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STUART SMITH MP: Has the Law Society lost the room?

The Treaty has become a vessel that can be filled with a wish list of rights and opportunities which begs the question of whose interpretation of the Treaty will be used.


Professional bodies have a crucial role in establishing standards of conduct and protecting the reputation of their respective professions. It is expected that their directives remain apolitical and do not infringe upon the freedom of their members to hold their own political views.


However, the recent proposal by the New Zealand Law Society to introduce a new statutory duty for lawyers to adhere to the "principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi" is a highly controversial and politically motivated move. It appears to be driven by the influence of woke socialists who seek to advance their own agenda rather than prioritize the best interests of the people they serve.


Interestingly, this proposal seems to have emerged from an investigation into unrelated issues surrounding sexual misconduct within the legal profession. Despite the fact that a significant majority of surveyed lawyers oppose incorporating Treaty principles into the regulatory structure, the Law Society review panel is undeterred. The opposition is well-founded, as the Treaty itself does not contain any specific "principles," and the evolving nature of these principles makes it challenging for lawyers to navigate without risking breaching the Law Society's rules.


The inclusion of an author of He Puapua, a controversial report, on the panel is not surprising, as it aligns with the underlying motivations driving this proposal. It raises concerns about the ideological biases at play and the potential influence they may have on the final recommendations.


The Treaty has become a vessel that can be filled with a wish list of rights and opportunities which begs the question of whose interpretation of the Treaty will be used.


Will lawyers have the courage to resist this woke agenda and save the integrity of the profession? It is not difficult to imagine that the ambitious and naive may see conforming to these demands as the path to a successful legal career. It is essential for the legal community to stand up against this divisive agenda or it will lose public confidence in the profession.


Infiltrating institutions and leveraging race-related issues in the current environment is a frighteningly easy path to take, as few are willing to risk being labelled as racist. It is crucial that we all oppose this agenda as those that hurl the racist label about are the racists. If we choose to look the other way New Zealand will be a racially divided nation which will undoubtedly bring on civil unrest.


It is essential that we protect the integrity of professional bodies and ensure that their directives are rooted in impartiality, respect for individual freedoms, and the best interests of the profession and the wider public. The legal profession is held in high regard, but allowing political agendas to infect their professional body not only risks the credibility and purpose of their professional body but will also ultimately undermine the standing of the profession.


New Zealand was founded on one law for all, it seems that now we must fight to keep it.


Stuart Smith

National MP for Kaikoura


This piece was first published at The Platform


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