The articles of the Treaty of Waitangi

Journalists caught out some politicians yesterday on their lack of specific knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi.

1 News: Jacinda Ardern fumbles over what Treaty of Waitangi articles say – ‘Article One? On the spot?’

Newshub:  PM Jacinda Ardern stumbles when asked to recite Treaty of Waitangi articles

James Shaw also admitted not knowing the details. I don’t think this is a big deal, but it does show that even some our leaders are not as familiar with New Zealand’s most important document as we might expect.

Following this there have been calls for far better teaching of New Zealand history in schools.

RNZ: History teachers decry ‘shameful’ ignorance of colonial, Māori history

In the lead-up to Waitangi Day, history teachers are calling for compulsory teaching of New Zealand’s Māori and colonial history in schools, but government representatives are rejecting the idea.

The chairperson of the History Teachers’ Association, Graeme Ball, said the number of people who learned about New Zealand’s history was shameful and the association had launched a petition to change that.

The petition called on Parliament to pass a law to “make compulsory the coherent teaching of our own past across appropriate year levels in our schools”.

“Too few New Zealanders have a sound understanding of what brought the Crown and Māori together in the 1840 Treaty, or of how the relationship played out over the following decades.

“We believe it is a basic right of all to learn this at school (primary and/or secondary) and that students should be exposed to multiple perspectives and be enabled to draw their own conclusions from the evidence presented in line with good historical practice,” the petition said.

But (RNZ): Ministers reject compulsory curriculum idea

At Waitangi, the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, told reporters that children should learn about the Treaty of Waitangi.

“I would certainly have an expectation and a hope that it is learnt across our schools,” she said.

“This is our country, it is part of our history, it is our founding document as a nation, our students should be learning about it.”

But the associate minister of education and minister of Crown Māori relations, Kelvin Davis, was quick to quash any impression the government might make the topic compulsory.

“In terms of the teaching of Te Tiriti in schools, remember that schools are self-governing, self-managing. It’s inappropriate for governments to come along and dictate specifics of what’s taught in schools,” he said.

New Zealand First MP Shane Jones said it was up to schools to decide what they taught but he expected most, if not all, would teach students about the Treaty of Waitangi.

What’s wrong with compulsory New Zealand history? All here should read…

The three articles of the Treaty of Waitangi

…and in case you also didn’t learn Māori at school (from Teara) here is the official English version:

Article the first
The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof.

Article the second
Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.

Article the third
In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.

…for some reason there’s a recent translation…

The First
The chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs who have not joined that Confederation give absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the complete government over their land.

The Second
The Queen of England agrees to protect the chiefs, the subtribes and all the people of New Zealand in the unqualified exercise of their chieftainship over their lands, villages and all their treasures. But on the other hand the chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs will sell land to the Queen at a price agreed to by the person owning it and by the person buying it (the latter being) appointed by the Queen as her purchase agent.

The Third
For this agreed arrangement therefore concerning the government of the Queen, the Queen of England will protect all the ordinary people of New Zealand and will give them the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England.

…and demonstrate your knowledge of our Tiriti in comments.

IRD paid for Spinoff articles

Commercial media have to find ways of getting revenue for their work, but there have been a questionable series of articles tax articles at The Spinoff, funded by IRD to the tune of $40,000, according to OIA discoveries by the Taxpayers’ Union.

Tax Villains: The Spinoff Breach $40,000 Agreement With IRD

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that The Spinoff have broken the terms of their agreement with IRD to publish content in their Tax Heroes project.

The Tax Heroes project, which featured a number of articles from writers associated with The Spinoff, intended to highlight the public good of paying taxes, and in doing so promote compliance with tax obligations among the public.

Due to an official information request, the Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that The Spinoff was paid $40,000 ($46,000 including GST) by the IRD to publish the series.

The IRD is required to be politically neutral – especially so for matters currently under consideration by Sir Michael Cullen’s Tax Working Group.

The Spinoff’s contract with the IRD specifically states: The Spinoff agrees not to refer to any political party or their policies in the content.

However, an IRD-branded article by Maria Slade, published on 31 March, ignores the contractual obligation.

This article, titled Why the lack of a capital gains tax is letting property companies off lightly, names Labour along with a click baity baby reference, in the same sentence as it mentions a capital gains tax:

Whether New Zealand should introduce a capital gains tax is set to be almost as hot a topic in Labour’s first term as the prime minister’s pregnancy.

The Taxpayers’ Union claims:

The article “Why the lack of a capital gains tax is letting property companies off lightly” advocates for a Green Party policy, a capital gains tax, violating the agreement.

I thought it was also a Labour party policy. A quick check id Labour’s Tax Plan proves this.

  • Set up a Tax Working Group, to ensure that there is a better and fairer balance between the taxation of income and assets, in particular the capital gain associated with property speculation.

The fact that IRD funded articles like this at at The Spinoff, and how many articles were funded, are also potential issues.

Other overtly political articles bear the ‘Tax Heroes’ tag, but without IRD branding. IRD and The Spinoff must explain whether any of these articles were paid for with taxpayer funds.

If not, and IRD funding was only used for the articles labeled ‘partner content’, then the cost per article was approximately $6,600 – which seems extraordinary.

If Whale Oil had been found to have been paid to post things favourable for National last term, or NZ First this term (they haven’t been as far as I’m aware), I’m sure there would be some jumping up and down in some quarters.

It seems odd to me that IRD would pay substantial amounts of money for online media posts promoting the paying of tax regardless of whether agreements were violated.