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Guest lecture

Treaty Claims in a Democracy: Policy, Rights, Negotiation, Funding, Limits

Event series: 

Dr Andrew Ladley

Victoria University

Dr Andrew Ladley is a public lawyer with a background in academia, international peace operations and coalition-management in the New Zealand government. Since 2003, he has been the Director of the Institute of Policy Studies in the School of Government at Victoria University. The IPS has a long engagement with Treaty matters, including the publication of 6 monographs. Some of the issues discussed in this paper are extracted from a series of articles that will appear in the new IPS electronic journal commencing in February 2005, Policy Quarterly (


It will argue that some of the major concepts (eg 'the Crown', 'sovereignty', and 'one law for all') in the debate on Māori claims for tino rangatiratanga/self determination, are 'straw barriers' to progress. The implications of a long-term (even perpetual) 'grief/grievance-led' process need to be understood. Because of the Treaty, Māori tribes (not necessarily all Māori) are indeed distinctive 'claimers' in the New Zealand state and on the taxpayer. But there are many other 'claimers' in this democracy and this alone limits the distinctiveness of Māori, and any other, 'rights-based' claims. There is a lack of conceptual clarity in all this, as a result of which New Zealand risks policy confusion, eg where historical settlements overlap current policy. This lays the ground for backlash, which risks bad policy and political outcomes. The paper argues the need for a new and shared framework for an ongoing process of negotiating relationships, claims and taxpayer funding for such.

Last updated: 
Friday, 26 October 2007