Colada I noticed the latest political poll showed National and Act could form a Government, a continuance of the trend that sees Labour losing the bounce it received from Jacinda Ardern’s well received resignation. On the other side, one pundit was picking a Labour, Green, Te Pati Māori government as being most likely, the so-called Coalition of Chaos. What both views ignore is the Winston Peters effect, he is not far off and could form a Government with National and Act, a second Coalition of Chaos perhaps.

All will come clearer on election night but as this becomes closer it is obvious that neither of our traditional parties are achieving dominance, neither seem to be close to breaking the 40% mark. This means the minor parties on both sides are likely to have more sway, but not dominance. That dominance could possibly come from the common groups emerging within parties. On the left the most dominant group should be Māori with Te Pati Māori, a significant number of Greens and a significant number of Labour MPs forming a solid bloc for the advancement of a Māori agenda.

On the right a similar bloc would be formed from those with a “one person one vote” ethos. If the election reflects those blocs it would mean that despite the myriad of challenges this country faces, we could see an election with racial advancement or preference being the prime issue. This would be quite sad for us all. If an election such as this happens it must be for the last time, racial separatism will benefit no one, just ask a South African.

To prevent such elections being repeated and to enable the Nation to move forward, we need to resolve the confusion around the various versions of the Treaty of Waitangi (English, Māori, Māori interpretation, English interpretation and so on). We need one document upon which we base our future and the future for our children. A constitution perhaps.

And as a sixth generation New Zealander I would strongly argue that any constitution should guarantee equality for all.


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