Undue Influence: New Zealand’s Tribal Corruption Charter
Corruption takes different forms in different nations. In New Zealand the Race Based Laws which grant legal privilege to Maori individuals and tribal entities have resulted in a form of corruption, the undue influence of Maori tribal entities upon New Zealand’s governance, economy and society.
Since 1975, this undue influence has resulted in an expanding cycle of “legalised” extortion, a "virtual Tribal Corruption Charter" through which wealthy, litigious tribal trusts can employ their special legal status as a mechanism to gain additional legal rights and powers, financial gain to individuals (mainly tribal trustees and employees) and tribal entities.
The ability of Maori individuals and groups to lodge claims with the Waitangi Tribunal that they have been prejudiced, in conjunction with an increasingly radicalised Maori electorate, also exerts undue influence on governments seeking policy reform, as governments quietly pay sweeteners to tribal groups to avoid protracted litigation and maintain internal support from Maori electorate MPs.
As many of the Race Based Laws are indirect in influence (eg the right to be consulted on an environmental application rather than the power to refuse consent), tribal entities often resort to implied threats of litigation and delay. As voiced by one tribal trust:
“It says the first rule on consent application is to “object”. The second rule on consent application is “object”. If in doubt go back to rule one (objection gives time, time is of no importance to us, only the application) it says. The first rule of objection is to claim lack of consultation, the document states. The second is the Treaty of Waitangi, the RMA is the third, and the fourth “anything anyone can think of”. Results would not be measured in dollars, “but the sum of the good that can be gained for the hapu”.(1)
The result of this undue influence of tribal entities is massive costs, both direct and indirect, imposed upon government ministries and agencies, local government, business and individuals. (2),(3)
Direct costs to business and individuals include costs for "soft" payments to tribal entities, unwanted and unnecessary cultural consultancy and advisory services, regulatory complexity, legal fees and delay. The wider economy must also be damaged as individuals and businesses simply walk away from both scientific endeavour and business opportunities.
Indirect costs for the operation of parallel institutions, separate Maori seats, Maori wards, the Waitangi Tribunal, the Maori Courts and co-governance etc flow to individuals and business through increased taxes, rates and charges. In some instances, undue influence fosters criminal corruption which may or may not be reported to authorities.
The following entries, which document instances of only a tiny fraction of the undue influence exerted by tribal entities over the last forty years, illustrate how tribal rights are damaging not only our economy but the nation's social fabric through the normalisation of New Zealand's peculiar form of constitutional corruption.
Please contact email@example.com if you have verifiable examples of undue influence that you would like to be included on this page.
Northland Regional Council has granted resource consent to Refining New Zealand to dredge the entrance to Whangarei Harbour.
To get a bore you have to get iwi consent, and they want a koha, which is not a gift, it's a bribe" one woman stated.
One Pure, owned by Hong Kong based corporation Hon Lung International, with the capital and expertise to build a massive water bottling facility, felt the need to approach Hawke’s Bay tribal entity Ngati Paarau[i] for “support and partnership [ii]” in their endeavour. Why?
"Through regular engagement and funding provided by Genesis Energy, the parties seek to deliver the broad objectives of developing a long term relationship, assisting Marae development, fostering cultural understanding, supporting the kaitiaki role of the Marae and enhancing the environment and supporting education and training initiatives".
"We were then told that under the new Draft Unitary Plan, not yet enacted, our building being within 50 metres of a designated Maori heritage site, we needed RMA approval (for a new shop window, for God’s sake), this instantly forthcoming at a cost of $4500 plus the approval of 13 iwi".
Waitaha (te Runanga O Waitaha Me Mata Waka Inc) appeal against the granting of RMA consents by Waitaki District and Otago Regional Councils, claiming the Councils had failed in their resource consents process to apply the Treaty of waitangi, Resource Management Act, New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and Local Government Act.
"This decision is also concerning in that it invites Maori and Genesis to have 'a meeting of the minds' over the next 10 years to resolve the future use of the water. This is an invitation for backhanders, given the huge value of electricity and the leverage that Whanganui iwi will have over Genesis.
Members of iwi Ngati Kura clamp four cars at Matauri Bay and clamp four cars belonging to students on the beach for a surfing lesson.
