Last night’s Te Papa first Treaty debate was a night to remember; special thanks must go to Dame Dr Claudia Orange for making it happen.

Most interesting to me was the speakers’ different approaches to constitutional reform. Matthew Palmer discussed reform from a legal perspective – suggesting ways to improve the current system by removing obstacles and adding new instruments, laws or institutions so that more effective and efficient decisions are made in terms of time, costs and outcomes. Not having a robust constitution, he said, is like a rugby game without a referee.

Moana Jackson talked about how reform could happen in two ways: a broad ‘imagining exercise’, which asks what sort of New Zealand we want in the future, or a ‘deliberative exercise’, which would focus on process. His preference was the first, what future do we want for New Zealand. Moana is not confident that meaningful reform will take place in his lifetime, but hopes his mokopuna will see significant change. He quoted the ‘great philosopher’ Rachel Hunter, who said “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.”

It was great to see some familiar faces from EmpowerNZ at the debate. Next week Carwyn Jones, Julia Whaipooti, and Duran Moy will be panelists at the second debate which will ask ‘What issues in the Constitutional Review do you care about?’. We’re looking forward to it! Hope you can join us on Thursday. Both discussions will be broadcast on Radio New Zealand – we will keep you updated.