The opposition and many in Māoridom have been critical of the Bill. Labour leader Chris Hipkins said the Bill was the Government “rewriting Te Tiriti”, accusing the Coalition on Wednesday of taking New Zealand backwards with its agenda.
Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi, who shared a leaked draft of the Principles Bill last week, accused the Coalition of wanting to “erase” Te Tiriti.
Then, on Saturday last week, up to 10,000 people responded to a call from Kiingi Tuheitia, the Māori King, to a national hui in reaction to the Coalition Government’s policies on Te Reo and the Treaty of Waitangi.
A key theme in Seymour’s speech was unity and the risk of division.
He talked about his summer break trip to the south of the United States. He said he asked dozens of Americans who they thought would win the 2024 US Election.
He said the most common answer was former US President Donald Trump, with Americans saying “life was better before” and because he has “steel balls” despite all the court cases and criminal charges he’s facing.
“Nothing sums up the retreat of democracy better than the extraordinary presidential election playing out in the United States,” he said.
“Democracy needs trust in its institutions. When half the people think the leading Republican nominee is corrupt and the other half think the justice system is corrupt for saying so, you have a problem of division.
“A divided America is bad news for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and all small countries. We will need to be much braver in a more dangerous world.”