Treaty reforms stir controversy in NZ as conservative government takes charge

Treaty of Waitangi reforms spark debate within coalition government as activists take to the streets.

Treaty reforms stir controversy in NZ as conservative government takes charge
PM Christopher Luxon accepts the wero at Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Picture: RNZ
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Thousands in New Zealand gathered to protest against proposed Treaty of Waitangi reforms. The protesters took to the streets of Wellington, asserting their support for the Treaty of Waitangi and opposing potential alterations proposed by the newly elected conservative government.

"We're here to support the Treaty of Waitangi. It's a founding document for our nation. We don't want anything to change," expressed one protester.

Simultaneously, tens of thousands gathered in Waitangi, marking New Zealand's national day. Amid passionate speeches, government officials faced vocal opposition, with chants in the Māori language drowning out their messages.

The proposed Treaty of Waitangi reforms, aimed at altering the interpretation of the treaty, have provoked intense backlash from some in the Māori community.

"We want to let the government know people aren't going to put up with it," declared another protester interviewed by Sky News.

The Act Party, led by David Seymour, has spearheaded the Treaty Principle Bill, seeking to define the treaty's principles within parliament. However, leaked documents revealing potential changes have ignited fury, with critics labelling the policies as "anti-Maori" and "white supremacist".

Disagreements within the coalition government persist, with differing stances on the proposed reforms. While the Act Party pushes for a referendum, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon warns against divisive measures, emphasising the need for constructive dialogue.

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