Further evidence of New Zealand’s peculiar willingness to spawn and nurture racially divisive governance arrangements is dished up by the NZ Herald today.
It reports on a funding row over Maori initiatives in Auckland.
And it quotes a source as saying the matter could end up in court, citing a draft report showing the Auckland Council is largely failing to meet statutory obligations to Maori.
These are statutory obligations to “Maori”, it should be noted. Not statutory obligations to New Zealanders, or citizens, or all of us.
This affirms that the Government must meet some obligations to one ethnic community that it does not have to meet for others.
It all stems – we don’t have to guess – from the ill-considered incorporation of so-called Treaty principles into various bits of legislation.
And it is all about who gets how much money.
The draft report sets out the findings after an audit of council treatment of Maori.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers audit, commissioned by the Independent Maori Statutory Board, states that the council is failing its compliance with the Treaty-related legislation in all of the 10 measured areas.
Betcha the report did not come cheap.
Wonder who paid for it.
More important, what will be done with it?
Here’s what: Maori leaders will wave it while demanding the pouring of more and more money into a trough labelled “Maori”.
Sure enough –
A highly placed board source said the review would give it more ammunition to fight for an increased slice of the funding pie for Maori.
“We want our fair share. [The council] hasn’t got their heads around it. The days of the tyranny of the majority are over. We’ve got legislation that says they have to conduct themselves transparently and fairly.”
Actually, they want their unfair share.
Well, the money that is not poured into the Maori trough is spent on all citizens of the city – Maori are not excluded – on things likes roads, sewers, rubbish collection, libraries, parks…
By pressing for more money earmarked exclusively for Maori, the “source” in the NZ Herald’s story is saying a “fair” share of council money is
(a) The stuff that benefits Maori through general council spending; plus
(b) The stuff to be poured into the trough labelled “Maori”.
What’s more, the source says Maori leaders are prepared to spend lots of money (is it their own money?) on lawyers to fight for their unfair share.
Court action to force the issue was looking increasingly likely, the source said.
The Herald goes on to refer to tension brewing between the council and the Maori board over the level of funding to advance Maori interests.
This is not surprising.
The sum of money Maori regard as their “fair” share is a hell of a lot more than the mayor wants to pour into their trough.
The board wants $295 million over 10 years but Mayor Len Brown initially offered $15 million. A board source said that had subsequently been increased to $23 million.
Board chairman David Taipari is quoted as saying he hopes the funding matter can be resolved.
He would not be drawn, however, on whether court was an option if the issue was not solved.
The Herald then tells us in a nutshell what the audit found
* The PWC audit assessed whether the council was compliant with Maori legislative rights set out in various Local Government Acts, the Public Works Act and the Resource Management Act.
* Six of 10 areas measured received a “high” rating – a serious weakness likely to compromise Maori legislative rights.
* Performance in the other four areas received a “significant” rating – where weaknesses were almost certain to compromise rights.
* The report said there were instances “where good practice is occurring, but this often relates to institutional knowledge rather than embedded processes working as intended.”
The critical words here refer to the check on whether the council has been compliant with Maori legislative rights set out in various Local Government Acts…
As we said at the outset, we are not talking about the rights of all New Zealanders.
We are talking about a special set of rights – Maori legislative rights.
Racism entrenched in our legislation, in other words, although the champions of this racism will never call it that.
They will refer us to the signing of the Treaty to rationalise and justify their disinclination to see it for what it is.
So if you can’t beat ’em, try and join ’em.
Alf has been dipping into his whakapapa to see if he can claim entitlement to the privileges accorded by racially divisive rights.
Nah. It seems his great-grandfather had a dalliance with a Maori lass, way back, but that was a bit on the side and in no way affected the Grumble family blood lines.
Thus barred from claiming rights as a citizen plus special rights as a Maori, he can only regard himself as a second-class citizen in the land of his birth.
Most of his constituents – he suspects – similarly are citizens of the second-class variety.