TV3, Tuhoe and a teasing item about Treaty negotiations – but why weren’t they keeping tabs on Pita?

It’s a bloody good thing Alf started his round-up of the blogs this morning by checking out what the Busted Blonde had to say at Roarprawn. He had been limbering up to take a whack at Chris Finlayson, our Minister of Treaty Negotiations, after being incensed by a TV3 news item last night.

According to TV3 –

The Government is on the verge of offering the Tuhoe tribe a treaty settlement that could be as groundbreaking as it is controversial.

Tuhoe is hoping it will mean total control of the Urewera National Park, and start the tribe on the way to self-rule and becoming a separate nation.

Well, bugger me, Alf thundered.

A treaty settlement with Tuhoe? Didn’t Tuhoe take great pride in refusing to sign the bloody document?

And what’s all this bollocks about self-rule?

Before we know it, we will be needing a bloody passport to get into the national park, and probably we will have to pay hefty fees to drive on the roads, walks on the tracks and swim in the lakes.

Mind you, if you look hard at what reporter Patrick Gower was saying, the story was full of maybes.

The Ureweras have long been home to the Tuhoe, and ownership has been with the Government. But that may be about to change, with treaty negotiations under way where Tuhoe could get ownership and control of the national park.

BB – who has a good network of Maori and Government contacts – is saying “on the face of it” this stuff is

A really big beat up – the sort that fuels redneck racism.

So why do we think its a beat up – well because the Treaty Minister the gracious Chris Finlayson says so. We are very glad he did. It would be an outrage if the Government was going to give away a big corner of the country lock stock and punga trees to one group of families as their exclusive fiefdom because that’s essentially what the story meant.

Alf will go along with BB for now, although he doesn’t think the TV3 story is bollocks just because Finlayson says so.

To the contrary,when a politician says something is bollocks, chances are it isn’t.

Moreover, Alf doesn’t have the same regard for Finlayson as BB. He was deeply troubled when the Minister urged iwi to by-pass the courts (and the letter of the law presumably) on seabed and foreshore stuff, and prove their case to him personally.

Pompous bloody pooh-bah.

“I’d be much happier to negotiate with people and if these things can be sorted out through negotiations than that’s great,” he says.

Cutting the courts out of the action is what got us into a mess on the foreshore issue in the first place.

As to the Tuhoe negotiatons, fair to say Finlayson has issued a statement (recorded by BB).

At no point in the negotiations have Ngai Tuhoe asked for any form of separatism from New Zealand or an independent Tuhoe state. Those issues are simply not part of any negotiation the Crown is undertaking. The Crown has not, and will not, make any offer to Ngai Tuhoe that includes such forms of redress. Any claims by TV3 or other media organisations are simply untrue.

The Crown and Ngai Tuhoe have been engaged in negotiations for nearly two years. The negotiations raise a number of complex issues which both parties are working through in a constructive manner and we hope to see progress in the near future.

Ngai Tuhoe have discussed the importance of Te Uruwera and the Crown is currently exploring with them what form any redress might take. The Crown has made clear its position that any settlement must recognise the rights of all New Zealanders, including public access and conservation values.

So for now, Alf’s blood pressure has dropped more than somewhat.

But it hasn’t returned to normal, because – according to Stuff – Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has flown secretly to New York for a speech to the United Nations signing New Zealand up to a declaration on indigenous rights.

The speech this morning (NZ time) comes after more than a year of hard negotiations between the Maori Party and National as New Zealand looked increasingly isolated over its repeated refusal to endorse the declaration. It was not confirmed until late last night.

It’s worth noting why Labour strongly opposed the declaration.

First, it feared it was too sweeping and reckoned it is incompatible with New Zealand’s constitutional and legal arrangements and Treaty settlement policy.

Second, it feared the creation of two classes of citizenship and said the declaration would give indigenous people veto rights over laws made by Parliament.

Those look like substantial grounds for thinking hard about what we are doing.

Substantial grounds for dismay, too, now the bloody document has been signed.

But Prime Minister John Key stressed that the declaration was non-binding and would not compromise the “fundamentals” of his Government’s approach to resolving Treaty claims. The Government also rejected any suggestion that endorsing the declaration would give Maori, as New Zealand’s indigenous people, the right of veto over parliamentary law.

In its statement to the UN today, the Government stresses the non-binding nature of its support – acknowledging that Maori hold a special status as tangata whenua but emphasising the aspirational nature of the declaration.

Let’s take a look at those aspirations.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognises the rights of indigenous people to self-determination, to maintain their own languages and cultures, to protect their natural and cultural heritage and manage their own affairs.

There’s the strong whiff of separatism in that stuff.

Sharples didn’t allay Alf’s suspicions when he told the UN –

Māori hold a distinct and special status as the indigenous people, or tangata whenua, of New Zealand. Indigenous rights and indigenous culture are of profound importance to New Zealand and fundamental to our identity as a nation.

Sharples went on to mention the Treaty of Waitangi, saying it establishes a foundation of partnership, mutual respect, co-operation and good faith between Māori and the Crown.

But it looks like he thinks one partner is more special than the other partner.

Further down in his speech Sharples said –

… where the Declaration sets out principles for indigenous involvement in decision-making, New Zealand has developed, and will continue to rely upon, its own distinct processes and institutions that afford opportunities to Māori for such involvement. These range from broad guarantees of participation and consultation to particular instances in which a requirement of consent is appropriate.

Good grief. A sneaky blow has been struck for separate political representation – or a race-based voting system – and for Maori to be given rights of veto.

Sharples went on –

We further recognise that Māori have an interest in all policy and legislative matters and acknowledge the determination of Māori that custom, worldviews and cultural heritage should be reflected in the laws and policies of New Zealand.

Is Sharples seriously saying Māori have an interest in all policy and legislative matters, but non-Maori don’t?

There’s much in this speech that should be debated and challenged.

You can hardly say he took off on a secret mission to sign this pap.

The bloody newspaper knows all about his travels, after all, and you can’t easily make secret speeches at the United Nations.

The Government has kept curiously quiet about it, neverthless.

Obviously they don’t want to frighten the horses. Some of the horses, anyway.

The horses they don’t want to frighten, of course, happen to be the great majority of New Zealanders who, in Sharples’ rhetoric, are not special.

One Response to TV3, Tuhoe and a teasing item about Treaty negotiations – but why weren’t they keeping tabs on Pita?

  1. Janine RangiMarie Bosma says:

    The future for Maoridom is not under the Crown, not under the British colonial empire. Especially an empire from the Colonial age thats outdated in the millenium age – due to be become extinct!! I reckon you clowns need to face your future! You are finished and we dont have to put up with your racist crap anymore!!

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