PM urged to apologise to Ngāpuhi and ensure new flag has Māori influence

By Maiki Sherman

The MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Kelvin Davis, says John Key needs to apologise to Ngāpuhi when he attends Waitangi next week over his criticism of the Waitangi Tribunal report, which claims that Ngāpuhi did not cede sovereignty by signing the Treaty of Waitangi.

There's one week to go until the politicians arrive at Waitangi, and things are heating up with not only Kelvin Davis gearing up to lay down the challenge, but also kaumātua of Te Tii Marae, Kingi Taurua over a proposed new flag referendum by the PM.

“The finding was made by the Tribunal supporting Ngāpuhi but the Prime Minister doesn't want a bar of it.

He needs to apologise to Ngāpuhi for this insult,” says Kelvin Davis.

The Prime Minister says that's not going to happen.  "Well, he's entitled to his views but I stand on the views that I've said."

At the Te Paparahi o Te Rahi hearings inquiry, the Waitangi Tribunal concluded that Māori did not cede sovereignty.  However, the Prime Minister has dismissed those findings, saying the country's settlement was peaceful.

Taurua says, “If the Tribunal's findings aren't going to be adhered to, then disestablish them.  What a waste of time having them if the government doesn't support or take their recommendations into consideration.”

It's common knowledge that Waitangi will be bombarded with flags.  The challenge has been laid by Taurua, for Key's views on the flag.

“I put it to John Key, he needs to do his homework,” says Taurua.

Last year, Key dismissed the idea that a new flag should have Māori input.  He's sticking to his guns.

He says, "In the end there will be a range of views put forward.  New Zealanders will get to choose the alternative they want.”

Davis says, “If there aren't any Māori elements in the flag, then it is hardly a fair representation of this country holistically.  It's merely representative of a small portion of the population.”

Marama Fox is a part of the Cross Parliamentary Committee, establishing the referendum.

She says, “In the end, a referendum is needed.  They have the final say, so we all must get involved.”

It's certainly going to be an interesting week ahead at the home of the Treaty.