Turia wrong on Treaty oath says historian
Historian and AUT Professor Dr. Paul Moon has questioned Tariana Turia’s claim that MPs ought to be able to swear
allegiance to the Treaty of Waitangi on the basis that it is the founding document of our present system of government.
Ms Turia claimed that “the Treaty that provides us with the foundations for our Parliament today”, and supported Hone
Harawira’s desire to pledge his allegiance to the Treaty.
However, Dr. Moon says that Turia has her history wrong. “Governor Hobson only vaguely alluded in the Treaty to it
aiming to introduce a “settled form of Civil Government”. There was certainly no mention of Parliamentary democracy in
this”, he says.
“Moreover,” says Dr. Moon, “the system of government founded by the Treaty was a benign colonial dictatorship. For over
a decade afterwards, governors ruled autocratically through ordinances, which could be upheld by force if necessary, and
he was accountable only to his superiors in the Colonial Office in London”.
He says that the origins of our current form of government lie in the 1852 New Zealand Constitution Act, which was
passed in London, and which, he points out “ignored the Treaty altogether.”