Role of Waitangi Tribunal

December 20th, 2005 at 7:11 am by David Farrar

I am ever amazed by how the role of the Waitangi Tribunal has expanded over time. I certainly support most of the work it has done on resolving historical land grievances.

But it seems to have morphed into a hear any issue at all affecting one or more Maori. The latest is its recommendation that a WWII Maori solider should be given a VC.

I don’t disagree that the solider may well have deserved a VC. What I can’t work out is how this is in any way related to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Has the Waitangi Tribunal become a universal advocate for Maori on any and all issues? If Maori do suffer discrimination (which is of course wrong) isn’t that the role of the Human Rights Commission or Race Relations Conciliator?

Wouldn’t the Waitangi Tribunal be better to focus on the huge backlog of land claims that it has? They have a unique role in law to adjudicate and recommend on them. And the longer they take to do so, the longer they remain a source of division.

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