Friday, 13 February 2015

Reframing sovereignty

Having long been happy with the trend to recognise the Treaty of Waitangi as the foundation of our country, I've more recently become aware that it is inducing people to see sovereignty as an institution. I believe sovereignty ought to be vested in the people as a whole. Instead, the traditional practice of nations has been to vest it in the state - the historical rationale being that the state replaced the monarch, and the monarch was the origin of sovereign power.

What's wrong with this? The political left and right have an extensive track record of using state power to limit our attainment of human rights and freedom of expression. Not to mention mass exploitation via taxation without representation. We send them to parliament so they can get rich at taxpayers' expense and pretend to govern in our collective best interests. The collusion between left and right in the ancient control system works via the matrix, which provides a sufficient illusion of democracy to sustain public consent.

Exaltation of the Treaty in recent decades served to restore Maori tribal interests. However it seems to me that the Maori have a co-dependency relation with the British Crown which is not in the best interests of our people as a whole. Our multicultural future may be incompatible with our bicultural past if we adhere to the historic constitutional framework. Instead, we ought to consider the need to reframe sovereignty as a fundamental principle of democracy. We ought to reconstitute Aotearoa by vesting our sovereignty in all of our citizens as a collective whole.

I suggest therefore that we create a genuine progressive political movement in favour of constitutional reform as a national priority. This need not mean creating a republic; observation of the political evolution of the United States of America since the Eisenhower presidency informs us that it is such a flawed role model for republics as to make them seem little better than monarchies. Several years ago Prince Charles published his book “Harmony: a new way of looking at our world” and it reveals his extensive and authoritative track record as an avatar of the global green movement. Charles has therein proven himself both authentic and enterprising, the role model the world needs, and an entirely suitable exemplar and head of state for the British Commonwealth. I've had to rethink my long-standing dismissal of the royal family as irrelevant.

There's a middle way between republicanism and retention of the British Crown as our head of state. A prudent compromise would be to make the latter conditional upon general public satisfaction with the performance of any royal head of state. I suggest the constitutional clause to effect this should specify a plebiscite threshold of 2/3 of kiwi voters required to replace the hereditary royal system with a popular mandate for a kiwi head of state. The innovative change then results from a substantial majority deciding that the old system no longer serves the public.

Dennis Frank, 13/2/15