Treaty settlements working for all

February 8, 2014

The Crown signed a Deed of Settlement for all outstanding historical Treaty claims with Ngāti Kuri yesterday.

Ngāti Kuri’s claims are based on the Crown’s actions and omissions which left Ngāti Kuri marginalised on their ancestral lands with few economic opportunities. Many had to leave the rohe altogether, resulting in a loss of social cohesion and difficulty in passing on Ngāti Kuri’s tikanga, traditional knowledge and language to younger generations.

“Signing the Deed at Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua recognises Ngāti Kuri’s role as kaitiaki over this area,” Mr Finlayson said. “This settlement will enable the people of Ngāti Kuri to focus on developing a strong cultural and economic base for the future.”

The settlement includes financial and commercial redress of $21 million. It also includes cultural redress providing recognition of the traditional, historical, cultural and spiritual associations of Ngāti Kuri with several key sites.   

As part of the settlement, Ngāti Kuri will receive a cultural endowment fund of $2.230 million for the enhancement of the historical and cultural identity of Ngāti Kuri.

“Signing this Deed of Settlement with Ngāti Kuri is an important step towards settling all historical grievances in the Far North and New Zealand as a whole. It signifies a new relationship between Ngāti Kuri and the Crown,” Mr Finlayson said. . .

Settling claims has obvious benefits for those directly involved but the Minister says the gains are spread much wider:

Some people say they want an end to historical settlements. Most people agree. I do. Maori want them resolved as well.

For a while it seemed as if this might never happen. The process, which had started with fanfare in the 1990s, was crawling along at a snail’s pace for much of the 2000s.

One briefing to the previous government optimistically predicted all settlements could be completed by the year 2060.

That has changed. The completion of all settlements is now an achievable goal. It can happen, with the goodwill of all parties, in the next few years.

The settlements will end not because Maori and the public have tired of them, but because they are finished.

The Ngati Kuri will bring to 42 the number of settlements this Government has signed with iwi. That brings the total to 68.

National’s policy since the 1990s has been to address real grievances by reaching full and final settlements with genuine claimants in a timely fashion. Are there non-genuine claims? Certainly, just as there are vexatious cases in the common law courts. They are easy to spot. We are not interested in claims about the ownership of wind, for example.

Outrageous claims like this get a lot of attention in the media but that doesn’t mean they carry any weight in negotiations.

We are determined, however, to put right the thoroughly and accurately documented cases of hurt caused by the Crown’s wrongful actions in the past. This is what Treaty settlements are about.

The faster we settle these claims, the sooner there is an end. The sooner we settle, the sooner iwi can see the benefits of their settlements, and the sooner all New Zealanders benefit from moving on from grievance. Justice delayed is justice denied.

The success of Iwi who have moved from grievance is proof that we all benefit.

And the good news is that the completion of settlements is closer than many people think.

The number of remaining settlements is fewer than 50. Many of the remaining claimants have signed agreements in principle setting out the broad parameters of their settlements, and the Crown is engaged with almost all groups.

We are well on the way to the end. And the sky has not fallen. Despite dire predictions from a small minority at the beginning of this process, the quality of life of most New Zealanders has not been affected in any way. Beaches, national parks, rivers and mountain ranges are still enjoyed by everyone in exactly the same way they were before.

What has happened is that iwi have invested in their people and their regions.

Rather than blowing the proceeds of Treaty settlements, as was again predicted by a vocal few, most have acted wisely and developed the capacity of their people.

That’s another fact that may have surprised some people at the start of this process: Treaty settlements have brought iwi closer to their local communities, not further away.

The result is less division, less fear of the unknown, and more unity.

I think there is also more respect and greater understanding, all of which is better for us all.

 


Making better use of Maori land

February 6, 2014

Maori own a lot of land which is underutilised.

Making better use of it would provide environmental, economic and social benefits for the owners and wider New Zealand.


Recognition, healing and recompence

February 5, 2014

Another Waitangi Day approaches and protesters are out again and as usual they’ve got their blinkers on:

While anti-mining protesters are planning a torrid welcome for John Key at Waitangi tomorrow, the Prime Minister was close to receiving the cold shoulder from Te Tii Marae this year, Ngapuhi kaumatua Kingi Taurua says. . .

Mr Taurua today confirmed the decision to allow Mr Key and other politicians to speak this year was only narrowly agreed.

Those opposed to Mr Key speaking believed the Treaty was not being honoured, he told the Herald.