(1) Ngati Puu: Christchurch Press, 12th March 2003; quoted on Dr Nick Smith: Hansard Parliamentary Debates: resource-management-amendment-bill-no-2-—-first-reading; http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/47HansD_20030320_00001026/resource-management-amendment-bill-no-2-%E2%80%94-first-reading
(2) Round, D --- "Here Be Dragons?"  OtaLawRw 3; (2005) 11 Otago Law Review 31
(3) Ministerial Panel on Business Compliance costs, which identified that the RMA was a significant cost to business due to:
• Inconsistency in interpretation
• Lack of capacity in local government
• Time delays
• Difficulties in meeting obligations to Maori
A 20-year push for separate Maori representation in local government has encountered stiff resistance, prompting strategies to impose tribal appointees with voting rights without requiring the agreement of citizens.
The first such push occurred at Environment Bay of Plenty, where three Maori seats were established in 2001. This was after extensive consultation and passage of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (Maori Constituency Empowering) Act 2001. Maori roll voters may only vote for candidates standing in those seats.
Auckland almost had council seats reserved for Maori elected by Maori roll voters. Facing stiff opposition from former Local Government Minister Rodney Hide, the Maori Party pushed for and got a nine-member Maori statutory board as part of the Auckland Council amalgamation in 2009. (1)
There are seven “mana whenua” seats for Auckland Maori whose iwi are in Auckland. There are two for the “mataawaka” section to represent those whose iwi are based elsewhere.
Board members sit with voting rights, granted by over-zealous councillors, on 14 of the Auckland Council’s 18 council committees as well as on other steering groups and panels. Board membership “is by way of a selection and appointment process” according to the board’s website, with no further details provided.
Debate surrounding the Auckland Maori Statutory Board apparently prompted Human Rights Commissioner Joris De Bres to write to 78 councils nationwide, in 2011, asking them to consider the question of Maori seats.
In response, three councils – the Nelson City Council, the Wairoa District Council and the Waikato District Council – agreed to start the process of establishing Maori seats. (2)
The process entitled affected electors to demand a poll. Every resident poll opposed race-based seats in local government.
- Wairoa District Council, May 2012, 51.9 percent against. (3)
- Waikato District Council, April 2012, 79.2 percent against. (4)
- Nelson City Council, May 2012, 79.4 percent against. (5)
The Waikato Regional Council added, in August 2012, two Maori constituencies to six general wards voters at the 2013 local body elections. The decision was made by council and there was no request for a poll.
The National-led government tried a different approach in 2012, by imposing a treaty settlement co-governance agreement with local tribe Ngati Pahauwera on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.
The regional planning committee, set up under the Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee Act, comprises 10 councillors and 10 iwi appointees with two chairs, one appointed by the council and one by iwi. The appointees are full voting committee members.
Meanwhile, opposition to a push for separate Maori seats continued.
- Hauraki District Council, May 2013, 80.4 percent against. (6)
- The Far North District Council, March 2015, 68 percent against.
- New Plymouth District Council, April 2015, 83 percent against. (7)
New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd lodged a complaint with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues against the New Zealand government for permitting such a poll. He also urged Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell to present a petition to Parliament to set up Maori wards on every district council in New Zealand without requiring a public vote. (8)
A push for a special iwi deal on the Rotorua Lakes Council began when the council lost an appeal in the Environment Court in May 2013, and was strongly criticized for “a significant dysfunction between council and iwi in the area.”
That council rejected Maori wards in November 2014, avoiding a poll, and instead, with local tribe Te Arawa, created the Te Arawa Partnership plan, which was approved in May 2015 despite heavy opposition. Accordingly, two representatives nominated by a new elected Te Arawa board will sit on the council’s two main committees with voting rights. The vote was carried 7-2.
Meanwhile, the top local government organisation has done a deal to create a partnership obligation for councils. Local Government New Zealand in August 2015 signed a memorandum of understanding with the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group on behalf of the Iwi Chairs Forum involving “economic development, environment, infrastructure, employment, social issues, health, housing and energy and local democratic representation and decision-making”. (9)
The Masterton District Council in May 2016 approved the appointment of unelected iwi representatives, with voting rights, to its standing committees. Representatives from Wairarapa's two iwi, Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Rangitane o Wairarapa, were appointed, each with speaking and voting rights, to its policy and finance, and audit and risk, committees. They also have speaking rights at full council meetings. (10)
During local government elections in 2016, the Wairoa District Council revisited the question of Maori wards and polled residents, who voted 1727 to 1468 to introduce such wards for at least the two next elections. (11)
A stocktake of council-iwi participation agreements posted on the Local Government New Zealand website shows an array of agreements on all but six of the nation’s 78 local bodies. The Waipa District Council in Waikato has six such agreements. Six councils in the South Island have no such agreements. (12)
Political rights in democracies rooted in Britain are based on citizenship and not ethnicity. These rights are for everyone regardless of race. The introduction of iwi appointees into local government undermines accountable democracy by stealth.
- Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Act 2009
- Nelson and Waikato agree to establish Māori seats on Council, Whitiwhiti Korero, Human Rights Commission
- Wairoa council backtracks on Maori wards poll, Radio NZ News, March 12, 2012.
- Poll clearly renounces Maori seats, Waikato Times, April 5, 2012.
- Nelson MP rejects making Maori seats on councils a right, Radio NZ News, May 21, 2012.
- Maori Wards Out For HDC. May 3, 2013.
- Resounding no to a Maori ward for New Plymouth district, Taranaki Daily News, May 15, 2015.
- Maori Party calls for law change, NZ Herald, April 10, 2016.
- Iwi Leaders and Local Government New Zealand sign Memorandum of Understanding, August 6, 2015.
- Appointed iwi members get voting rights, Stuff, May 4, 2016. http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/79613952/Appointed-iwi-representatives-get-voting-rights-on-Masterton-council-committees
- Wairoa District Council, http://www.wairoadc.govt.nz/wairoa/your_council/elections_2016/index.htm
- Draft stocktake of iwi participation agreements
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”.
However, of the 75 settlements detailed below, only 31 involve land confiscation. Areas in which land was confiscated were limited to Taranaki, Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, and some areas in Gisborne and northern Hawke’s Bay.
Treaty breaches alleged by the remaining claimant groups are mainly to do with the sale of land, with claimants wanting more money. Confiscation claimants also complained about land sales in their areas.
Although confiscations were highly contentious at the time, with substantial opposition in Parliament, they were nevertheless legally carried out under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863.
Those of us living in the relative peace and security of the 21st century often overlook the fact that 19th century settlers were fighting a war they could not afford to lose and the threat of land confiscation had a real impact on which side tribes chose to support.
Another overlooked fact is that the total financial amount involved in each settlement, referred to as the “quantum”, does not reflect the gravity of the alleged treaty breach. The quantum is calculated by following a simple formula which is essentially to do with the land area the tribe claimed to own in 1840 and the number of tribe members today. (1)
In other words, the tribe that claimed the biggest land area in 1840 and the most registered members today should get the biggest pay-out. Moreover, every claimant group may expect a pay-out.
The divisive process of Treaty settlements began more than 30 years ago, when a Labour Government made the highly unusual decision to commission a seven-member tribunal to settle all Maori grievances back to February 6, 1840, the date the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.
Maori Affairs Minister Koro Wetere said this was to address “the mounting tension in the community that springs from the sense of injustice that is harboured about the grievances that are outstanding”. (2)
The first small settlement, at Waitomo, involving a $1 million loan, was achieved in 1990, followed by a commercial fisheries settlement worth $170 million in 1992. The first big land confiscation settlement, with Waikato-Tainui, also worth $170 million, was agreed in 1995.
There was a row over how much this was going to cost. The Bolger National Government proposed a cap of $1 billion, calling it a “fiscal envelope”. Tribes objected and the cap was dropped in 1996.
Nevertheless, the two big tribes that had settled early negotiated into their settlements a clause that entitled them to a proportion of all settlements over $1 billion in 1992 dollars.
Waikato-Tainui would get 17 percent of all future treaty settlements and Ngai Tahu 16.1 percent. Top-ups started in June of 2012, when the $1 billion mark (in 1994 dollars) was reached. The amounts of these ongoing top-ups are not reported by the Government, although they can be found in the annual financial reports of both tribes.
The Office of Treaty Settlements soon operated like a well-oiled machine. By March 31, 2016, a total of 61 treaty settlements with a financial redress total of $2.47 billion had been completed with a further 55 in other stages.
