A blind eye is turned to Waitangi Day koha – so can other businesses charge discriminatory fees?

Horatio Nelson...he would have spotted the discrimination even if he looked with his blind eye.

Alf was driven yesterday to question what is so big deal about the Maori way of sorting out Hone Harawira’s differences with the rest of his Maori Party caucus.

Today he is looking into The Maori Way of plundering the Pakeha news media.

At first glimpse it seems calculated to land the buggers in big trouble with the Race Relations police.

Plans are afoot to impose a $1000 fee on the general media to go on to a marae on Waitangi Day, but no fee will be imposed on Maori media.


Does anyone get the faintest whiff of discrimination here?

Alf imagines opening up a business – let’s say – as a barber.

He will offer free haircuts to the general population.

But if you are a Maori he will whop you with a $50 charge for his services.

No, he won’t go broke, because long before his capital has evaporated we can count on a warning shot being fired across his bows by Joris de Bres, and if the warning is ignored, he will be prosecuted.

But – as all readers of this blog understand – our Maori are special.

The Herald puts us in the picture –

Ngapuhi iwi members are threatening to charge Pakeha media $1000 to enter the lower Te Tii Marae at Waitangi on February 6.

Matarahurahu hapu chairman David Rankin said Maori media would be allowed in free.

This Rankin feller is more than a tad riled by the situation and has publicly declared he expects Joris De Bres to make a stand.

But no.

Race Relations Commissioner Mr de Bres said the decision to charge for access to Te Tii Marae did not help race relations.

But it was unlikely to be unlawful as the marae is not subject to the discrimination provisions set out in the Human Rights Act, he said.

Those provisions apply to public spaces and selected areas such as education, employment and housing.

“I consider the practice to be ill-advised and not conducive to harmonious race relations. Generally speaking, the media should be facilitated in their coverage of important Waitangi Day events and discussions while being challenged to do so professionally and in a balanced manner.”

Prime Minister John Key wants to know if the charge is for cost recovery (in which case, unlike Alf, he thinks it might be reasonable) although he also said charging the media for covering our national day of celebration seemed unreasonable.

“Highway robbery” perhaps is not part of his vocabulary.

Oh, and the PM pointed out that some public funding goes to the marae, although he did not know how much.

TVNZ’s head of news and current affairs, Anthony Flannery, sees nothing wrong with the arrangement, which makes Alf wonder what the bugger can see.

Anyway, the state-owned broadcaster has paid a $1000 koha to Te Tii Marae officials for many years and reckons it is a reasonable price for the convenience of being able to safely station a live-eye truck and expensive electronic equipment at a powered site close to the grounds.

And the chair of Te Tii Marae at Waitangi, Kingi Taurua, has told Waatea News the marae has a long standing practice of charging fees to broadcasters who want to come onto the marae to cover the build up to Waitangi.

Mr Taurua says the fees are used to offset some of the costs the marae incurs handling the thousands of manuhiri who come to Waitangi for the three-day event.

Dunno what sort of mischief is done by thousands of manuhiri. Alf would be tempted to bring in a pest eradicator and have the wee buggers wiped out.

But levelling a charge against Pakeha media, and not Maori Media, is the real point at issue.

Alf is heartened that his opinion is shared by Busted Blonde at Roarprawn.

Joris de Bres is a joke. And his limp wristed lilly livered smacking over the hand with a piece of dried flax of Nga Puhi, who want to charge media to cover a national event like Waitangi day, is disgusting.

If nothing else Maori should be about freedom and that includes press freedom. It is time that the media showed some balls ( just take a look at how John Key does it ) and tell Nga Puhi to piss off.

David Rankin has led the way and called his kin “racists” and “crazed dogs”…

They are both. idiot curs that turn good food into shit.

De Bres is yesterdays man. There is no place for him in a New Zealand that allows this sort of racist bullshit.

He should be sacked.

Alf would go further and say the whole race relations bureaucracy should be dismantled.

Oh, and let’s note that David Rankin says the fee imposed on non-Maori media was akin to the separatist policies of apartheid South Africa.

He banged out a media statement in which he says the idea of charging the non-Maori media came from a “self-appointed” group of radical iwi members who were not recognised as trustees of the marae by the Maori Land Court.

“These self-appointed bullies are doing great harm to our people,” says Mr Rankin. “Many of our people outside of Northland will be depending on the nightly news for information about Waitangi Day, and this small unelected group are threatening to ban media coverage for the sake of their own personal greed” .

Rankin also raises the small matter of book-keeping and probity.

Another aspect of the $1000 charge that concerns Mr Rankin is accountability of the money collected. “Last year”, he points out, “this was tried on a smaller scale, and no record has been left of where the money went to. This is not a koha, it is deemed as income because it is demanded from people. It goes completely against our culture of hospitality to visitors, regardless of where they are from”.

It sounds like he is an eminently sensible bloke.

On this occasion, yes. But not always.

Last year he was calling for a nine per cent economic development tax to be levied on everyone living inside his iwi’s boundary as part of its treaty claim.

Matarahurahu hapu chairman David Rankin said the proposed flat tax rate, which would be administered by the Inland Revenue Department, would “pull Ngapuhi out of a depressed state” and ultimately benefit the entire region.

He would like it to fund social and economic development projects such as aquaculture programmes, and make Ngapuhi as prosperous as iwi like Ngai Tahu and Tainui, which benefit from rich resources in their regions, he said.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog warned his readers not to get too excited over this.

If you have a 9% tax on economic activity in Northland, that will not help the region – it will kill it. People will leave Northland in their droves if the tax rate in Auckland is 17.5% and in Northland it is 26.5%.

Likewise, the news media should stay away from Waitangi in droves. If Alf is thus denied his annual dose of Waitangi Day celebrations on TV, or in other media, he will not lose any sleep. Actually, he will be enormously delighted.

One Response to A blind eye is turned to Waitangi Day koha – so can other businesses charge discriminatory fees?

  1. Well, of course there’s a very simple solution: don’t pay their extortion attempt. Don’t go to the lower marae. Don’t give them any publicity. Focus instead on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
    Let’s be honest: most of the time, all we see anyway from Te Tii Marae are foulmouthed protests, mudthrowing, insults, bleeding hearts, divisive actions intended to hurt and humiliate, the Harawira circus…
    If NZ Day is truly about nation-building, instead of a live televised maori protest, then media should use their brains and not play into the hands of the radical fringe.

    Read more: http://yardyyardyyardy.blogspot.com/2011/02/maori-racism-at-waitangi.html

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