Waitangi 2024 – What did Nanaia sign us up to here and does this mean what I think it means? Has NZ allowed British Crown to walk away from its obligations?


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

…wait, what?

The NZ Crown has now succeeded the British Crown and assumed all rights and obligations under the Treaty?

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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.

Tim first blogged about it here and he’s continued today here.

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”.

He notes:

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.

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  1. King Charles III is the King of New Zealand, as was his mother, Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand. That change was done in the 1980’s in the 1986 Constitution Act and the relevant redraft of the Letters Patent. 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.

    • Wayne, the matter is succeeded to the Treaty per se. I am stating that the only explicit written thing in existence FROM THE UK that says the “NZ Crown” has succeeded Britain to the Treaty of Waitangi is this FTA. The Constitution Act, Letters Patent etc do not explicitly say anything about the Treaty whereas the FTA does and is ambiguous about how and when it had occurred precisely because it has not occurred. And what validity does such an agreement between the UK and NZ have if the Maori “partner” parties have had no knowledge or consent to the change of partner?

      You see why the NZ government’s Treaty settlement programme is so important to the sovereignty issue – because each deal says the tribe accepts the NZ CROWN as sovereign- not the UK.

  2. Why not just ask Nanaia?
    I’m sure she would clarify, not being facetious here, I’m pretty sure she would answer an email if you sent one asking for her opinion on the matter/clarification?

  3. Good luck getting any money from the British Crown under any circumstances for the Treaty, irrespective of what agreements NZ signed.

    • Money really got you stuck. Something money can’t buy. Let’s say New Zealand was attacked for whatever reason I would expect the U.K. be the first to send a carrier strike group.

      • Britain doesn’t have a carrier strike group.
        We might be helped by the Australians, just to stop a hostile nation having a NZ base of operations against Australia.

  4. Probably when the NZ Crown became functionally independent from the British Crown.

    Definitely by the time we lost British citizenship – which by the way also renegs on the Treaty.

    And confirmed by none other than the Waitangi Tribunal in their decision on Māori ceding sovereignty, which went on to conclude that the NZ Crown nevertheless is sovereign.

    P.S. you need to stop using AI, because why is that Māori warrior Roman?

  5. Oh God please don’t let the Head of State fall to election/dissection by we citizens.

    We are presently clutching the failing fabric of the country, and the UK itself isn’t doing so well but I have no expectation that we would do better, even if we had the means to do so. The proof is here with Roger Douglas and his Smug Cabal and seductive economic advisors and the billionaires and corpses that have sucked out our juices literally with water, also our assets and finally our hard-built effort to distribute reasonably the wealth and income received throughout the nation.

    We’ve had this. Would further changes be our death knell?
    In 1984, Roger Douglas was made Minister of Finance, with two associate ministers of finance, David Caygill and Richard Prebble. They became known as the “Treasury Troika” or the “Troika”, and became the most powerful group in Cabinet.[32] Douglas was the strategist, Prebble the tactician, while Caygill mastered the details. With Caygill the “nice cop” and Prebble the “nasty cop”, Douglas could sometimes appear as steering a considered middle course. Later Trevor de Cleene was made undersecretary to Douglas, with special responsibility for Inland Revenue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogernomics

    Churchill may not have said this: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” He said a lot about democracy, not so definite. https://richardlangworth.com/worst-form-of-government

    Some wide-ranging thoughts from the 2nd President of the United States when they were still monitoring themselves and not as comfortable as now, though never satiated.

    “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right … and a desire to know.
    —John Adams, 1765
    “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
    —John Adams
    “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”
    — (John Adams, a remarkable political philosopher, served as the second President of the United States (1797-1801), after serving as the first Vice President …(The White House.gov)

    —Theodore Parker “Let the people think they govern and they will be governed.”
    —Lord Acton “The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.”

    (Lastly does this apply to NZ/AO? Is it relevant?*)
    “In the United States, the government is intended to be a government of men. A corporation is not a citizen with a right to vote or take a hand otherwise in politics. It is an artificial creation, brought into existence by favor of the State solely to perform the functions allowed by its charter. Interference by it with the state and attempts by it to exercise rights of citizens are fundamentally a perversion of its power. Its stockholders, no matter how wise or how rich, should be forced to exercise their political influence as individuals on an equality with other men. That is the basic principle of democracy.”
    —The Tribune, 1904

    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood
    Corporate personhood or juridical personality is the legal notion that a juridical person such as a corporation, separately from its associated human beings (like owners, managers, or employees), has at least some of the legal rights and responsibilities enjoyed by natural persons. In most countries, a corporation has the same rights as a natural person to hold property, enter into contracts, and to sue or be sued.
    Granting non-human entities personhood is a Western concept applied to corporations.

    (Finally, to cut the cackle):
    “Knowledge—Zzzzzp! Money—Zzzzzp!—Power! That’s the cycle democracy is built on!”
    —Tennessee Williams


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