Govt blocks opportunity for He Puapua writers

Yesterday, Government Labour Party members, the Green Party and the Māori Party voted down my motion in the Māori Affairs Select Committee that the Committee receive a briefing on the He Puapua report from its authors, National’s Treaty Negotiations spokesperson Joseph Mooney says.

“A Declaration Working Group (DWG) was set up by Labour in 2019 and consisted of five non-state representatives and four government officials.

“The DWG delivered the He Puapua report at the end of 2019 to then-Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and set out a timeline of milestones. Labour spent the next couple of years keeping the document under wraps until they were unable to deny its existence earlier this year.

“The He Puapua report is a matter of significant public interest and has been the subject of much discussion. It is very disappointing that Government members blocked a briefing to Parliament by the authors of the report.

“It is vital, on an issue which has generated a high level of interest, that members of Parliament and the public have an opportunity to hear directly from the authors of the report on their thinking and recommendations.

“The Government promised transparency, and all New Zealanders deserve an opportunity to understand and engage in the key issues proposed in the He Puapua report.

“However, yesterday’s vote unfortunately underlined Labour’s tendency to control the flow of information and attempt to shut down debate on issues of importance to New Zealanders.

“One of the report’s authors, Claire Charters, told media that she wished the report was used as an instrument to have a genuine discussion about what realising our international obligations and what Te Tiriti o Waitangi requires.

“However, the Government only appears to believe that free speech and the open discussion of ideas should apply to things they agree with, or when they can control the political agenda.

“It is unclear whether their vote to stop the He Puapua authors from talking to the Māori Affairs Select Committee was because they disagree with the report, or because they couldn’t control the political narrative.

“Either way, it is a very disappointing that they stopped the authors of He Puapua from talking to members of Parliament and the people of New Zealand on a matter of great national interest to everyone.”