Slip clearing delay highlights ‘cultural concerns’

A delay in slip clearing at Kaikoura over the cultural concerns of a local runanga draws attention to looseness in historic places legislation that enables delays and costs for little reason.

A local runanga halted slip-clearing on earthquake-damaged State Highway 1 and the rail link north of Kaikoura, on Thursday, over concern about exposing or damaging cultural sites.

Everything grinds to a halt once there is any claim of cultural significance or sacredness. 

This is because destruction, damage, or modification to any historic place carries a $100,000 fine, according to Section 97 of the Historic Places Act 1993.

Anyone can make any claim at any time without fear of adverse consequences. Any person may propose registration of any historic area so long as they can identify the area and provide “sufficient evidence” to warrant registration.

No artefacts or sites were uncovered. Sluicing work should resume in a few days.

We think that legislation should require any person claiming cultural significance of a site to produce irrefutable evidence before bringing a project to a halt.

Where a claim is found to be vexatious, there should be legal recourse, like a $100,000 fine.


Kura’s $700,000 trip shows easy access to funds

An audit of school spending that found out that a small school in the Bay of Plenty was able to use taxpayer funds for a $700,000 trip to Hawaii last year shows how easily education funding may be used for largely non-educational purposes.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Ruamata took all its 139 students, 21 teachers and 73 caregivers on the trip.

The audit report, which was one of almost 2500 routine audits of schools just released, said that those who went to Hawaii contributed just $37,000 to the cost.

School principal Cathy Dewes said "we've retraced the footsteps of our ancestors. We've been to Rarotonga, we've been to Tahiti, we've been to Rangiatea. Now we can tick off Hawaii and I'm not quite sure where we'll go next."

In 2009, the Ministry circulated guidance against using funds that way, but that had since been withdrawn.

Distribution of education funding must, above all else, ensure accountability, transparency, and be based upon need not want.

To avoid any inconsistency, we would expect the Education Ministry simply to say that education funding should not be used for overseas trips. End of story.


Yet another payout for Tuwharetoa

Central North Island iwi Ngati Tuwharetoa signed a deed of settlement at Parliament on Thursday that includes an apology, cultural and commercial redress, and $25 million.

This is the second Treaty settlement for Taupo Tuwharetoa, which received $66 million in a forestry settlement in 2008.

That settlement slipped through their fingers, leaving just $16 million remaining by 2014, sparking an inquiry into spending.

In addition, the Bay of Plenty branch of Tuwharetoa received $10.5 million in 2003.

Our position on treaty settlements is 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”. 

Tuwharetoa had land in the Bay of Plenty confiscated and that matter was settled in 2003. No land in the central North Island was confiscated.


Key leaves lingering racist legacy

Few other politicians in modern history can have done more than John Key to create conditions ripe for the destruction of racial equality, according to journalist Michael Coote in the National Business Review on December 9.

The problem goes back to Mr Key’s decision to enlist the race-based Maori Party to help prop up National-led minority governments. With the Maori Party came the Iwi Chairs Forum, a corporate Maori organisation.

The iwi leaders group engages directly with senior Government Ministers at least three times a year, and Ministers regularly attend the quarterly Iwi Chairs Forum meetings


Meet Don and Casey

Due to significant and growing interest, we will be organising regional meetings throughout New Zealand in the New Year.


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all from Hobson’s Pledge.

We will take a three-week break until mid-January.


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