Constitution of Aotearoa

Aotearoa does not have a written constitution; a single document entrenched as a supreme law which holds government to a set of guiding principles. That means governments can and do make laws, break laws and change laws to suit their own political aims.

We have a Bill of Rights setting out people’s civil and political rights, but it is not entrenched or supreme law either and can be amended by Parliament by a simple majority.

And although much is made of the ‘constitutional place’ of the Treaty, in fact Te Tiriti o Waitangi has been diluted down to a set of principles which have not themselves been defined by statute. 

MANA believes:

  • that Aotearoa should have an entrenched written constitution (based on the work done by the Constitutional Transformation Working Party and the Mātike Mai Aotearoa Report) http//www.converge.org.nz/pma/MatikeMaiAotearoaReport.pdf
  • that He Whakaputanga o Te Rangatiratanga o Nū Tīreni and Te Tiriti o Waitangi be the twin cornerstones of the Constitution of Aotearoa
  • that the Constitution recognise the Waitangi Tribunal’s Paparahi o Te Raki Report which found that: Ngāpuhi/Māori did not cede sovereignty
  • that the Constitution recognise the Tribunal’s finding that Te Tiriti o Waitangi allowed for two distinct spheres of influence – rangatiratanga and kawanatanga
  • that the rights of Māori people as affirmed by He Whakaputanga me Te Tiriti, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international covenants, are safeguarded as part of the Constitution of Aotearoa
  • that tenets of the NZ Bill of Rights, and other international covenants covering fundamental human, civil and political rights also be considered in the development of the Constitution of Aotearoa
  • that any constitutional disputes be settled by the International Indian Treaty Council *
  • that the rights of our children should always be the nation’s first priority
  • that the health and wellbeing of the people and the lands, forests, fisheries, waterways and seas of Aotearoa be always considered as a priority over any and all economic development
  • that all citizens of Aotearoa should have the right to decent warm homes, clean drinking water, free health care and education, a universal basic income and the opportunity to pursue their own individual goals where that pursuit does not harm or limit the opportunities of others
  • that government should take back full and absolute control of the monetary system from private financial institutions
  • that government should levy taxes for the provision of services to the citizens of Aotearoa in line with the principles outlined above.

* Because there is no international court that can hear and rule on constitutional issues in a manner consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, MANA will work with other indigenous peoples to take a case to the United Nations to have that court established. Until such time as that happens, MANA will refer constitutional disputes to the IITC.

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