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.
Supporting the Bill to its first reading was part of the post-election Coalition deal between ACT, National and NZ First and a compromise on Seymour’s proposed referendum on the matter.
The idea of a referendum on the Treaty principles was floated by Seymour during the election campaign. But Luxon, before the election, described that proposal as “divisive and not helpful”.
Debate about the Treaty turned heated last week when Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi shared a leaked drafted of the Principles Bill and accused the Coalition of wanting to “erase” Te Tiriti.
Then, on Saturday, up to 10,000 people responded to an earlier 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.
On Wednesday, the Government was described as a “three-headed taniwha” and the “enemy of Māori” – as Rātana Pā attendees sent the Coalition a clear message not to mess with the Treaty.
“The Government has no plans, and never has had plans, to amend or to revise the Treaty or the Treaty settlements that we have all worked so hard together to achieve,” Luxon said on Wednesday.
He later told reporters he was looking forward to creating better outcomes for Māori.
“When I look at health outcomes, when I look at education outcomes, when I look at housing outcomes, when I look at economic outcomes, those are the opportunities that you actually have in Government to actually improve outcomes for Māori,” Luxon said.
“That’s what I’ve spent my time talking about today… and that’s what we’ll continue to across the country.
“What a lot of our conversation has been in the series of meetings that I’ve had with iwi leaders up and down the country is… more importantly, what are we doing about two-thirds of Māori kids not at school regularly at the moment? What are we doing about actually making sure that we have our kids set up to go and to be able to get well educated to do well?