Co-governance creeps closer to Eketahuna and a bunch of special citizens are joyous

This co-governance bollocks is getting a bit close for comfort, for those living peacefully and democratically here in Eketahuna.

The chair of a collective of nine central Hawke’s Bay marae – just up the main drag from here – is bragging about securing a written assurance from the local regional council which has given the group a say on the development of the Ruataniwha dam scheme.

Two companies are competing to win a contract to design and build the $600 million water storage programme in the region.

And all citizens, the way things are handled in a good and healthy democracy, are entitled to have a say in what happens, even if it is no more than a letter to the editor of the local rag and the right to vote against councillors who do something of which they disapprove.

But we are not talking in this case about that sort of say – about a democratic entitlement.

Oh, no. We are talking about the special say that our special citizens are apt to lay claim to while brandishing the bloody treaty and yelping about partnership.

Of course, these special citizens are perfectly entitled to lay claim to whatever they want.

The bollocks is when an elected local authority or some other democratic body grants the request.

And in this case it would appear a craven bunch of councillors in Hawke’s Bay has simply rolled over and said yep, you fellers are special and we will give you a special place at the table where the decisions are taken.

And so –

Marae collective chairman Roger Maaka says it signed a conservation agreement with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council late last week, worth $8.5 million over a 30-year-period.

He says it partly means the collective will have a say over the Ruataniwha project, and how it progresses.

Mr Maaka says the agreement also means the marae collective – called Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea – will take the lead on both land and water conservation initiatives and will provide temporary jobs as well as an environmental tribal scholarship.

By the way, did you note the mention of a few million bucks?

Dunno where it comes from.

Maybe a friendly taniwha coughed it up.

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