Jackson’s Trap.


WILLIE JACKSON is caught in a trap of his own making. Three groups, tasked in April with developing a detailed plan for implementing the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) have steadfastly refused to play the bureaucratic game the Minister for Māori Development has forced upon them. In essence, they have delivered Jackson an offer neither he, nor the Cabinet, can accept. Their “Declaration Plan”, clearly politically unacceptable, has been kept under wraps for months.

Non-plussed, Jackson asked the plan’s authors: unidentified representatives of Te Puni Kokiri, Pou Tikanga (Iwi Leaders Group) and the Human Rights Commission; to present a revised document for Cabinet’s consideration by July. With November fast approaching, the document’s authors have yet to respond. It is difficult to interpret this tardiness as anything other than a deliberate effort to run down the clock on Jackson. The Declaration Plan’s authors appear confident that their failure to adhere to the Minister’s consultative timetable will make it virtually impossible to organise an effective public response prior to the 2023 General Election.

Clearly, a high-stakes hand of political poker is being played out here. It is hard to interpret the Declaration plan’s authors’ failure to meet Jackson’s deadline as anything other than an act of deliberate defiance. What has prompted their non-compliance?

The most obvious answer is to be found in the unusual ordering of the “Declaration Plan’s” preparation. Rather than gather a broadly representative group of cultural, political and legal experts to develop a blueprint for UNDRIP’s implementation – something in the nature of a Royal Commission of Inquiry – Jackson initiated a round of consultations with Māori groups across the country, and then tasked TPK, the Iwi Leaders Group and the HRC with producing a “first draft” of the results. Once endorsed by Cabinet, this draft Declaration Plan was to be presented to the whole population of New Zealand for consideration, comment, and revision.

Any Māori ethno-nationalist worthy of the name will immediately recognise Jackson’s action-plan as a crude mechanism for forcing tangata whenua to water-down their proposals to the point where a Pakeha-dominated Cabinet would find them acceptable. This signed-off Declaration Plan must then be subjected to all the slings and arrows of Pakeha racism – the mouthpieces of which will undoubtedly demand even more watering-down. By the time the process is complete, New Zealand’s plan for implementing UNDRIP will be so anodyne that even Jair Bolsonaro could give it the thumbs-up!

It is worth recalling at this point that a comprehensive “Declaration Plan” already exists. Commissioned by the then Minister of Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, in 2019, the He Puapua report, sets forth a step-by-step process for bringing Aotearoa into full compliance with UNDRIP by 2040 – the 200th anniversary of the signing of te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Kept under wraps by Jacinda Ardern’s government, He Puapua was clearly regarded as far too radical to be placed before the New Zealand electorate in 2020. When, inevitably, the document found its way into the public domain, the newly-elected Labour Government was quick to deny that its proposals were – or would ever be – in any way driving Government policy. The Prime Minister curtly ruled-out He Puapua’s plan for a Māori upper-house of Parliament.

The institutions brought together by Jackson can hardly have missed the unspoken terms-of-reference underpinning their endeavour. Under no circumstances were they to present a Declaration Plan as radical as He Puapua. Not only that, but Matike Mai Aotearoa: Independent Working Group on Constitutional Transformation, an impressive consultative exercise in its own right, commissioned by the Iwi Leaders Group, and conducted under the guidance of the late Moana Jackson, which, itself, provided powerful inspiration for the authors of the He Puapua report, was also to be consigned to the “too-radical” basket. So constrained, the authorial group might as well have subtitled their Declaration Plan “Uncle Tom’s Report”.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Nevertheless, the institutions tasked with drawing up the Declaration Plan had no option but to serve. That being the case they seem to have agreed that the whole exercise should either produce a document worthy of UNDRIP, or, if that was not possible, come to nothing.

