Oaths vs Speeches

November 9th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Personally I’m not sure MPs should have to swear an oath at all. The oath is just a piece of formality. But if we are to keep an oath, then it should be as non controversial as possible – something like uphold the law, do your duty and serve the people of New Zealand.

So I wasn’t a big fan of changing the law so MPs could include a reference to the in their oaths. That creates multiple oaths. If MPs want to mention the they can do so in their speeches.

NBR reports:

What some see as another bid by the Maori party to take New Zealand down the road of racial separatism has been rebuffed in Parliament.

Te Ururoa Flavell’s private member’s bill allowing people to pledge to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi when making legal oaths was thrown out by 69 votes to 52.

National, ACT, United Future and New Zealand First all voted against it.

So Labour, Greens, Maori and Mana voted for it.

 

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17 Responses to “Oaths vs Speeches”

  1. jaba (2,146 comments) says:

    who knows what on earth the treaty actually means these days .. people interpret it mean whatever fits their agenda so Flavell/hawairi are being divisive .. again

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  2. jaba (2,146 comments) says:

    and the oath is a tradition .. if you stop or change that what’s next. I find the whole political process bizzare and outdated BUT changing anything could end up with farce

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  3. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Of course, what some see as racial separatism others see as racial unity and social justice.

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  4. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Te Ururoa Flavell’s private member’s bill allowing people to pledge to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi when making legal oaths..

    Which version of the treaty? Who determines what is meant by ‘upholding’? Why did national vote against this – looks to be right up their ally? How long before somone who thinks such a private members bill is absolute nonsense is decryed as a racist on this thread?

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  5. iMP (2,420 comments) says:

    I think formalities and rituals (like judges wearing robes and funny wigs, now gone) can be helpful. They help dignify proceedings by setting apart and can constrain the ever present modern refrain of individuality (like Harawira’s racism) as top of the tree. Parliament’s archaisms give the HOuse a framework to work within. Otherwise Jaba is right….complete Farce.

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  6. RRM (10,012 comments) says:

    What some see as another bid by the Maori party to take New Zealand down the road of racial separatism has been rebuffed in Parliament.

    ^^^that paragraph right there from the NBR bears repeating.

    Like it or not, the Treaty of Waitangi is a real thing, it’s not the figment of some Maori Apartheid campaigner’s imagination!

    Although – note – that doesn’t mean it’s obvious the parliamentary oath should be about the ToW.

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  7. backster (2,184 comments) says:

    The oath is sacred but there could be a compromise by adding the meaningless phrase to the pointless affirmation.

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  8. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Hone (our favourite rat bag) was reported this am as sayingthat Maori are saving NZ with so many of them going to Ausy thus keeping the number on the dole as low as possible..

    Maybe Hone could suggest to the maori party that they also make a contribution to the Saving of NZ by then all getting one way tickets to ausy – or anywhere for that matter.

    The treaty is a running sore that does none of us any good.

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  9. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    something like uphold the law, do your duty and serve the people of New Zealand.

    I agree with this. I’d hav difficulty honestly swearing an oath to the Queen of England, I don’t have any empathy with her nor feel any allegiance to her.

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  10. James Stephenson (2,223 comments) says:

    I’d hav difficulty honestly swearing an oath to the Queen of England, I don’t have any empathy with her nor feel any allegiance to her.

    Snap! (and I’m English).

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  11. smttc (761 comments) says:

    Pete, you are thinking too hard.

    She is also the Queen of New Zealand and our head of state.

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  12. graham (2,346 comments) says:

    But the Queen of England is still our Queen and our Head of State. So, whether you like it or not, it is currently right and proper that MPs should swear some form of oath to the Queen as our Head of State.

    The day we become a republic, by all means throw that line out.

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  13. graham (2,346 comments) says:

    smttc: snap …

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  14. Fletch (6,489 comments) says:

    I went for a job interview once at (I think it was) Manukau Technical Institute, and they said they were an organisation which was treaty-based or some such thing (I can’t remember the exact language now). They respected the Treaty as an ideal and and their actions were based around it etc.

    They asked what I thought of it, and I gave some half-assed answer about how I never really thought about it, but just treated everyone the same.

    Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.

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  15. Griff (8,177 comments) says:

    It would be good if Maori upheld the principles encapsulated in the treaty rather than going against them

    http://www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz/doclibrary/public/Appendix(99).pdf

    (3) The freedom of the Crown to govern
    On the freedom of the Crown to govern, Justice Cooke ruled that:
    The principles of the Treaty do not authorise unreasonable restrictions on the right of a duly
    elected government to follow its chosen policy. Indeed, to try and shackle the Government
    unreasonably would itself be inconsistent with those principles.
    15
    Also, Justice Bisson observed that:
    it is in accordance with the principles of the Treaty that the Crown should provide laws and
    make related decisions for the community as a whole having regard to the economic and other
    needs of the day.

    There is no scope to stop the government selling the assets within the principles
    or for the ownership of power generation.

    The Treaty of Waitangi 1840 guaranteed to Maori, subject to British kawanatanga or
    government, their tino rangatiratanga and their taonga. In doing so the Treaty must have
    intended effectively to preserve for Maori their customary title. However liberally Maori
    customary title and treaty rights might be construed, they were never conceived as including
    the right to generate electricity by harnessing water power

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  16. RRM (10,012 comments) says:

    And pardon my ignorance but are you sure there’s not some practical (legal) basis for the oath?

    I.e. wouldn’t it form some sort of formal basis for sacking them later on if we need to, if an MP gets seriously out of order in some way?

    (Kinda like making a declaration before a J.P…. the only reason for it is that if you later get found out to have made an untrue declaration, then you’ve committed the crime of making an untrue declaration before a J.P. and you’re going to find yourself in the dock accordingly…)

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  17. OneTrack (3,223 comments) says:

    RRM – Which is a good reason for them to make an oath to the treaty. Nobody can agree what it means, so they can do whatever they want (sell state secrets to North Korea or something) and they could just say they were following their oath to the treaty. And nobody would be able to prove they weren’t. It’s a win-win (for them).

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