Waatea News Column: Why shouldn’t Māori have their own Parliament?


I do not believe for one moment that the call for a Māori Parliament wouldn’t have gained the traction it has if it wasn’t for this current Government’s Māori bashing agenda.

The NZ Right have reacted to a Māori Parliament with universal snarls of sedition and treason which only manages to add insult to injury.

The righteousness of Māori vs the self-righteousness of this Government is locked in a vortex and no one is backing down.

We need calmer arguments and smarter strategy while responding to the immediate needs of those who are carrying the full weight of the cost of living crisis!

As a politics geek, I have always believed an upper chamber split 50-50 between Māori representatives and Pakeha that would act like an upper house over all legislation that impacts the Treaty.

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I see our hybrid institutions and cultures as a strength to New Zealand, not a weakness!

There are many examples of indigenous Parliaments around the world, the idea is not controversial.

This is a Parliament, not a Government, so the mutterings of Treason are overblown and ignorant.

If a Māori Parliament enabled itself, it could speak with a great voice and critique legislation passing through the actual Government.

While we consider a Māori Parliament, let’s also consider bringing back universal student Unions and make all migrant workers covered by the CTU.

We need more democratic infrastructures, not less and as people feel real economic friction, we need those collective values and community hubs to be supported like never before.

A Māori Parliament could provide a clear voice that demands more social investment and calls for values beyond profit margins.

The fact it is ruled out without even consideration highlights the partisan polarization of politics we face and it requires smarter ways in building alliances between all those being impacted by this Government’s extreme agenda.

First published on Waatea News.


  1. The problem with a Maori Parliament is that unless we go fully down the path of Separatism then it becomes just an irrelevant token. TPM don’t want their own room where they can gather and talk. They want their own government with control of 20% of the tax revenue. They want sovereignty over their people, as promised them in Te Tiriti, and do not recognize the authority of the white settler governmental structures that they are, perversely, currently a part of.
    TPM are a radical party with an extreme view on how our country should be organized. That’s fine and is a great part of how an open liberal democracy should be. But before the liberal and leftist descendants of this country’s settlers start voicing support they might like to consider how much support for Separatism there is among Maori themselves. This is currently not known.
    A quick search showed me that in 2018 of Maori who were enrolled, 52.4% were on the Maori roll and 47.6% on the general roll. Further, in the last election, Labour significantly out polled TPM in all Maori electorates for the Party vote. Strategic voting or not this does not suggest undying support for TPM.

    • Obviously Maori opinion covers the full gamut. For a start, for the first 35 years of British colonial rule in New Zealand the colonial regime depended on the support of Maori and would have failed without it. Maori then continued to play an important role in the global defence of the British empire through the First and Second World Wars, and the wars in Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine. Maori have occupied the highest offices in the state and its military, intelligence, and civil services. However this alignment with the colonialist regime, more apparent in some iwi than others, was always predicated on the idea that it is “the price of citizenship”. At some point the question will be asked whether it is a price worth paying. In fact that question is always present in the Maori mind, even if it is not always articulated. The Maori attitude to separate representation is also pragmatic, more often than not. A lot of tactical voting goes on. In the past thirty years Maori have variously put their weight behind Labour, New Zealand First, the Maori Party/Te Pati Maori and the Mana Party. It would be wrong for the colonialists to conclude from all this that they have the loyalty of Maori, or that Maori are fully accepting of colonialism. The opposite is the case. The colonialist state still needs Maori more than Maori need the state. That is why the Treaty of Waitangi is an issue and that is why “co-governance” came on the political agenda. It would be a mistake to think that this is just about numbers. It has to do with the fact that as Pakeha culture has suffered from the onslaught of globalist (Anglo-American) culture and political ideologies, Maoritanga has become the one remaining alternative to colonialism, in terms of social structures, culture and ideology. So even though Maori constitute only 20% of the population, they must be fully co-opted into the system if the system is to feel secure. Te Pati Maori represent Maori who ambivalently collaborate with colonialism. That is to say they are inside the tent, Te Whare Paremata. The system gives them a platform and resources. (Of course not their only platform, or their only resources). At the same time, their rhetoric challenges the system. The colonialists took Apirana Ngata for granted. For decades the Labour Party took Maori/Ratana support for granted. If you take the collaborators for granted, and then you ignore those whose position seems ambivalent, the consequence will be separatism, or, from the colonialist perspective, something much worse than separatism. That is, you may see Maori leading a broad nationalist movement which threatens the very existence of the colonialist regime.

