July 21, 2016
Treaty Minister seen as block to indigenous rights
The author of a report critical of New Zealand’s implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is blaming Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson for blocking progress.
Professor Margaret Mutu delivered the report to the five members of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People meeting in Geneva last week.
She says she got the backing of the Iwi Chairs Forum to monitor compliance after becoming concerned New Zealand officials were telling the UN everything was ka pai.
Professor Mutu, who chairs Te Runanga o Ngati Kahu, says she tried to engage with the government on the issue but was rebuffed.
"They do not want to talk about the declaration. In fact Chris Finlayson sent a letter back in 2011 to the Te Hiku iwi chairs telling them he would not allow any mention of the declaration in anything to do with the treaty or our treaty settlement. That is a very very bad mistake on his part in terms of the country's international obligations," she says.
Professor Mutu says the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can be seen as a blueprint for implementing the Treaty of Waitangi.
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