This is what they appear to have done. Jackson was presented with a Declaration Plan which, almost certainly, incorporated the core ideas of both Matike Mai and He Puapua. Given the extent of consultation within Maoridom which preceded and informed the Matike Mai working-group’s report; and in light of the courageous creativity of He Puapua, the draft Declaration Plan’s authors could hardly have done otherwise. By any reasonable measure, Matike Mai and He Puapua are the truest reflection of the Māori ethno-nationalist position. If Jackson’s group didn’t back-up the work already done, then they risked being written-off as latter-day kupapa.

Jackson, meanwhile, is left holding a draft Declaration Plan he can’t present to Cabinet, and which its authors refuse to re-write. And, the clock is ticking. When he meets with the authors on Friday, what are Jackson’s options?

He could threaten to release their draft plan to the public, reasoning that the reaction of most Pakeha would be so negative that the whole process of fulfilling New Zealand’s obligations under UNDRIP would come to a shuddering halt. If he was feeling particularly embittered and Machiavellian, he could further argue that the racist backlash would be so powerful that the Government would have to abandon, at least temporarily, its whole co-governance agenda – Three Waters in particular. Could they not produce a document that would reassure Pakeha that UNDRIP was no threat: a document that would actually make the introduction of co-governance easier? Isn’t Māori control of water worth a little bit of watering-down?

Shrewd arguments, certainly, but they don’t get Jackson out of his trap. He simply can’t escape the fact that to meet the requirements of UNDRIP – let alone te Tiriti – the Crown will have to cede an unacceptably large amount of its sovereign power to Māori. As a Minister of that Crown, it is more than Jackson’s warrant is worth to place such a proposition upon the Cabinet Table. In the Realm of New Zealand there can be only one Crown.

It is the conclusion which proved as inescapable to Moana Jackson, and to the authors of He Puapua, as it so clearly has been to the authors of the draft Declaration Plan. Neither UNDRIP nor te Tiriti o Waitangi will ever be fully realised in the Realm of New Zealand. To fulfil the promises of these documents a wholly new kind of state will be required – one so radically different to the state New Zealanders presently inhabit, that their acceptance of it could only be secured in the conditions of a full-scale revolution.

And not even Willie Jackson can sell a full-scale revolution to this Labour Government.


  1. All very well but the He Puapua agenda is, and has been, proceeding regardless of the so called declaration.
    It’s all a bit academic anyway, co-governance won’t survive the election. There’s nothing Willie, Nanaia and the ethno-nationalists can do about that apart from help cause an even more embarrassing defeat.

  2. It’s this type of crap that is burying this govt and govts across the world I suspect.

    Why do we need ‘documents’ of such nature if only to divide us even more? People are cottoning on to these ‘completely harmless pieces of paper’ that have hidden ulterior motives. 3 waters is a perfect example, under the guise Water Quality for All (which no one argues with) is the fact that it suspiciously looks like a power grab from a few Maori elites. Even the Prime Minister had to dance on a pin, telling us ‘oh yes local bodies will still own their assets, but they won’t control them’

    I think everyone agrees, white, brown, pink, yellow, short, tall, rich, poor, Sour Kraut, Bert, Millsy and Tane (apologies for using you fine people as examples) that people in need, require special attention. But their only qualification should be their need, nothing else. Not their race, not their upbringing, not their location, just their need for support. That support should be targeted specific to them, and should be around breaking the cycle that got them to where they were. That’s it.

    We have this group identity embedded in every day life now, no one raises an eyelid when we have govt paid ads explaining that only specific races can access specific medical support. Case in point the ads regarding covid anti-virals. During the initial vaccine roll out I had a friend with critical health issues (brain aneurysm and bowel cancer) turned away from a vaccine clinic because she wasn’t the right race ffs.

    I suspect that these documents get in the way of actually helping people rather they are used by cunning people as a facade to create their own personal power fiefdom, it needs to stop because the reaction would be more and more extremism and that never ends well.

    • > the reaction would be more and more extremism

      The cause of that reaction is also extremism.

    • Well spoken BG. Agree with you totally. Take three waters: yes fix the pipes, spend the money and solve the need. Nice water, no more poo coming out of my tap like the deceptive advert said. But what’s fixing the pipes got to do with ownership, especially one based on race??????? Nothing, and that’s where the whole thing is fucked.

