In an election campaign that has so far been largely a bidding contest over who can fund the most “shovel-ready projects”, create the most jobs and support the most apprentices post-Covid, many commentators have bemoaned the absence of any visionary debate about the type of New Zealand we want to become.
It was therefore refreshing to see the Māori party announce its Mana Motuhake policy this week. As far as timing goes, the policy hasn’t gained a lot of media attention. The news has been dominated by the Serious Fraud Office’s charging of two individuals in connection with the New Zealand First Foundation, a new poll and the second leaders’ debate. Many also think the Māori party is inconsequential in 2020, sitting only on 1–1.5% party vote support in public opinion polls, and not looking like they are going to win back any electorate seats.
However, this new policy is not something to be ignored.
The Māori party’s policy is a 25-year way forward to improve the outcomes of whānau Māori that the mainstream major parties have failed to deliver on. It is based on Māori asserting their right to self-management, self-determination and self-governance over all their domains. Amongst its main recommendations is an end to mainstream management of matters Māori, abolishing full and final Treaty of Waitangi settlements, buying back land for whānau, hapū and iwi, handing back all conservation land to hapū and iwi, and all Māori joining the Māori electorate roll over the next three years.