What are the Treaty “principles”?

The Treaty stood for 135 years until 1975 when the then-Labour Government passed the Treaty of Waitangi Act. The Treaty of Waitangi Act stated the Treaty had principles, and it was the job of the Waitangi Tribunal to interpret them. Since then, the Tribunal, the courts, and the public service have gradually built up the principles, but New Zealanders as a whole have never been democratically consulted on these Treaty principles.

The Treaty Principles Bill will not change the Treaty itself. That was set in 1840 and will remain forever. What we are seeking to do is continue the process of defining the Treaty principles, for the first time incorporating the voices of all people through a democratic Parliamentary process, instead of through the Tribunal or the courts.