While I’ve been encouraging everyone else to make a submission to the Constitutional Advisory Panel, I couldn’t remember if I’d made one myself! So a few hours before the deadline I have submitted these five points:
1. I support the retention of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa until we are able to have a proper discussion and agreement on a constitutional arrangement that recognises the rights of Māori/hapū as indigenous peoples and protects those rights within a document that provides less opportunity for diverse interpretation of meanings.
2. I support the need for clarification on the role and powers of local government and the need to shift as much power as possible to local level, closest to those most affected by decisions and away from a centralised system of governance.
3. I support the right to existence of autonomous, self-determined cultural, linguistic, religious and/or geographic groupings within the territory currently recognised as Aotearoa / New Zealand. These groups should be free to determine their own forms of regulation and taxation if they do not wish to receive and pay dues to the New Zealand Government or negotiate arrangements by mutual agreement.
4. I support changes in legislative and public policy decision-making that would result in much public participation and deliberation on decisions, particularly legislation and budgets. Direct democracy needs much more constitutional support and a move away from representative democracy will provide greater protections for citizens present and future, and hopefully the natural environment.
5. I support the need for constitutional recognition of the rights of nature and the environment – some would call it the rights of Mother Earth or Papatūānuku. Taking the rights to a peaceful existence of non-human life seems to be the next step in our development as a species and would radically improve our chances of survival in the future.