We Nats should not be surprised at the antics of the Maori Party. But we can be damned disappointed that the buggers are claiming victory after last night’s meeting with the Prime Minister over water rights.
Victory in what?
As Alf understands it, the Maori Party wanted an apology from The Boss.
He further understands it did not get one, because Stuff reports that
…John Key stopped short of apologising for what it called ”insulting” comments about the Waitangi Tribunal.
The party met the PM and and some senior government figures at the Beehive late last night for an hour-and-a-half.
Alf is a senior figure in age terms, of course, but sad to say has not been accorded the ministerial rank he believes he has richly deserved. Hence he was not one of those involved and for immediate purposes must rely on media accounts of what happened.
The meeting was sparked by The Boss’s saying the Government could ignore the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal, which is hearing an urgent claim from the Maori Council.
This was a simple statement of reality.
Stuff goes on to remind us that –
The Council opposes Government moves to sell up to 49 per cent of four state-owned energy companies and hopes to delay the sale of Mighty River Power.
Okay. So we know what was bugging the council.
What about the Maori Party?
When it comes to them, Stuff says –
Key last night alleviated the Maori Party’s greatest concern – that the Government would override any Maori interest over water with foreshore and seabed type law – by giving an assurance the Government would not legislate away their rights and interests.
But did anyone ever say the Government would try to legislate away Maori rights and interests?
Not that Alf can recall, although maybe he was in the Eketahuna Club when it happened.
Accordingly he is bewildered to learn that –
Sharples said this morning the Maori Party had got more than it hoped for out of the meeting.
”We talked tough because it looked like it was an insult and he was going to ignore the findings,” he told Radio New Zealand.
”He has come around and said not only will he look at them in good faith, he will sit down with us and work our way through the findings. That is exactly what we wanted.”
But nobody ever suggested this would not happen.
Is Sharples trying to tell us The Boss would have simply taken the tribunal decision, torn it up and tossed it into the rubbish bin?
Then there’s the matter of the apology the Maori Party would have liked but did not get.
Asked yesterday if the Maori Party wanted an apology from Key over the comments, Turia replied: ”that would be nice”.
However Key had indicated before last night’s meeting he would not be saying sorry because he was stating the Government’s position.
Turia today said the Maori Party wasn’t expecting to get an apology.
”We think that, like ourselves, the prime minister is entitled to say what he likes,” she told TVNZ’s Breakfast programme.
And so she is braying that the important thing for her party was to avoid another foreshore and seabed controversy.
”The issue has never been about ownership. The issue has always been about Maori rights and interests.”
Mind you, those claims to preserve Maori rights and interests are somewhat bothersome when it comes to water.
Alf gets the strong whiff of a push for more co-governance arrangements.
That is, iwi (a small percentage of our population) have half the say and the Government or a local authority (representing 100% of the people, including Maori) has half the say.
It’s the sort of thing that seems bound to flush our democracy down the gurgler, but hey – it’s the treaty that matters, eh?