    • Was the friend advised of another clinic reasonably accessible for them? You are too simplistic when you criticise sweeping measures by more sweeping criticism. It is a case for judicious critique with restraint. I think those are the watchwords to call on in what’s left of our time in the 21st century. The hot headed way will be redundant as the weather is likely to make us hot enough for ordinary thought to be enervating.

      Respect for race and culture is what is required but also recognition of how imported ideas can destabilise systems that we have been using well enough for the last century or so. We need more than commonsense about this, we need intelligent analysis by ordinary citizens who take an interest in how things are done, and what can be achieved. We citizenry have shown themselves to be uninformed and irresponsible and as we choose our politicians from amongst us we are hoist on our own petard. No use in blaming everybody else with vituperative language. Find a way to open the can of worms and use the worms in the garden or compost – get them doing something useful and positive.

  3. I find it hard to get my head around the twisted logic that supports ANYTHING that is race-based.

    So, for this attempt at neo-Apartheid to be the product of New Zealand, the first country in the world to have a universal franchise is doubly shameful.

    Is Labour mad, bad or both?

  4. Willie Jackson and the rest of Cabinet has worked out that NZ can’t have ethno-nationalism/fulfil the current interpretation of the TOW, and still remain a democracy.

    Hell of a dilemma they created for themselves. All of those internationalist UN supporters will be squirming at the thought the UN declaring NZ no longer a full and functioning democracy.

  5. Here here BG.

    Also “[Jackson] simply can’t escape the fact that to meet the requirements of UNDRIP – let alone te Tiriti – the Crown will have to cede an unacceptably large amount of its sovereign power to Māori”. No comment on the UNDRIP, except to say we don’t worry about implementing almost any treaties so the foucs is political and the legal emphasis a political device.

    But as to the treaty/te triti, this assumption on sovereignty is at the base of the “Maori ethno-nationalist” position. Of course, the whole point is that they do not state a fact, real or political. They merely make an assumption and don’t even bother to argue for it anymore.

    If they did argue for it, they would have to contend with the many texts – two original and many later translations – between them all taking different positions on sovereignty. The meaning of texts can be derived by context they might say – but of course context of the deal struck in 1840 is also contested by historians, trained and otherwise. They would have to contend with the fact that the contest all through our history so fully obstructed worthy attempts to make real amends for real wrongs – that there was the necessity to invent of the “principles” as a legislated device almost 50 years ago. Then they would have to contend with the historical fact in the living memory of many that the “tino rangatiratanga” related-elements of the principles have always been contested. That at least Palmer, Bolger, and Clark are on the record – on top of Court decisions and WT gloss of course – saying the principles mean different things. That the sovereignty idea – underlying the partnership idea – is plainly is contested today by their colleague Seymour, former colleague Winston, and many others. That, of course, in real and political reality – sovereignty is with the Crown. It has been nationwide since about the 1880s in the physical world – times when ultimately only His Majesty’s govt could deny one personal sovereignty in the ultimate form of prison bars.

    We have to be honest that our dear old founding document is an insufficient foundation for a state, and build a new compact, whether we write it down or not. That will contain different locii of different powers, just as we have now – legislature, executive and judiciary. It might also new loci – perhaps some “by maori, for maori” ones – replicating similar functions for small areas. Just like devolved or federal structures do. It might also have loci with novel roles nationally.

    But we all know one thing it can’t have – we can’t share a polity if we have two locii of sovereignty. Stoking the hope that we can achieve two locii of sovereignty – as Ruru and others seem to, and as they well know – is reckless at best for our common future on these islands, and an insult to all those of us who meet in the bonds of love.

  6. Nz has to decide if it wants to be one nation, or divided nation in the future. Life is not fair, some have lost and some gained..look at queens diamonds often stolen or tricked out of countries, we can live in the past and cry over spilled milk or move on and create a beautiful future for ourselves and family.

