Maori leaders in Auckland are giving us a further demonstration of their yearning for separateness.
The Maori Statutory Board, the ill-considered consequence of stuff-ups in setting up the Super City, wants $295 million over 10 years from Auckland ratepayers to advance Maori interests.
The Herald puts us in the picture about their push for more race-based funding today.
A Maori events centre, access to affordable housing, funding for Maori wardens, a marae development fund and ranger training for parks, particularly on ancestral land, are on a long list of items the independent board wants funded.
A greater say in the day-to-day running of the Super City is a top priority with Maori participating in setting bylaws and regional planning, and greater provision for the Treaty of Waitangi in council documents.
Let’s look at this wish list.
A Maori events centre?
Have Maori been barred from other events centres in the city?
Don’t think so.
The oinkers on the Maori Statutory Board obviously want a new one just for Maori.
But isn’t that racially discriminatory?
Answers, please, by noon Friday, although you shouldn’t have to think about it for too long.
Access to affordable housing?
Once again, are Maori barred from whatever affordable housing might now be on offer in Auckland?
Don’t think so.
Next, funding for Maori wardens?
The public already fund Maori wardens.
And here’s a good question – how come we have Maori wardens? We have traffic wardens, but have you ever heard of Pakaha wardens, or Asian wardens, or any other sorts of ethnically defined wardens?
Then we come to ranger training for parks, particularly on ancestral land.
Alf does not know the particulars of ranger training programmes already on offer in Auckland.
But he would be astonished to learn that Maori are barred from such courses.
And he is bemused by this “ancestral lands” thing.
His father and grandfather were raised in a house on a patch of land not far from Eketahuna. His brother lives there now.
This property – in Alf’s book – is his ancestral lands.
But that claim isn’t going to get him far when it comes to asking for favours.
Finally, we come to the king hit.
The Maori Statutory Board wants a greater say in the day-to-day running of the Super City.
That’s their top priority – Maori participation in setting bylaws and regional planning, “and greater provision for the Treaty of Waitangi in council documents” (whatever that bloody well means).
Alf is pleased to note that councillors at a strategy and finance committee meeting yesterday rejected the late addition of $295 million into the draft 10-year budget.
But they are vulnerable to revisiting that decision, because they have asked council officers to go away and see where the board’s request matched existing budgets.
Maori Statutory Board chairman David Taupiri is arguing that the board is seeking 3 per cent of the council’s budget for 10 per cent of the population.
The implication is that they are seeking much less than their fair share. Hence they are being thoroughly reasonable.
This palpably is bollocks.
Maori are entitled to the same council services as any other citizen.
This means they already get their whack from 100 per cent of the budget.
Taupiri is arguing for 3 per cent of that budget to be allocated for Maori-only purposes.
This means non-Maori would get their share of only 97 per cent of the budget under Taupiri’s ethno-centric reasoning.
Alf gives the bugger his due – he has a nice line of patter.
He said the funding request was a “foresight of Parliament”, which set up the independent board to ensure Maori were recognised in the Super City.
The board, he said, wanted the council to live up to expectations under the Local Government Act and Super City legislation to support Maori through the long-term budget.
He acknowledged it is up up to the council to determine which requests are offset by existing budgets before it decides “a cut of the pie for Maori”.
This means the cut of the pie for Maori only, as Alf sees it, as distinct from the cut of the pie which everybody shares, regardless of race.
Mayor Len Brown should tell the Maori Statutory Board to piss off.
The namby-pamby leader of our biggest city did not do that. And it’s odds on he won’t.
Instead, he said the board was doing what it was mandated to do and its requests would be weighed against other requests and priorities.
He had an open mind about putting more money in the budget for Maori on top of what matched existing budgets…
Oh, dear. Open minds are apt to be a precursor to surrender.
Mayor Brown, by the way, has separately included $15 million over the next 10 years to increase Maori capacity.
The board costs a further $3.2 million a year to run, of which $1.3 million comes from shared services with the council.
Gotta call for a round of applause for Papakura councillor Calum Penrose, who opposed the funding because he did not support the Maori board.
“The simple reason I don’t support it is because we are all one. We will have all different races saying we want this and we want that,” he said.
Yes, we will have all different races saying they want this and they want that.
Those of them who didn’t sign a treaty most certainly will be told to piss off.