“They only pick pieces of the Treaty when they want to and they don’t consult, they don’t talk to us about it and they just go ahead and make the process, for example the asset sales.”

Not honouring the treaty?

If he’d take off his blinkers and look at what has been achieved he’d no that’s not the reality as Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson shows:

Treaty settlements are as much about recognition and healing as they are about recompense. Settlements address our past and invest in a common future.

This work has been my responsibility as Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations since 2008. Good progress has been made to resolve historical grievances in that time.

After three years of steady acceleration, the government has now reached an unprecedented pace in the settlement of historic Treaty claims. This is a result of the government’s goal of reaching full and final settlements in a timely fashion, and a recognition that New Zealanders want to see these historical grievances settled so we can move on – as one country.

Take a look at our progress, as at December 12, 2013, below.

treatyprogress

 

National has admitted it won’t reach its goal of all settlements completed this year, but it has made significant progress and will continue to do so.

It is determined to complete all the settlements so iwi can move from grievance to growth.

Ngai Tahu provides a wonderful example of what can be achieved in economic, social and environmental terms when they get a settlement and turn their attention to more positive endeavours than those the protesters at Waitangi waste their energy on.

 

 


Better right than rushed

January 6, 2014

The government isn’t going to meet it’s deadline of completing all Treaty or Waitangi settlements by the end of this year.

. . . Instead, the Government has quietly pushed that out to 2017.

But Mr Key says they are doing much better than Labour, which he claims would have taken 40 years to get it done.

“We’re not going to make it in 2014,” says Mr Key. “We basically argued the case it was a goal. We’re going to get very close, but my guess is it will probably take to 2017 to finish everything off.”

But in admitting that, the Government’s attacking Labour, saying during its nine years in office, it made 15 treaty settlements. In National’s five years, it’s done 41.

“For whatever reason, there wasn’t a lot done in the nine years under Labour,” says Chris Finlayson, Minister for Treaty Negotiations. . .

It’s estimated there are around 58 more settlements to be reached, and negotiations with many are underway.

Mr Key says it would cost taxpayers more if it kept to the 2014 target.

“If you’re settling because you’ve got your arm up your back, you’re actually spending a lot more money than is prudent to do so,” he says. . . .

It’s better to get the settlements right than to rush them.

Those Iwi which have already settled are seeing big gains for themselves as they move from grievance to growth.

That’s good not just for them but the country in both economic and social terms.

Photo: Best of 2013: Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson signs 8 Treaty Settlement Deeds, marking 41 settlements since 2008.


Not Judge Judy

December 3, 2013

Tweet of the day:

 


Political tragics and lawyers will be happy

November 28, 2013

At first glance I thought you’d have to be a political tragic or lawyer to appreciate this but no doubt there are others who have to work with legislation who will find it useful.


Focussing on what doesn’t matter

November 2, 2013

The Labour Party’s constitutional changes have given more say, and power to the members.

It has, they say, made the party more democratic. Although quite how allowing organisations more power than individuals can be described as democratic is debatable.

Regardless of that, members are having more say and unfortunately for the party’s PR machine, that is what is getting the publicity from this weekend’s conference.

Yesterday Stuff published some of the more radical proposals including  one that would force the candidate selection committee to consider a range of factors, including sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, disability and age, to ensure they are “fairly” represented in the party.

. . . But there are a raft of other controversial remits to be debated at the conference that will turn the focus on Labour’s social agenda.

They include a radical change to abortion laws that seems to take doctors out of decision-making and give a pregnant woman “the opportunity and freedom to make the best decision for her own circumstances”. . . 

Other proposals are:

* Maori language made compulsory in state schools and teachers required to be competent in te reo

* Privatised state assets renationalised with compensation based on “proven need”

* The Government’s roads of national significance project dumped and the funds put into public transport

* Teaching of civics and democracy mandatory for all schoolchildren

* Laws to discourage excessive alcohol consumption, a review of the purchasing age, alcohol availability and an increase in the price of booze

* Prisoners again getting the right to vote

* A national sex and sexuality education programme dealing with sexual diseases, contraception methods, consent, sexual orientation and gender identity

 * New Zealand becoming a republic

* An apology for the Foreshore and Seabed Act passed in 2004

* A prohibition on school boards of trustees restricting same-sex partners from attending school balls

* A Pasifika television station

* A Maori language newspaper

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson agrees the apology should be issued:

“I am glad that almost a decade after passing this shameful piece of legislation, which denied access to the courts to people based on race, the Labour Party is ready to discuss an apology,” Mr Finlayson said.