    I strongly believe that the weak in the society should be helped to become strong, whether its Maori, Pacifica or other ethnic groups, however trying to divide the sovereign power will destroy this nation. Who will have the final say?

    Divided nations create divided people. NZ needs to become 1. We can compensate for some past grievances, by making sure that people of Maori descent are not left behind and become part of prosperous future, but it will never be enough for Maori, and non maori will one day start feeling being ripped off( and some already are).

    Pakeha can only throw money to support Maori, and free money will only go so far.

    Maori have lived their lives pitying themselves and with victimhood mentality that only hinders their progress.Only Maori can inspire and support other maori, who are living as victims and are currently left behind.

    Maori have to help their own people in becoming strong, by ensuring that they value education, value own health, value strong work ethic and pass it on to their future generations. Many immigrants come to this country with these values only, and make rich lives for themselves.

    Only then will Maori as a whole will progress. Trying to divide the nation in order to lift the Maori, will break this country and create apartheid.

    • Benny you make a good arguement about how NZ is in danger of being divided along race lines and how it can be fixed.
      A native American once said my people will not go forward if they continually look back. It is true that Maori are represented in all the wrong statistics but why do they need a seperate authority such as the stop smoking programme when the message is the same for both Maori and Pakeha. .They could spend more on the message and less on the messangers if the programme was not divided and many parts duplicated.

    • Even if you are Maori you should not be giving such wide negative generalisations that don’t reflect well on Maori. It is as bad as going to extreme the other way.
      One of NZs and perhaps the world’s problems is the pendulum approach. Change is overwhelming checks and balances and the pendulum swings too far up, and a while after too far down. Muldoon’s tweaking though he had major faults, was probably about right, pretty much.

      So I question this from Benny and bold an egregious emotionally stressed word as an example of how personal opinion can muddy good explanations , understandings and learnings that need fair presentation.
      Maori have lived their lives pityingthemselves and with victimhood mentality that only hinders their progress.Only Maori can inspire and support other maori, who are living as victims and are currently left behind.

      Maori have had a lot of knock-backs and could probably verify examples of other assertions in that paragraph, but not only Maori can inspire other Maori; Celia Lashlie was doing well, and there are others who have trimmed down their western or other-cultured ideas to respond to what Maori culture and tikanga and knowledge bases have to offer. At present I have in mind to get a link to an internet site that offers Maori quotes and proverbs and explanations of the wisdom or foolishness they are highlighting.

  7. Thank you very much, Chris, for putting this whole mess out for examination – I have been waiting forever for someone to do more than just allude to it. Since it seems that this whole absurd arm-wrestling has been going on, under the surface for decades, it would seem to be sensible to bring it out and argue it, a bit rationally and probably more, emotionally. A lot of people who should have known better have had a hand in getting us to this sorry state – probably with the best of intentions – but we all know where those lead (old pakeha proverb)
    As it stands there are daft – and naive and truly ignorant – people pinning all their hopes on ‘kai in the sky’. There is no way this country is going to be governed by power/ governance -being shared between two ethnic authorities – the objections being too outstanding and numerous to state. Most people have just got more sense – and more important things to worry about.

  8. How predictable.
    We already live in an ethno state if you want to use that racist label.
    Its called New Zealand. Named by Dutch, colonised by British, and now largely owned by Australia, UK and the US. I leave out China because that is a red herring.
    In other words an ethnically European ‘white’ state.
    But the state is not society. It rules on behalf of the predominantly white ruling class. The rest of society, workers, farmers, self-employed etc are an ethnically mixed population and predominantly those who work for a living.
    But at the bottom of that society of those who work are Maori, the first Pacific people to settle Aotearoa, and other Pacific people who arrived much later.
    Maori were a people without class colonised by Europeans.
    Like all colonised peoples societies, Maori lost most of their land and had to work for white employers to survive.
    The consequences of that colonisation, racism and inequality, are still with us. Do we need to go through all the figures; the evidence of a widening wealth gap between between Europeans and Maori, of social breakdown and crime?
    It’s obvious that Labour, much less National and Act, does not want a revolution to resolve this widening wealth gap, but there are the Principles of the Treaty hanging over them demanding some redress for Maori.
    This Govt will do what it thinks is expedient to meet the UN resolution that is found acceptable to the centre right and left in order to get re-elected.
    Expect to see the various organisations with a stake in this outcome agree to some modest change to honour the Treaty deemed possible in an uncertain period of economic crash, war and ecological disruption.
    The revolution will have to wait until the majority at the bottom of society become so angry with all the institutions of the colonial state making them victims of economic crash, pandemics and climate catastrophe, that the need for it will at last be put on the agenda.

