United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Twenty-Second Session Item 5(d): Thematic Dialogue – Human Rights dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Statement delivered by John Ineleo-Phillips on behalf of Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development)

Tēnā tātou katoa, greetings to you all.

We thank the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism for their presentations today and wish to reiterate Aotearoa New Zealand’s support for their ongoing work and contributions towards advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Since last year, the Government has continued to work in partnership with the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and the National Iwi Chairs Forum, a Māori tribal organisation, on developing a draft plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Despite considerable time and effort from all parties, we haven’t been able to finalise a draft plan.

As we saw during the first phase of our process last year, through targeted engagement with Indigenous groups, Māori communities have a wide range of views and aspirations on how to give effect to the Declaration. They are also best placed to develop solutions for issues that impact them.

Therefore, the development of a Declaration plan must be driven by our Indigenous communities and we need the time to get it right.

Since the pandemic, and more recently with significant weather events in Aotearoa New Zealand, we have seen the benefit of Indigenous-led, nationally supported solutions. By working in partnership and strengthening self-determination for Māori, we will be better placed to tackle global challenges, including climate change.

The Government will continue to support our Indigenous communities as they respond to the devastating consequences of recent weather events and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. And this support should not be limited to times of emergencies or crisis.

We also need to bring all of Aotearoa New Zealand along on our journey to Declaration compliance. It is essential that our many and diverse communities have a good understanding of Indigenous rights and how the realisation of a distinctly Aotearoa New Zealand plan will deliver beneficial outcomes for Māori and a more equitable and prosperous future for all New Zealanders.

Throughout this year, we will focus on developing greater public understanding and support for the Declaration.

We appreciated the advice provided by the Expert Mechanism after its visit to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2019. We would welcome further engagement with its members and with the Special Rapporteur as we progress on our journey.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou – Many thanks to you all.


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