Maori chalk up another milestone in their journey towards 50:50 governance arrangements

Alf hesitates to say he told you so, but the pace of craven Pakeha buckling to Maori pressure for more political power has quickened.

Two developments this week show what is happening.

First, Maori have been given another 50:50 partnership deal.

Second, they have been given a race-based seat on the Nelson City Council. They did it in a hurry without bothering to consult their citzens.

The 50:50 deal was struck by one of five of the northern-most tribes, which is close to resolving its Treaty claim after initialling a deed of settlement at Parliament on Thursday.

Stuff recently foreshadowed what would happen –

The Government is poised to complete a Treaty settlement with four Far North iwi worth almost $100 million which includes the co-management of 90 Mile Beach.

The claim by Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto and Te Rarawa was filed 24 years ago by the late Matiu Rata.

Known as Wai 45, it was upheld by the Waitangi Tribunal in 1997 and the tribes have been negotiating with the Crown since then.

The negotiations originally involved a fifth iwi, Ngati Kahu, but they pulled out of talks in May. They are involved in a spat over which tribe owns, or should own, which bit of land.

Under the settlement, as Danya Levy reported for Stuff

…the Crown would hand over the management for 90 Mile Beach for it to be co-governed by the iwi and local councils.

Under the agreement Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto will receive $21.04 million each and Te Rarawa will receive $33.84 million.

Radio NZ report this week reported Te Aupouri had finalised its proposed package and will now seek agreement from its people to ratify it.

Under the agreement the Government acknowledges the tribes role as kaitiaki, or guardians, of Te Oneroa-a-Tohe – or Ninety Mile Beach.

It means the iwi and the Crown will co-manage the stretch of coast, while guaranteeing to keep public access.

Revenue which the Crown now collects from tourist buses which use the land will go to a joint Crown-tribal body.

This body will spend the money on projects to regenerate flora and fauna.

The deal will also include an apology and the return of seven farms and a forestry block.

Meanwhile Maori were being given a special deal to further empower them in the top of the South Island.

Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene was chuffed – as well she might be. She praised the “foresight and the responsible approach” to the Treaty of Waitangi relationship demonstrated by the Nelson City Council in its decision to create a Maori ward in time for the next local body elections in 2013.

She said that as a Nelson girl, it made her proud that the council had taken steps to honour the treaty relationship and to improve Maori participation and engagement in local decision making.

At least she conceded Maori already had participation and engagement in local decision-making, something that is shamelessly overlooked by Maori staking their claims to greater political power elsewhere.

But there is something awfully smelly about what has happened in Nelson, because –

The council fast-tracked the decision on Thursday, driven by a November 30 deadline if it hoped to have a Maori ward established in time for the 2013 elections, if amalgamation does not go ahead.

And what do the locals think of the idea?

A Nelson Mail online poll asked web readers whether they agreed with the council’s decision.

The answer was an overwhelming no from 73 per cent of those who responded.

Obviously these citizens are ill-served by their representatives, because –

The councillors were unanimous in their support for a Maori ward, despite concerns about the “surprise element” of the recommendation, filed as a late notice to Thursday’s policy, planning and governance meeting.

Alf is disappointed in Councillor Paul Matheson, who abstained from voting because of the process.

The bugger should have put his vote where his instincts lay and voted against.

The councillors deserve to be thrown out at the next electionl because –

Councillors were wary of the likely backlash, despite there being no legal requirement to consult with the public.

But the absence of an obligation to consult does not mean the public should have been ignored.

The buggers on the council can now ignomninously claim to have paved the way for Nelson city to become the only unitary authority in the country to have a Maori ward. It is the third council in New Zealand and the first in the South Island to establish one.

As is obvious from the Nelson Mail’s report, Maori interests thus become separated from community interests.

Maori wards give separate representation to Maori and are based on Maori electoral population rather than geographic communities.

At the last census (2006), there were 3615 Maori in Nelson city out of a total population of 43,000.

Hmm. About 8 per cent, although we can dilute that percentage to the extent that many of the 3615 Maori will be part-Maori.

Only people on the Maori electoral roll can vote in a Maori ward, but it doesn’t matter how much Maori – or non-Maori – blood you might have pumping through your veins.

There’s just a hint of the real objective -a 50:50 governance arrangement – in what the Maori Party’s MP said.

Ms Katene said Environment Waikato and Nelson city stood out as two institutions in local government prepared to embark on structural change to enable greater power sharing with Maori.

Keep an eye out for the next bunch of non-Maori to buckle and further debase our democracy.

2 Responses to Maori chalk up another milestone in their journey towards 50:50 governance arrangements

  1. Nikki Romney says:

    Yes, there is backlash happening within the Nelson Community at Council’s rough-shod approach in their handling of the maori ward issue. The Councillors voted unanimously but also admitted that there was confusion in this, so they look absolutely stupid in my opinion. There has been no attempt to have community consultation/input or elector mandate in this, nor have we been provided with information so that we could be informed. We have not been informed about our rights of recourse by way of a petition requesting a poll to countermand the maori ward decision.

    Yes, there was an on-line poll instigated by The Nelson Mail and they printed the results of this, however there has been no further article representing the public view, in particular relating to the negative on-line comments following on from articles. In general they do make mention of on-line comments, however in this instance they have not. Why?
    Our only voice is through letters to the editor, and these may or may not be put into the letters section of the paper, dependent upon their own personal sway in this matter, which seems apparent by how they have let this matter die down with no further followup so far.

  2. Kevin Campbell says:

    The Waikato District Council is spending $73,000 of ratepayer’s funds on a poll to decide whether to introduce Maori seats or not. This poll has serious ramifications for every New Zealander because the outcome upholds or tramples on fundamental founding principles.

    CEO Gavin Ion states that “the poll is about the principle of whether democracy would be better served by having separate Maori representation or not”.

    Democracy, like equality, is not served by legislating privilege to one race or culture. It’s about each citizen having an equal opportunity and say in the decisions that affect their lives. Consequently, it must be said that Waikato Maori are more than capable of selecting, promoting and electing their own candidates.

    Representation arrangements are based on the misguided precedent set by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, which promoted its own local legislation requiring designated Māori representation for that region given the low Maori representation on the council in relation to the Maori population.

    Waikato Maori are not represented because Waikato Maori have not yet done the work to get their candidates elected. They should be encouraged to win the right to representation, not be gifted free passes through misguided legislation and separatism.

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