Hostility to the inclusion of mana whakahono a rohe/iwi participation clauses in the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill has prompted Environment Minister Nick Smith to issue a memo to advise caucus how to respond to criticism.
Our media release during the week urged all MPs to vote against the bill because the iwi clauses would entrench co-governance and partnership obligations with iwi Maori into local government, creating an under-the-radar constitutional change.
The Minister wrote in his memo that “the provisions around iwi participation arrangements are a small part of the Bill that will make existing iwi consultation requirements work better”.
While labelling parts of Nick Smith’s memo as “Orwellian”, former ACT MP Stephen Franks wrote that “it seems bizarre that National members are being obliged to support this Bill so near to the election”.
“Why stick up voters’ noses now some of the least defensible law-making National could design?” See http://www.nzcpr.com/resource-legislation-amendment-bill-deceptive-advice-to-national-caucus/
Commentator Michael Coote wrote that a switcheroo on the iwi participation agreement provisions after public consultation on the bill was over means the great majority of New Zealanders have been stabbed in the back by National and the Maori Party. See http://www.nzcpr.com/the-smith-reforms/
Please ask your MP to vote against this bill.
Whanganui River becomes a ‘person’
If there was ever a moment when you thought New Zealand had drifted into the twilight zone, that moment could be when a Minister of the Crown with a straight face said that the Whanganui River had become a person.
Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said, when the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Bill passed its third reading on Wednesday, that the bill “responds to the view of the iwi of the Whanganui River which has long recognised Te Awa Tupua through its traditions, customs and practise." See http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/90488008/whanganui-river-gets-the-rights-of-a-legal-person
The “personalising” of the river overshadowed a hefty transfer of wealth from taxpayers comprising $80-million to settle river claims by some tribes associated with the river plus a further $30-million fund for these tribes to apply for grants out of.
The law has created an office - Te Pou Tupua - to act as "the human face" of the river, comprising two nominees – one representing the Crown and the other representing the tribes.
Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox said the move followed the example used in the Tuhoe Settlement Bill which saw Te Urewera National Park become a legal entity in 2014.
It is interesting to note that the Tuhoe co-governance set-up soon moved to a Tuhoe take-over.
Initially an eight-member board was set up with four representing the Crown and five for the tribe including the Tuhoe chair.
But after three years Tuhoe would have six representatives. See http://breakingviewsnz.blogspot.co.nz/2016/09/mike-butler-tuhoe-co-governance_11.html
Watch this space for the Whanganui River representation.
Taranaki mountain ‘ancestor’ claim
A news report of Treaty claim for Mount Taranaki/Egmont includes a response by chief negotiator Jamie Tuuta, a Te Ohu Kai Moana director, to the claim that the mountain was considered an ancestor to local Maori.
"Taranaki has a permanence, he's always been there as a symbol of strength and identity for our people. To have ... that confiscated has always been challenging, and it's caused a lot of stress for generations of Taranaki iwi," Tuuta said.
He did say that the apology and cultural redress in relation to the mountain "will not include any financial or commercial redress".
The collective iwi decided to turn their attention to the mountain after receiving a whopping $300 million in financial redress for their individual Treaty claims – Taranaki Iwi $70 million, Nga Ruahine $67.5 million, Te Atiawa Taranaki $87 million, Ngati Tama $14.5 million, Ngati Ruanui $14.5 million, Ngati Mutunga $14.9 million, and Nga Rauru $31 million.
Tribunal asked to probe State abuse of Maori children
A claim calling for an independent inquiry into state welfare abuse that disproportionately affected Maori has been lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal.
It has been filed on behalf of three claimants by Auckland firm Te Mata Law, assisted by Auckland University law school lecturer Andrew Erueti, who said the claim sought an inquiry to find out why so many Maori children were put in welfare homes where they suffered abuse.
He wants the claim heard under urgency because the current government response is inadequate, he says, and many victims are now elderly.
Allegations of State abuse of children should involve an inquiry irrespective of ethnicity.
Meet Don and Casey
Don Brash and Casey Costello will speak in Waikanae at 7pm on Monday, April 3, at the Waikanae Community Centre, 28-32 Utauta Street, Waikanae.
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