Pita and partnership: it boils down to approving Nat policy if Maori get preferential treatment

A thought crossed Alf’s mind, while he was sipping on his favourite tipple in the Eketahuna Club.

Why not ensure white people are given the first option when it comes to buying shares in state companies?

People of a different colour can get the left-overs.

Hmm. Any problem with that?

Actually, there is – a glaring one. It’s racist.

And racism, as we all know, can never be countenanced.

So what are we to make of Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples’ thinking on asset sales?

Here’s what has been flitting across his mind, according to Radio New Zealand –

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples says he will push the case for a preferential deal for iwi over partial asset sales with National leader John Key.

Everybody should know by now, of course, that when we Nats have been re-elected on 26 November, we will proceed with the partial privatisation of state-owned energy companies Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power and Solid Energy and reduce the Crown’s shareholding in Air New Zealand.

Sharples says the Maori Party is opposed to this plan, which would result in sales of up to 49% of the energy companies.

Ah, but he also says there is room for negotiation.

He says the Maori Party could support the policy if iwi groups would be able to have priority access to the shares.

Fair to say, The Boss was asked yesterday if he would rule out a sales programme which gave Maori preferential access.

He replied that New Zealanders have to be treated equally and fairly.

How come the bloody Maori Party doesn’t buy into that?

John Key is only too aware that iwi leaders want access to buy some shares. Fair enough. Let them have their chance, along with the many others who might be interested, such as KiwiSaver schemes.

Dunno if Sharples and Tariana Turia are singing in tune on this one.

Waatea News reported recently –

Turia is trying to create some electioneering difference from her coalition partner by coming out against state asset sales.

She said pressure to support the plan was coming on the Maori Party from iwi who want to invest in assets.

“We’re not going to stand in the way of iwi but at a personal level, a political level, we don’t support asset sales because what we’re fearful of is that overseas big buyers will come in and in the end our assets will be owned by them,” she says.

This acknowledges that iwi are not immune from the urge to make a buck, and if someone made a nice offer for their shares, they would sell.

An outfit called Glassbooth seems sure that the Maori Party opposes state asset sales and more private sector involvement in public services

The Maori Party does not support selling any further assets, although it adds that there may be commercial properties that could be used for Treaty settlements. “We oppose privatisation and instead favour iwi-public Treaty-based partnerships for the management and delivery of public services”.

In a clarification of the policy this morning, Sharples has reiterated Maori Party policy on the proposed sale of asset sales.

“We do not support asset sales. I want to make that quite clear.

Dr Sharples also clarified comments about if asset sales were to proceed, what the proposed role of iwi should be.

“If privatisation of state owned assets occurs it must be managed in a manner that is consistent with Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“I have said publicly that if Government was ever to be at the point of considering asset sales, then I would expect the first conversation about the process to be with iwi, as the Treaty partner”.

“While our party position is that we oppose the sales of assets, we are also placed with the responsibility of advancing the best position for our constituency – and unlike other parties – that means we need to listen and respond to the proposals our constituents put forward to parliament”.

“If iwi decide accordingly, then our position is that the Maori Party will support iwi who wish to invest into state-owned assets as a means of retaining New Zealand ownership”.

So they are against asset sales in principle.

But they are for it in practise – so long as Maori are given preferential treatment.

Is this racist?

Nah. It’s a matter of giving Maori the special treatment to which they feel they are entitled under the Treaty of Waitangi.

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