Library cancels Treaty talk

When retired computer pioneer Bruce Moon planned to give a talk to the Nelson Institute a week ago on how the Treaty of Waitangi had been twisted he was surprised to have permission to talk at the Nelson City Library suddenly withdrawn.

The library wrote to him saying that they were sorry to cancel the talk but said that after complaints, both the Nelson City Council and the library felt a talk could disturb the peace and become a health and safety issue.

Looks like free speech is no longer so free and that divergent views on the Treaty are being suppressed.

See Bruce Moon’s talk at https://www.hobsonspledge.nz/thought_police_stop_treaty_talk

LGNZ complains about Maori wards votes expense

Local Government New Zealand now complains about the expense that petitioners have put five councils to by demanding a vote on whether or not to proceed with Maori wards.

Councils in Western Bay of Plenty, Whakatane, Manawatu, Palmerston North and Kaikoura will send out voting papers on April 27.

Late last month, Local Government NZ wrote to the leaders of Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens urging them to remove those sections of the Local Electoral Act 2001 that allow for polls of electors on whether or not a city, district or region can establish Maori wards.

A subsequent information sheet sent by LGNZ to mayors and chairs of New Zealand’s 78 local authorities argued that such polls were inconsistent with proposals for other sorts of wards, costly, divisive, and “undermine the representative nature of local democracy”.

Palmerston North was the only one of these five councils to undertake any meaningful consultation to find that most respondents strongly opposed a Maori ward. Nevertheless, that council proceeded with a Maori ward.

The Palmerston North City Council in that respect was undermining the representative nature of local democracy by not listening to respondents.

LGNZ noted that any inconsistency could be removed by allowing a petition and vote on the establishment of all sorts of wards but did not like this idea, preferring to retain for councils “to make the best decision in the interests of their community.

A central argument of Maori wards proponents is that such wards would increase Maori participation in local government.

But a graph provided in a 2016 submission by LGNZ showed that the proportion of elected Maori councilors had increased over an 18-year period, from 5.5 percent in 1998 to 10 percent in 2016., therefore verifying that Maori representation was increasing anyway.

The expense of the forthcoming votes on Maori wards in five districts looks like the cost to local government of being out of touch with the views of their constituents.

Top-up for top-ups show flaws in deal

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little says the latest top-ups to the Waikato Tainui and Ngai Tahu settlements show the flaws in the initial fiscal envelope model.

Payments of $16.6 million to Waikato-Tainui and $18.7 million to Ngai Tahu resulted from arbitration after complaints from the tribes on how the first top up payments in 2012 were calculated.

This is on top of $180 million paid to Ngai Tahu at the end of last year as part of the relativity agreement and $170 million to Waikato-Tanui.

Ngai Tahu’s financial reports show that the relativity deal has yielded for them $350.6 million on top of their $170 million settlement in 1998, although two amounts in the $350.6 million total included aquaculture and fisheries payments. Waikato-Tainui’s financials since 2012 apparently don’t show such figures.

Both iwi settled on the basis that rather than getting a fixed sum they would each get a percentage (Waikato 17 percent and Ngai Tahu 16.1 percent) of the total expected settlement quantum, believed to be $1 billion in 1992 dollars.

Hobson’s Pledge says that wherever it can be reasonably established that the Crown unlawfully confiscated property from any individual or group, compensation should be paid, provided however that any such compensation should be “full and final”. 

Both tribes received supposedly full and final settlements in the 1940s and Ngai Tahu never had any land confiscated.

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