The National government repealed the Foreshore and Seabed Act in 2011 with the support of the Māori Party and United Future, and restored the right of Māori to go to court through the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act.

“I would suggest that the Labour leadership also apologise for their the party’s abysmal treatment of Tariana Turia because of her principled stand over the issue,” he said.

“While they are at it, they should apologise for the way Helen Clark called Dr Pita Sharples, a man who has devoted his life to improving Māori educational achievement, a ‘hater and a wrecker’.”

“They should apologise that Ms Clark deliberately snubbed the 35,000 New Zealanders who made a hikoi to Parliament to protest that discriminatory legislation, preferring to pose for a photo opportunity with Shrek the sheep.”

“At the same time, Labour may wish to say sorry for the way Treaty of Waitangi settlements stalled almost completely during their nine years in power – averaging 1.6 settlements per year, and needlessly delaying the resolution of these grievances for the good of the country. Last year, the government signed 15 deeds of settlement with iwi, only one fewer than Labour’s total for nine years in office.”

This has brought out several helpful suggestions in social media about other apologies Labour should make, including one to Shrek, although as he’s dead just now that’s a bit late.

Back to the conference.

What members in any party want isn’t always consistent with the party’s philosophy and principles.

People join parties for a range of reasons among which is the desire to push a particular barrow and the party is just a vehicle for doing that.

The trouble for the party is that some of these barrows are more interesting and newsworthy than what else might be going on at the conference and therefore get attention.

The selection criteria proposal has already been watered down but not sufficiently to wash from voters’ minds the conviction that Labour is still focussed on social engineering.

It also leaves questions about what the party thinks is important and how different that is to what matters to voters.

John Armstrong writes on the conference:

. . . You could be excused thinking this might also be an opportunity for the caucus spokesmen and women in key portfolios to give some indication of their thinking even though they may not have been in those roles for very long.

Instead the conference will devote several hours to wrangling over the wording of a “policy platform” document setting out Labour’s values, vision and priorities which has already been months in the drafting.

The platform is supposed to answer that perennial question: what does Labour stand for.

You can safely bet that 99.9 per cent of all voters will never set eyes upon it, let alone read it.

This is the kind of navel-gazing exercise a party undertakes and completes in the year after an election – not a year out from the next one.

It all reinforces the impression of a party focused inwards rather than outwards.

That is underlined by the series of policy remits which deal with such pressing matters as compulsory Maori language classes in schools, apologising to Maori over the foreshore and seabed farrago, state funding of political parties (a hardy annual) and entrenching the Bill of Rights (whatever difference that would make).

Many of the items amount to wish-list policies produced by the party’s sector groups. The words “out of touch” spring to mind.

While all this navel gazing was going on, the government was getting on with what matters, including announcements on a replacement for the Teachers’ Council and the decision to not allow the damming of the Nevis River.

Even on a matter of moment – state asset sales – Labour seems to be living in the past. One proposal up for debate at yesterday’s workshops would have had a Labour government reviewing the state-owned enterprises model so that it was no longer “pro-capitalist” and enabled “workers’ participation, control and management of industry”.

The “policy proposal” would have also required Labour to “re-nationalise” every state asset privatised by the current National Government, with compensation being paid only to shareholders with “proven need”.

That is a blunt retort to Bill English’s jibe that if Labour opposes asset sales so much, why doesn’t the party commit itself to borrowing the money to buy them back.

Exactly where the line would have drawn on compensation is not clear. But there would be some mighty unhappy investors in Mighty River Power if told they were not going to get their money back. That would amount to theft – and would have seriously dented New Zealand’s credibility as a haven for foreign investment, as well as sending all the wrong messages about saving.

The proposal was voted down by delegates. The question is how it managed to make it onto the conference agenda – and why something better was not put up in its place. Sometimes political parties need protecting from themselves.

Labour’s membership may feel liberated by recent changes in the party’s rules. But more influence brings the need to act more responsibly. At some point, however, Cunliffe is going to have to lurch back to the right. It won’t happen today. But it will happen. Watch for some real fireworks within Labour when it does.

Cunliffe won the leadership on votes from members and unions and he’s been feeding them left-wing rhetoric.

Whether or not he believes what he says is difficult to fathom because he varies his message to suit his audience.

However, the impression that remains is that he and his party are lurching to the left.

That might appeal to some of those who didn’t bother to vote last time. But it will repel some who did vote for the more moderate policies promoted by Labour under Phil Goff and won’t give their votes to support a more radical left agenda.