The process is explained in detail in the “red book” titled Healing the past, building a future, which is published by the Office of Treaty Settlements. (3)
Of course, the promise of cash brought a flood of grievances. A total of 2034 claims were registered by September 1, 2008, the deadline for historical claims. This compared with just nine grievances a delegation of chiefs took to Queen Victoria in 1882.
Investigation of grievances has a long history with investigations by land sale commissioners in the 1840s, confiscation compensation commissions in the 1860s, the Native Land Commission in 1920, and others.
A further commission chaired by Supreme Court Judge William Sim in 1926 led to a series of settlements – including the Ngai Tahu Claim Settlement Act 1944, the Taranaki Maori Claims Settlement Act 1944, the Waikato-Maniapoto Maori Claims Settlement Act 1946, and more.
A number of claims have been settled a number of times. For instance, Ngai Tahu’s $170 million settlement in 1998 was the fifth settlement originally generated by a single complaint to do with the tribe’s sale of 20 million acres in 1848, known as the Kemp purchase. The complaint was about reserves not being marked out.
Both the Treaty settlement policy and process ignore basic assumptions we have about our democratic system.
Democracy is based on the idea that everyone should have equal rights and be allowed to participate in making important decisions.
At no stage has the New Zealand public been given the opportunity to support or oppose the increasingly expensive policy of paying cash compensation for events that occurred up to 176 years ago.
Moreover, the Treaty settlement process circumvents our democratic processes. Once a settlement is signed, the agreement becomes legally binding and legislation to implement the settlement is merely a rubber-stamping exercise.
Groups created through the settlement process, which are known as post settlement governance entities, benefit from the system without being required to contribute.
Amendments to the Charities Act meant that from April 1, 2003, any organisation that administers a marae situated on a Maori reservation may qualify for an income tax exemption as a charity. These tax-exempt tribal entities don’t contribute to the government coffers that provided their seed capital.
The 30-year Treaty settlement process has created a network of wealthy claimant groups with substantial political power.
These groups have regular meetings with the Prime Minister, have been granted co-governance rights on a number of councils, are demanding the right to control water, and expect to help determine resource consents under the proposed iwi clauses in the Resource Management Act.
Settlement deals include rights of first refusal to surplus Crown properties (for up to 176 years), statutory acknowledgements of interest in streams, rivers, lakes, mountains, and scenic areas, geographic place name changes, and co-governance arrangements with local bodies.
The settlements detailed below were compiled from details on the Office of Treaty Settlements website and include claimant group, date of settlement, and dollar value to December 31, 2016.
Each settlement includes financial redress (cash and/or property), rights of first refusal on the purchase of properties within the claim area, cultural redress, and co-governance arrangements.
Cultural redress and co-governance include dollar amounts not included in the financial redress total.
The financial redress amounts are sometimes “plus interest” where the interest is not specified.
The settlements detailed below were compiled from details on the Office of Treaty Settlements website and includes claimant group, date of settlement, and dollar value to December 31, 2016.
|Te Uri o Hau||2002||17.20|
|Tuwharetoa (Bay of Plenty)||2005||12.40|
|Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi||2005||31.00|
|Te Arawa Lakes||2006||10.80|
|Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa||2008||38.90|
|*Central Nth Island Forests Iwi Collective||2008||372.56|
|Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika||2009||25.03|
|Ngati Apa (North Island)||2010||22.00|
|Nga Wai o Maniopoto||2012||-|
|Maraeroa A and B Blocks||2012||1.80|
|Ngati Whatua o Orakei||2012||20.00|
|Ngati Whatua o Kaipara||2013||22.10|
|Te Atiawa o Te Waka-a-Maui||2014||20.01|
|Ngati Tama ki Te Tau Ihu||2014||20.31|
|Rangitane o Wairau||2014||25.37|
|Ngati Apa ki te Ra To||2014||28.37|
|Ngati Koroki Kahukura||2014||6.98|
|H.B. Regional Council Planning Committee Act||2015|
|Kawerau a Maki||2015||6.80|
|Rangitane o Manawatu||2016||13.80|
|Te Atiawa Taranaki||2016||87.00|
|Rangitane o Wairarapa||32.50|
|Te Tira Whakaemi o te Wairoa||100.00|
|Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa||6.50|
|Ngai Te Rangi and Nga Potiki||29.50|
* Taranaki tribe Ngati Tama announced in 2012 that it lost its entire $14.5-million settlement received in 2003 blaming poor investments
* By mid-2013, bad investments and bailouts were blamed for wiping out almost half the value off Taupo tribe Tuwharetoa’s $66-million share of the 2008 “Treelord’s” settlement.
