By Ellipsister (Co-Editor)
I’ve written on the flag change already. My position on that hasn’t changed. I’m no nationalist, but I do support giving equal status to the Māori flag as explicit recognition of the status of Māori as tangata whenua and as a positive step toward tino rangatiratanga. However, this post is about something different. It’s about the tin foil that has rolled out all over Facebook over the past week proclaiming the removal of the Union Jack will a) render the Treaty of Waitangi null and void and b) enable John Key to legally sign the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Its bunk. The writer has either relied on the reader not clicking on the link to the document cited to intentionally mislead the reader, or has not understood how to read the document.
Here is a screenshot from the post:
Note, the writer has insinuated that the document identifies the Union Jack as “core” to our current system of government and this is what he builds his theory around. What the document actually says is:
And at 12:
The Union Jack is symbolic only and removing it from the New Zealand flag will not affect the the status of this country as a constitutional monarchy, i.e. it does not remove the Queen as our Head of State. Moreover, it is the government that manages the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty so changing the symbol will not null and void the Treaty of Waitangi (an issue for another day is actually a discussion about the Māori text and the English text. We often talk about these documents interchangeably but they contain significant differences in the language used and as Ani Mikaere has argued they are not reconcilable despite a great deal of treaty jurisprudence suggesting they could be).
Changing the flag also does not legalise “John Key’s” ability to sign the TPPA. The Executive already has ‘the power to take binding treaty action (that is, ratification, accession, acceptance, approval, withdrawal or denunciation or, in the case of bilateral treaties, signature)’ provided it can pass the legislation to implement the treaty in New Zealand’s domestic law.
As you can tell, I am wholly unconvinced by the haki conspiracy. What I will make clear is that:
- I oppose the signing of the TPPA and a raft of other multilateral treaties that seek to meta-regulate the trading environment, in such a way that advantages multinational corporations at the expense of small business owners and entrepreneurs, especially in their local markets.
- I consider that the rights of Māori as tangata whenua are not packaged up in The Treaty (whichever version) but are sourced from our continued relationships with our whenua that have been shaped over many centuries pre- and post-colonisation and as such I support the building of alternative social institutions that will render statist institutions obsolete and would champion this country asserting its independence by cutting ties with the monarchy.
- I am increasingly suspicious of the motivations of any person that suggests the symbol of the Union Jack in this country represents anything other than the colonisation of Māori and the devastation of our culture.