According to TVNZ, the Prime Minister said section nine of the SOE legislation, referring to the Treaty of Waitangi, was “largely symbolic” because it had not been enacted since it was drawn up in 1986. It wasn’t a felicitous phrase; he might well find Maoridom’s response is both symbolic and large, if not in the sense he meant.
We’ve had a few such large symbolic responses from Maoridom to perceived attempts to change Treaty rights in my time; the last being the hikoi against Labour’s foreshore and seabed legislation. Many pakeha also don’t want to go back to the old divide. The most “elegant solution” for the government may well be to leave Clause 9 as it is.
So early in the year this is National’s first stumble on the path to privatisation. There will be many more.