If Gareth Morgan throws the effort into standing in the Mt Albert by-election that he has into turning up at Ratana, the Greens and Labour are in trouble.
I have always argued one of the reasons why neoliberalism and extreme right wing madness has been allowed to go unchecked in NZ is because of our Unicameral Parliament.
We don’t appreciate or realise this, but NZ has one of the most powerful Parliament’s in the world.
Because we only have one chamber, all it takes to read any crazy idea an MP has into law is some urgency and around 10 hours worth of ‘debate’ and bang, mad right wing policy can be imposed without so much as the barest of scrutinies.
This has happened throughout NZs Political History and that’s why our electoral term is only 3 years, the argument being, ‘you don’t want a Political Party in Government with this kind of legislative power for more than 3 years’.
If we want to move past the post-Treaty claim settlement phase, then we have to actively look at what real power sharing as defined by the kaupapa of the Treaty of Waitangi looks like.
What does a functioning MMP Government in a Liberal Democracy look like if it was to be true to its Treaty obligations? What does political Tino Rangatiratanga look like structurally? And how would it work?
I think the answer is obvious, we need an Upper Chamber of Parliament that is split 50-50 between Pakeha representatives and Maori representatives. They could vote on law that impacted Treaty Obligations (there would be a process where Politicians would have to appeal to the Upper Chamber and argue how Treaty Obligations were impacted by legislation) and while the Upper Chamber couldn’t veto out right any law, they could have the power to send it back down to the lower chamber if they decided the concerns were not addressed.
Gareth Morgan shares this same vision. This idea to create an upper chamber is a radical departure and a powerful vision for where we need to move NZ if we are ever to be truly proud of Waitangi Day as our founding national day.
Having a rich white pakeha articulate such a radical advancement of true Maori Tino Rangatiratanga advances Morgan’s mana and it advances Pakeha mana.
Imagine a country that was mature enough to make symbolic and real the relationship the Treaty has promised since its signing. The day we can commit to such a vision is the day NZ stops being a country and matures enough to be a Nation.
Kudos to Gareth Morgan for actually bringing a vision of the future to Ratana and not just the empty talk of projects and work schemes that do nothing to extend real autonomy of Maori.
Manama Fox and Hone Harawira should go talk to him and skill up on this Upper House idea.
UPDATE: Marama Fox has reminded me on Twitter that the Maori Party have had the idea of a two chamber Parliament on their books for 12 years, and while that’s certainly true, it is hardly a policy the Maori Party have championed in that time.