*Waikato River. The total includes all payments for 27 years. A total of $130.8-million was paid up front. The government argues that this is not historical redress and so should not be included in the settlement total.
*Ngati Manawa also received $12.2-million worth of Central North Island forestland included in the Central North Island deal.
Settlements compensating for land confiscation: Waikato/Tainui, Ruanui, Te Uri o Hau (ceded), Ngati Tama, Ngati Awa, Tuwharetoa (Bay of Plenty), Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Pahauwera, Ngati Makino, Ngai Tamanuhiri (ceded), Rongawhakaata (ceded), Ngati Manuhiri (ceded), Waitaha, Raukawa, Maungaharuru-Tangitu Hapu, Tapuika, Ngati Rangiwewehi, Tuhoe, Ngati Koroki Kahukura, Ngati Haua, Ngai Ranginui, Ngati Pukenga, Ngai Te Rangi and Nga Potiki, Taranaki Iwi, Ngati Hineuru, Ngaruahine, Te Atiawa Taranaki,
1. Letter, Office of Treaty Settlements to He Toa Takitini, September 5, 2013.
2. Treaty of Waitangi Amendment Bill, December 18, 1984. Hansard
3. Healing the past, building a future. Red Book.
Indoctrination is the process of instilling ideas and attitudes by persistent instruction. The New Zealand government systematically fosters politically correct ideas and attitudes on the Treaty of Waitangi, our history, and the position of Maori people in society.
Once upon a time, New Zealand culture was heavily dominated by British culture and traditions. Older New Zealanders would remember going to the movies and being required to stand for a rendition of the British national anthem ‘God Save the Queen’, singing Anglican hymns and reading the Bible at school prize-givings, and listening to a speech by some dignitary on the opening of anything official.
All that has changed. Now, the use of Maori-culture welcoming ceremonies and choreographed war dances at official functions, school prize-givings, graduations, at the opening of government buildings, and at funerals, has created a Maori-cultural frame for day-to-day existence.
Official occasions in New Zealand in the 1950s appeared exclusively British. Today, despite the fact that we are now a multi-ethnic multi-cultural society, they appear Maori.
New Zealand government departments take politically correct thought very seriously. In this policy area, those expressing ideas counter to the official narrative are condemned or shamed with accusations of racism.
Nurses must be trained in “cultural safety”. This home-grown concept emerged here in the late 1980s as a framework for the delivery of “more appropriate” health services for Maori people.
Culturally safe practices, according to the Nursing Council of New Zealand, include actions “which recognize and respect the cultural identities of others, and safely meet their needs, expectations and rights”. Such behaviour is contrasted with culturally unsafe practices which are “those that diminish, demean or disempower the cultural identity and well-being of an individual”. (1)
An early casualty of cultural safety in the 1990s was student Anna Penn, who said she had been “bounced out” of her nursing course for being branded culturally unsafe by the polytechnic’s Maori elder (kaumatua) after she questioned the denial of her right as a woman to speak on a marae.
Penn completed her training in Australia but has since returned to work in New Zealand.
There is a version of cultural safety for student teachers. At the application interview, prospective students must state their relationship with the Treaty of Waitangi and affirm loyalty to treaty principles.
During induction, Maori songs are learned and sung, Maori ceremonial greetings (mihis) are learned, and a trip to a Maori meeting house (marae) is customary.
Treaty principles form the moral code of the New Zealand curriculum. Woe betide any student who points out that the word “partnership” does not appear in the treaty.
The NZ Graduating Teacher standards say that “graduating teachers are required to have knowledge of tikanga and te reo Maori to work effectively within the bicultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand – no recognition of the fact that New Zealand is no longer a bicultural country, but rather one where many cultures mingle. (2)
Every teacher has his or her own story about cultural indoctrination in our schools and teacher training institutes.
In universities too, getting approval to undertake a new research project often requires the researcher to show how the research relates to the Treaty, and would benefit Maori.
Most people won’t say a word against treaty orthodoxy for fear of being called racist. Such name calling is merely a bid to shut down debate and public scrutiny.
1. Nursing Council of New Zealand 2002, p.9
2. Preparing the parrots