    • A white ethnostate with a ethnically diverse parliament and a Maaori governor-general – good one DB.

    • Agree – predictable, that people don’t think clearly
      1. The ‘state’ at present has a greater proportion of non- European MPs and Ministers.
      2. At the bottom of society are people who don’t go to school or train for a job, and who use meth.
      3. Maori were a hugely class- conscious society – the Rangatira class, the warriors and the slaves.
      4. Te tiriti has no ‘principles’
      -and more.
      You might be right about the revolution though.

  9. Ages, your cut,me sayin,these dinasaurs,in this trades hall building cuboards,you listen to this,as my business class,weekly say.Now as past,never show,truth and socialist care.

  10. Chris has been fear mongering over He Puapua for a couple of years. The general line seemingly being “don’t give those Mowreees too much, the Tauiwi/Pākehā sods that are sitting on their land won’t like it”.

    Yes it could easily be elevated to a pinch point, and a ‘backlash’ scenario for the 2023 Election. But so what? Things surely cannot get much worse for many Māori people whatever Govt. is in. Various factors mean that Māori working class people contribute to the National Superannuation Fund which a number of them will never benefit from personally. Hello…it is called enduring post colonial fallout. Successive NZ Govt.s have not addressed Māori issues comprehensively which is why Te Tiriti enforcement and the UN are vital.

    Time to stop flogging this deceased horse. Even Nat Chris Finlayson says he does not fear co-goverance, and says neither should others after ten odd years working the Treaty round. As boomer numbers decline, new gens with a more modern world view will outnumber the sheep shaggers for whom fear is a factor.

    • Co-governance. Now we cannot agree amongst each other in the same group with similar faces, or backgrounds, social standing, limited principles – the Parties, National and Labour
      particularly. Why is everything going to be ironed out if there is co-gov? Nothing is that easy. Possibly aiming for consensus? Which method seems to raise questions as to timely effectiveness.

      Consensus is a group discussion where everyone’s opinions are heard and understood, and a solution is created that respects those opinions. Consensus is not what everyone agrees to, nor is it the preference of the majority. Consensus results in the best solution that the group can achieve at the time.
      Wikipedia:What is consensus?

      More decision making methods and processes:

      I was interested in this from Denny Poa on TDB Open Mike about how the wiles of one group may another, the same but different.

    • Tiger Mountain: “Chris has been fear mongering over He Puapua for a couple of years.”

      It looks as if you’ve not read it, Matike Mai, or the Treaty. I recommend that you do. What the first two papers advocate is a wholesale dismantling of the representative democracy we now have.

      With regard to the Treaty, I can read it in both languages. What you see is what you get: there is no mention of principles, partnership or co-governance. Nor would there have been in that political environment. This was a Treaty being concluded in the name of the Queen of England. She would not have contemplated any such thing as partnership and so on, with her subjects.

      At the conference in Kohimarama, 20 or so years later, the chiefs who’d signed the Treaty made it clear that they understood full well the implications of what they’d signed.

    • It is Jane. They have slipped their collars from kiwiblog or something–one sentence troll merchants. A number of older (as in previous) posters have noticeably dropped out in the last year from The Daily Blog.

