He referred to the Seabed and Foreshore legislation when feelings and emotions also ran hot over an issue.
“But the most important thing is that the country voted for a reset. Now the final shape and form of the reset in respect of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi – that’s work in play.
“But it’s best that people turn down the rhetorical hyperbole and engage in a constructive [way] that meets the needs of all New Zealanders.”
No New Zealander should fear debate, he said.
There was a range of views on the purpose of the Principles of the Treaty and the roles the iwi and the Waitangi Tribunal would play over the next 15 years.
In regard to the Treaty Principles Bill, Jones said the Treaty was separate from the Principles – the latter had been promoted by Sir Geoffrey Palmer and the Labour Party from 1985 onwards.
The Treaty was the country’s foundation document, however, it had been “distorted” by some decisions made by the courts and the Waitangi Tribunal whose members wanted to write a new constitution.
The Waitangi Tribunal’s writ would be reviewed, as per the coalition agreement, he said.
Jones cited a figure of 60 to 70 percent of Māori children not going to school regularly which should be of more concern to Māoridom than “the rantings” of the Waitangi Tribunal, he said.