Rogernomics and the Treaty of Waitangi: the contradiction between the economic and Treaty policies of the fourth Labour government, 1984-1990, and the role of law in mediating that contradiction in the interests of the colonial capitalist state

by Kelsey, Jane

Abstract (Summary)
During the 1970s and early 1980s the historic contradiction between Maori and the colonial state publicly resurfaced, with high-profile Maori demands for the recognition of Maori sovereignty. By 1984 those demands became broader-based. They focused on the Crown's affirmation in the Treaty of Waitangi of continued Maori control over economic resources, independent political authority, and the protection of the Maori way of life. In the face of these pressures, the Labour Party, and later the fourth Labour Government, committed itself to a policy of recognising the Treaty of Waitangi. At the same time, New Zealand's under-developed capitalist economy was in crisis. Advocates of market liberalism within the Fourth Labour Government secured a power base from which they launched the New Zealand version of their paradigm, known as Rogernomics. The two policies were logically irreconcilable, and embodied the deeper, real contradiction of the colonial project itself. Once that logical contradiction became apparent, and the electoral implications became too costly, the Treaty policy gave way. The primary focus of this thesis is the role played by colonial law, legal ideology, and the legal intellectuals in mediating those contradictions during the 1980s. They helped to secure a passive revolution, whereby Maori demands were defused, and Maori resistance was subsumed within the political and judicial forums of the colonial state. This development is analysed within the framework of the dual state, whereby metropolitan and colonial social formations co-exist within the one national boundary, both dominated by the capitalist mode of production. In this thesis, that duality comprises Pakeha within New Zealand, and Maori within Aotearoa. The specifically legal dynamics are situated within the complex interactions of the economic, political, juridical, and ideological levels of that dual state during the 1980s. The thesis concludes that the colonial state did secure a passive revolution over Maori between 1984 and 1990. But this was, at best, a temporary reprieve. By the end of the Fourth Labour Government, in October 1990, many Maori remained committed to the anti-colonial struggle. It appeared that the fundamental contradictions of colonial capitalism, and the crisis of constitutional legitimacy for the colonial state, had not been resolved. They had merely been deferred.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:David Williams

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:fields of research 390000 law justice and enforcement 390100 390110 indigenous laws


Date of Publication:01/01/1991

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.