  2. With so many Maori elected into normal seats why do we need special seats for the Maori. They have a voice and should not need a separate group in parliament. to represent them. Country as small as NZ cannot afford the expense of two parliament with all the extra public servants it would require

  3. If you genuinely want a Māori Parliament, first you will need to change the Government to have a better chance of achieving it.

    This current Government has no intention of setting up a Māori Parliament, regardless how many times people hit the streets.

    Therefore, protesting now is a waste of time when you should first be focusing on working to change the current Government.

    And to better assist in achieving that, Te Pāti Māori should have produced an alternative Budget rather than wasting time organising protests that won’t achieve the stated goal.

    Furthermore, these protests run the real risk of inflaming trouble.

      • Absolutely not on Chairman.
        The protesters would agree, after all protesting is not their raison d’etre.

        FIFY Bob the Fart

  4. Absolutely no reason why not. Am surprised that so little in pre planning has occurred to date to make this happen.

    Is the electoral roll database for the Maori parliament conceived, populated and ready?
    Are electoral boundaries set?
    Is the location for the Maori parliament established?
    Is the funding for the Maori parliament in place?
    Is the makeup (MP numbers, PM election, Minister pro folios and pay rates etc.) off the Maori parliament decided upon?

    Once these are in place will Te Pati Maori resign from the New Zealand parliament?
    Can the New Zealand parliament unburden itself for the need of the now redundant Maori electorates?
    What is the time frame for the first members session in the Maori parliament?

    If Maori do not make the Maori parliament happen the reason will sole be on Maoridom. Not on any other New Zealander.

    Colonialism is not an excuse to not make this happen.

  5. In answer to your question in the title: Because the Maori Party don’t represent Maori.
    They represent approximately one sixth of those on the Maori roll and most Maori prefer to remain on the general roll.

  6. The cocept of parliment in modern democratic countries is that it is the legislative body that makes the laws we all have to abide by. It is not obvious how there could be two parlements opperating in the same jurisdiction. The functions and purpose , and the authority that would be carried by a Maori parliment within New Zealand would neeed to be clearly identified before any publicly acceptable decisions could be made about it.
    On the surface I can’t see any objection to Maori having a parlement to discuss and adjudicate their own affairs that did not encroach unduly on the affairs of others.. We don’t want a country where rules are made that give one rule to one race and another rule for others. that’s not to say historic injustices under anyone’s
    rules should not be addressed .
    D J S

  7. As David Stone points out, a “Maori parliament” will not work as an adjunct to the present colonialist parliamentary legislature. Neither does a racially selected “upper house” make sense to me, though Martyn is welcome to explain how it might work. One problem is that “All legislation that impacts the Treaty” could mean all legislation, period, or no legislation at all, depending on one’s point of view.
    There would be no advantage to having a “Maori parliament” which replicates the profoundly dysfunctional aspects of the Westminster system, such as fixed terms of office, uniform-sized geographical constituencies, the secret ballot and so on.
    The solution is for Maori to reconstitute the whakaminenga, functioning under the principles of rangatiratanga, and then to enlist the participation of other groups. That would be a huge step forward for democracy in this country, everyone would benefit and the colonialist system would rapidly become obsolescent.

    • In order for a Maori parliament to function in a Maori way you could not have geographical constituencies of uniform size, you could not have a fixed term of office, and you probably would not have a secret ballot. But there is one other way in which a Maori parliament would have to be different to the colonialist parliament, and that is with regard to the oath of allegiance. In the colonialist system all members of parliament must swear allegiance to King Charles. The point is to force acceptance of the fundamental principle of the colonialist state, which is that it exists to keep New Zealand as a subordinate member of the Anglo-American imperial order.
      Maori have a different view of the world. A Maori leader sees his or her duty and allegiance being to hapu and iwi rather than to some person or institution based in London or Washington. This is one of the principles of rangatiratanga (also a fundamental principle of democracy) which cuts right across the raison d’etre of colonialism. To Maori authority comes from below, it comes from the people themselves, and that is why Maori members of parliament have consistently tried to resist the demand that they swear allegiance to King Charles or his predecessor Queen Elizabeth. So it is inconceivable that the members of a Maori parliament could be required to swear allegiance to a British sovereign, and for the same reason it is only barely conceivable that a Maori parliament can ever be instituted as a component of the colonialist political system.


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