I will be the first to admit that I may have this wrong because it’s so astounding.
Last year in her capacity as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta signed us up to the UK/NZ Free Trade Deal.
So far, so good.
However in a recent debate with my good friend and fellow blogger Tim Selwyn, he made a claim that I simply couldn’t believe, yet on inspection, turns out to be true.
In the latest UK/NZ Free Trade deal, it says this in the preamble…
The NZ Crown has now succeeded the British Crown and assumed all rights and obligations under the Treaty?
Now I may be very ignorant and am about to be schooled by a whole range of Constitutional lawyers, but when did we allow the British Crown off the hook for its Treaty Obligations?
By having the NZ Crown assume all the obligations of the Treaty would be an enormous demotion of expectation from Māori!
It’s one thing having the British Crown on the hook for costs, a totally other thing to have the far more shallow (and biased) pockets of the NZ Crown.
Since when did we agree to this?
Was this agreed as part of the Free Trade Deal?
Were we forced into making this enormous concession to get the Free Trade Deal across the table, because the way this has just been announced in the Preamble is remarkable if true.
Now we could have signed some very old law that made this transfer but I don’t remember ever coming across this before*, and I don’t think anyone else noticed it when it was signed last year.
I read the bullet points, I didn’t read the preamble.
He’s lodged some OAIs asking for more material and background to this position to ensure we’ve got the right end of the stick here because if we were forced to sign a Free Trade deal and the preamble to that Free Trade deal was the succession of the British Crown to the NZ Crown, that seems to be a really big deal.
I’ve checked our Dominion Status when we went from a British Colony, the Balfour Declaration and the Statue of Westminster and I don’t see any succession of obligations from the the British Crown to the NZ Crown, again, there could be some over arching Constitutional law that I am utterly missing here, but the British Crown succeeding its obligations to the NZ Crown is a fucking enormous event if true, especially if it was forced through for this Free Trade Deal.
I could be wrong, and am happy to be schooled here, but I don’t think anyone has noticed this yet and if it means what I think it means, there are some very hard questions that need to be asked right away.
*UPDATE: I am wrong. Comrade Wayne Mapp has been kind enough to explain the specific Law that this applied to – it was signed in the 1980s – “the 1986 Constitution Act”.
This was seen as part of the evolution of our independence. That the Crown would be directly the Head of State of New Zealand, rather than being indirect. The change includes the heirs and successors, so our next Head of State will be King William.
Of course we can change this by having a local head of state directly chosen by the people of New Zealand. In theory this would just take an ordinary Act of Parliament. In practise it is recognised by all political parties that it would require a referendum.
Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.
If you can’t contribute but want to help, please always feel free to share our blogs on social media.