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An analysis of submissions to the Constitutional Advisory Panel obtained under the Official Information Act reveal a deep opposition to treaty politics that was obscured in the panel’s report to government in December.

The 12-member panel, appointed as part of the confidence and supply agreement between the National and Maori parties after the 2008 election, sustained immediate criticism for bias evident in the appointment one co-chair and four panelists who were Maori studies academics with vehement anti-colonialist views.

Further bias appeared when the panel consulted separately with Maori groups, and worsened when co-chair Sir Tipene O’Regan lumped together “those who wish to reverse Maori influence” with “extremist groups” and “Nazi sympathisers”.

The panel heard a range of views at over 120 meetings, on its Facebook page and from the 5259 written submissions received from groups and individuals. The 45-page report (with 75 pages of appendices), a somewhat bland regurgitation of what the panel was saying all along, was released in a news dead zone before Christmas.

The Constitutional Advisory Panel always said its purpose was to take the nation’s pulse on constitutional matters. If that was the case, and if the panel reflected the wishes expressed in the 5259 written submissions, recommendations would be as follows:

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