      In Pundit land there is chumminess with other pundits across political lines, because people associate with each other in various ways I guess, which now seems to have extended to a free shot for filthy views on TDB in the guise of “free speech”. Be nice to have a management statement on this. I mean the “eat each other” comment above–in 2022? really?

      • Personally I read most of what is written here because of the wide range of opinions expressed. This site gives me an insight into the important political issues facing New Zealand (and the world), via a diverse set of contributors, while the lightly moderated comments illuminate the various currents that flow beneath the often placid seeming surface of our daily lives. It is better to be aware of and understand these currents, than to assume everyone shares your beliefs & world view, and then be surprised when an unexpected undertow drags you under.

        After reading comments here for a number of years, I get the impression that most of the regular commentators generally care about the issues presented and many are left leaning or at least community minded, with a wide range of experience & socioeconomic backgrounds. There is certainly a range of knowledge & education levels shown, with surprising amounts of effort & background information going in to some of the comments.

        Possibly some of the shorter comments are due to past censorship of longer posts, leading to shorter, more punchy comments that might get through moderation without wasting effort on a longer post that is never seen by anyone.

        If a controversial article gets shared elsewhere, this might cause a surge in “troll” comments, but it is unlikely that many of the regulars could be described as trolls (even if they are annoying & we disagree with them), as most are pretty consistent in there beliefs & attitudes. Trolling is more about the reaction than pushing your opinion, and that gets boring quickly (unless you’rebeing paid or have as specific agenda to push), hence trolls don’t tend to be a long term feature. Though some regular commentators may use alisas to do some special prodding, since the site doesn’t verify identities.

        As to the issue of this article, this will be an issue that needs to be made transparent, discussed openly and honestly, otherwise it will divide New Zealand and bring out a lot of the racist attitudes that most people know to keep to themselves or like minded friends. Those attitudes haven’t gone away, people just get more careful about sharing them.

        Labour have a lot to answer for and the country’s disappointment will probably deliver a very different government next year. Transparency & real action is needed now, empty future promises & lies won’t cut it any more.

    • Professor Kelsey is horrified to find “deplorables” on TDB! You think sanctimonious pronouncements will win them over?

      • Who would want to “win over” some of the people in this thread–I would though like to see a management statement, on posters that talk about “eating people” as if it is something to be seriously considered as a discussion point.

        If The Daily Blog policy is now “Anything Goes” please let all of us know it, so I can respond appropriately in my posts.

        • Who would want to win over some of the people on this thread? Here’s the thing, TM – winning people over (or keeping them onside) is kinda important if you want to win elections.

          I think you’ll find that most of the government’s critics on this site are former Labour voters who have been alienated by the Ardern government’s obsession with identity politics at the expense of virtually everything else, and by her dishonest concealment of (and obfuscation about) the so-called “co-governance” agenda. Why do you think we bother commenting on a left-wing blogsite?

          But I agree with you that comments about “eating people” are inflammatory and unhelpful.

  11. Chris Trotter Must have a lot of whanau living on Maori stolen lands which shows his heavy opposition to the Treaty of Waitangi and frequently visits far right sites like the NZCPR who is an anti-Maori organisation.

    • so does me visiting this left wing site and leaving comments make me a left winger? you need anger management

      ps NZCPR anti maori? proof please and that means facts not feels

    • Stephen,
      If a white person hate non-whites, is it racism?
      If a Maori person hates non-Maori, is it racism?
      If a white person lives on land that was once Maori land, is it theft?
      If a Maori person lives on land that was previously lived on by Maori dispossessed or killed during the musket wars period, is it theft?

      I would genuinely like to hear your answers to these questions, because I want to understand your position.

  12. 40 years ago,Martinbourgh,working decorating this serious old money mansion,lived round down the road,lunch we are having lunch,come and join,cause my trades skill back then was then scarce in rural then N.Z. SO polite talk in a area of rural desolation, how long have you been a trades man, ten years,then that how I planted those pine trees you drove back,twenty years later will have a valued wood crop,though Pine straight ten years will give our farm value.

Comments are closed.