UN report on New Zealand

The UN (in fact a couple of people who work for the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) has published its latest report on New Zealand, summarised by the NZ Herald.

Looking around the UN site, I found a word document with a list of questions the Special Rapporteur put to the Government.  They include why there are no special hate speech laws  (which have had a chilling effect in some countries).

Anyway taking their points in turn:

* United Nations report calls for renewed dialogue between the Government and Maori over the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Dialogue is almost always a good idea.

* Praises the reduction of socio-economic disparities between Maori and Pacific people and the rest of the population.

This is good.

* Expresses concern about a proposal to remove statutory references to the Treaty of Waitangi.

This shows up factual inaccuracies in the UN’s understanding.  The proposal is to remove references to the principles, not the Treaty itself.

* Is concerned that steps taken to target programmes and policies on the basis of need rather than ethnicity may have been adopted in a “political climate unfavourable to the rights of Maori”.

Is there a right for targeting on the basis of ethnicity?  I always regard targeting by ethnicity to be a second best option to targeting individuals at need.

* Recommends the Government consider granting the Waitangi Tribunal legally binding powers to adjudicate Treaty matters.

Never going to happen.  Cedes too much soveriginity from the elected Parliament.

* Raises concern that there are no explicit references to the Treaty of Waitangi in the draft school curriculum.

Aren’t there? I’m surprised.

* Calls for efforts to address the Maori prison population to be a high priority.

Takes two to tango!