NPM researcher and University of Auckland Law Associate Professor Dr Claire Charters (Ngāti Whakaue, Tūwharetoa, Ngāpuhi and Tainui) laid out Aotearoa’s dual legal systems and the government’s obligations to both in these uncertain times, in a recently published op-ed piece in The Spinoff.
"The Covid-19 era is like a fast-moving picture which perpetually develops and re-develops. The picture adjusts with ever-changing information on the relevant health-science, the impact on the economy, the need for restrictions on movement, and the openness of our borders into the future. Where does our rock, New Zealand’s constitutional foundation, te Tiriti o Waitangi fit in all of this? Right in the centre, together with He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples".
Kerensa Johnston (Ngāti Tama, Ngāruahine, Ngāti Whāwhakia) is board chair of NPM and chief executive of Wakatū Incorporation, based in Nelson. She has recently published two op-eds in E-Tangata, the first of which asked who has the authority to make decisions, especially in times of emergency? Our elected representatives and their officials assume it’s them, but the further you get from Lambton Quay and the so-called corridors of power, the less this holds true.
"Whether you’re in the north, or on the East Coast of the North Island, or in other parts of Aotearoa where hapū and iwi hold the balance of power, the leaders in those communities will exercise their own authority to make decisions in the best interests of their community".
The second article talks about doing the right thing in the post Covid-19 world. "New Zealand’s response to the pandemic has been world-leading in many ways. But if we want to lead the world in building a new and durable society after Covid-19, then the principles of manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga, alongside rangatiratanga, need to be front and centre in our policy and constitutional future".