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Constitutional Change


The Government announced early in 2011 a cross-party review of constitutional arrangements in Aotearoa/New Zealand. At Yearly Meeting in 2011 the Treaty Relationships group presented a proposal for Monthly Meetings to engage in a process of learning and discussion about constitutional arrangements and the need for change so that we are able to enter a conversation on an informed basis with our networks, the wider community and with Māori at an appropriate time. It was recommended that this process take place over the period of the Government's review of constitutional arrangements from 2011 to 2013.
The Treaty Relationships Group pointed out that whilst they approached the issue of constitutional change initially through the ‘lens’ of the Treaty, there are other compelling reasons for Friends to push for change. While indigenous peoples’ rights are particularly vulnerable, it is not only the rights of Māori that the current constitutional arrangements fail to protect. There is similarly no protection for other New Zealanders’ human rights as can be been seen through the amount of legislation enacted that breaches a range of rights guaranteed under legally binding international human rights instruments. Furthermore, Friends along with many others have become increasingly concerned about how existing economic and financial systems are leading to exploitation of, and damage to, the environment. A number of nations including Bolivia and Ecuador have recently adopted constitutions that provide for protections of the environment.
Yearly Meeting endorsed the Treaty Relationships Group proposal and encouraged Monthly Meetings to use, amongst other things, the following resources provided by the Treaty Relationships Group.
You can download these below in pdf form and print some copies for your f/Friends or for your meeting.
"Constitutional Review: an Opportunity for Influence" presented at YM 2010. This paper includes links to further resources including the Terms of Reference for the Government Review:
"Our Constitutional System" which briefly sets out how the system works currently and why it does not work as well as it could:
"Constitutional Change in Aotearoa New Zealand - a Quaker View":
"Tanganta Whenua Rights and Constitutional Arrangements in Aotearoa":
Constitutional_Change_Statement.pdf82.34 KB
YM2011_TreatyRelationshipsGroup_Session.pdf155.64 KB
YM2011_Constitution_Handout.pdf391.95 KB
Treaty_constitutional_leaflet.pdf110.01 KB