3 News reports:
New Zealand First is suggesting all New Zealanders pretend to be Maori to get special privileges under the law.
The party wants the Government to define who is and isn’t Maori before offering deals to iwi over water rights, after delaying the asset sales programme.
Winston Peters says anybody could be Maori under the law.
Heh only Winston could suggest that.
For the 2nd time this week, I am partially agreeing with him.
I don’t think Maori should have special privileges under the law.
But I do think Iwi do have common law rights. I have no problem with saying that Iwi have customary rights in certain areas.
So the issue for me is not about rights for “Maori” but rights for “Iwi”. I don’t think you need to define who is or is not Maori, but rather the Crown needs to recognise Iwi, and Iwi have lists of their members.
This is why a national settlement on water rights is not desirable. Any rights belong to specific Iwi in specific locations – not to Maori generally.
Some will say Iwi have no special rights at all. I disagree. Just as property owners in a certain area may get rights of objection or compensation for developments that impinge on them, so do Iwi.