Next steps for Declaration plan on indigenous rights

Māori Development

Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has today announced the next steps in developing a national plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration).

 The work builds on the previous National Government’s decision to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and will enhance our partnership with Māori.

 “It’s appropriate we’re at my marae, a cultural focal point for South Auckland Māori, to discuss a Declaration plan. For over 30 years Ngā Whare Waatea Marae has been a place for the local community to come together to plan for the future,” Willie Jackson said.

 In the next phase, the Government will work through a two-step process, which will begin with targeted engagement over the next few months with key iwi and significant Māori organisations on how they wish to be involved. This will be followed by wide public consultation with New Zealanders on a draft Declaration plan.

 “The time is right to develop a plan that measures our progress in advocating for Māori in real and meaningful ways. This must reflect New Zealand and it’s an important conversation for us to all have together as a nation.

 “As we have previously said He Puapua is not government policy nor the basis of a declaration plan. Instead, it is a starting point for discussion,” Willie Jackson said.

 New Zealand’s position has continued to be that the Declaration must satisfy several fundamental requirements including:

·       Being consistent with international law, and New Zealand law and policy;

·       Protecting the rights of all citizens; and

·       Safeguarding territorial integrity and political unity, as well as the responsibility of all democratically elected governments to govern for the welfare of all their citizens.

 New Zealand is one of 148 countries that support the Declaration. Globally there is increased momentum to improve outcomes for indigenous peoples in areas such as health, education, and housing.

 “This Government is focused on improving the wellbeing of Māori communities, addressing inequity issues for Māori and fulfilling our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and this is one part of that mahi.

 “We will report back to Cabinet at critical points and expect to have a draft Declaration plan for wider public consultation next year,” Willie Jackson said.