Indigenous self-determination key to unlocking better future

Data released today by the Human Rights Measurement Initiative shows why land must be returned to tangata whenua, the Green Party says. 

“When Indigenous Peoples have control over their lives and territories, we all do better,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for Pacific Peoples, Teanau Tuiono. 

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative has provided scores in relation to the climate crisis, indigenous sovereignty, indigenous lands, cultural rights and violence across 13 countries in the Pacific. Aotearoa ranks below other Pacific countries on most measures, especially land and indigenous sovereignty.

“The Green Party’s vision is of the Aotearoa our ancestors imagined when they signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

“To achieve this, we need to continue to focus on the right to self-determination and strengthen the ability for us to live as whānau and hapū. 

“It comes as little surprise that after nearly two centuries of land dispossession - enabled by Crown policy - Aotearoa scores so low. 

“Successive Governments have fallen far short of the promise of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the guarantee of Tino Rangatiratanga and the right to self-determination here in Aotearoa.

“We see the effects of this in everything from the number of Māori constrained by poverty, to the harm that has been done to our natural world. 

“Research shows a clear link between the self-rule or sovereignty of indigenous nations and their prosperity. 

“When Indigenous Peoples can make their own decisions about what development approaches to take, they thrive.  

“Indigenous People consistently do better than external decision makers on matters as diverse as natural resource management, economic development, health care, and social service provision. 

“The way things work in Aotearoa via the Treaty Settlement process is the bare minimum of what is needed. 

“Right now, Māori settle land claims for very little and the real questions of Tino Rangatiratanga and Mana Motuhake don’t even make the conversation. 

“Even calls for co-governance are just about ensuring that there is a Māori voice at the decision making table, rather than enabling genuine self-determination,” says Teanau Tuiono. 

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