Alf has already recorded his huge admiration for the way our indigenous people can sniff out a trough and get their snouts into the swill.
Another of their admirable traits is their gall.
Alf has known some Pakeha oinkers who would be embarrassed if they thought he knew of the extent of their troughing.
Our indigenous oinkers feel no shame.
To the contrary, they regard it as their right under the Treaty to have we Pakeha fill their growing array of troughs.
And if we don’t fill the troughs deeply enough or quickly enough, they will holler about the bloody injustice of it.
A group seeking rights to the broadcasting spectrum serves as a splendid example.
They have declared their intention (see here) to campaign to be given a portion of the band that did not sell at auction.
The Government has secured winning bids from Telecom, Vodafone and part Maori-owned mobile phone company 2degrees.
However, a small block of the band that will be used to deliver faster mobile broadband remains unsold.
The Maori Spectrum Coalition has been pushing for a section of the 700 megahertz band to be awarded to Treaty partners.
The Government rejected the call and instead created a $30 million technology fund for Maori.
A bloke acting as spokesperson for the coalition, with the splendidly indigenous name Antony Royal, has unabashedly said the remaining 5 megahertz should be allocated to Maori.
If Alf heard correctly when this was reported from Radio NZ this morning, Royal also said his coalition would cling to the $30 million technology fund as well, although this bit of the news isn’t recorded in the online print version.
But it makes sense.
We offered them the money, so they will take it.
And the radio spectrum strictly speaking is theirs. So they want that too, although for now they will settle for a bit of it.
Their claim was reported not so long ago in the Wall Street Journal, which seemed somewhat bemused.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand—It isn’t uncommon for indigenous groups to claim rights to a nation’s raw materials. In New Zealand, Maori tribes are asserting ownership of a much more unusual resource: Radio waves.
According to New Zealand’s first people, the government doesn’t have the authority to auction off spectrum valued at up to 400 million New Zealand dollars (US$314 million)–earmarked for so-called fourth-generation services—because Britain guaranteed the rights of unspecified national resources to Maori in a landmark 173-year-old treaty.
Maori say that makes the spectrum their rightful property, even though the pact predates the invention of the radio by several decades. The dispute threatens to delay New Zealand’s rollout of 4G technology at a time when demand for faster mobile-broadband services is rising rapidly. The government had planned to auction the spectrum in September or October.
Antony Royal, a spokesman for the claimants, said Maori wanted to play a role in deciding who uses the spectrum, how it is allocated and to ensure Maori have access to it.
By demanding a chunk of the spectrum while insisting on keeping the $30 million, Royal shows he would have been a great competitor on “It’s In The Bag”.
When asked “the money or the bag?” he would have insisted on both.
And if there was any hint of caviling, he would have taken the matter to the Waitangi Tribunal.