Gains on the left flank could be lost from the centre and go to the right.

While the party is focussing on what doesn’t matter, voters are worried about what does – the economy, education, health and security.

That’s National’s focus too and it’s making a positive difference to the country as the series of good news stories grows.

Meanwhile #gigatownoamaru is focussed on becoming the Southern Hemisphere’s sharpest town,

 


Finlayson on Labour’s leadership history

July 8, 2013

Last week’s man-ban debacle has once again called into question Labour’s leadership, or lack of it.

Richard Harman gives an outline of how it happened:

Make no mistake this “Man Ban” furore has raised potentially fatal questions about David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party.

Here at “The Nation” last week we got a front row view of just how dysfunctional the Shearer leadership machine is.

First up, it is mind boggling that it was left to Cameron Slater and his “Whaleoil” blog to reveal that the party was proposing to allow women-only  candidate selections as part of a bid to evenly balance its gender representation by 2017.

This proposal is part of the party’s Organisational Review which began work last year.

Its proposals have already surfaced at a national conference; at local LECs and at regional conferences.

They then went to the party’s Policy Council.

Either Mr Shearer is so out of touch with what is happening inside his own party or alternatively — as one Labour source suggested to me over the weekend – he simply wasn’t listening.

But nor, apparently, were the rest of the caucus.

Or, and this is important, Mr Shearer’s media advisors.

On Friday, the chief press secretary was on a day off.

That about sums it up.

Such is the lack of urgency in the Leader of the Opposition’s office that his staff work appear to work public service hours. . .

He continues on the difficulty finding someone in labour to discuss the issue and concludes:

We now know that later on Friday an email went out to top Labour party officials advising them to shut up about the “Man Ban”.

Ms Moroney then appeared on “The Nation” with her compromise solution to the whole thing which she said she was going to put to the Caucus.

Surely the time for that was  at least a week ago before the original remit was sent out to the media.

But that would have required planning — and leadership.

We have not heard the last of this whole shambolic affair.

It’s yet another indication that Labour isn’t performing well in opposition and is therefore nowhere near ready to lead a government.

One solution to that is a leadership change and a couple of week’s ago Chris Finlayson helpfully provided a history lesson on that:

. . . One of the great questions of New Zealand history is: “Why is the Labour Party so disloyal to its leaders?”. Right through history, treachery has been the name of the game. Let us look at Arnold Nordmeyer, who provided sterling service to the Labour Party through the first and second Labour Governments. He was the MP for Ōāmaru, then the MP for Brooklyn, and then the MP for Island Bay. He was knifed by Norman Kirk. The rumblings against “Big Norm” started in the second year of his premiership, but he died before the conspirators could knife him.

Then there was my favourite Labour leader, Bill Rowling, a good and a decent man who, as Mr Mallard knows, used to live in Lohia Street, Khandallah. He was undermined by a less talented but more ruthless deputy. How often history doth repeat itself. David Lange was undermined by Mr Goff and his then ideological buddy Roger Douglas. Geoffrey Palmer was certainly an interesting person. He certainly was undermined by Helen Clark and by Mike Moore, but I have to admit that much of the undermining was done by Geoffrey just being Geoffrey.

Mike Moore was undermined by Helen Clark, who knifed him straight after the 1993 election, when Mike had gained an additional 16 seats for his party—that is loyalty for you. Helen Clark knew her history. She kept her enemies at bay, and I am not referring to just the Green Party. She saw off Annette King and Phil Goff in 1996, when they tried to knife her, and she went in 2008, before the daggers went in. Then from 2008 to 2011 we had that very angry Phil Goff, undermined from the very start by Mr Cunliffe—no wonder he is so foul-mouthed and cannot control his tongue.

I recognise that many of the names I have referred to—and I see Mr Robertson looking confused and bewildered—will be unknown to people like Mr Robertson, who have no knowledge of their party’s history, and so are doomed to relive it. It is like some kind of macabre Byzantine dance of killers. People cooperate to get rid of one leader, so that they can turn on the next one.

Then we have David Shearer, who, I think, is a very nice guy, a good and a decent man, a person who has done a lot of good overseas. But none of his dealings with central African dictatorships or Balkan civil wars could have prepared him for the leadership of the Labour Party. Poor David Shearer. He has run out of options. He has nowhere to turn. He cannot rely on his deputy and he cannot turn to his allies. I bet this morning he was reading the New Zealand Herald, looking longingly at seat 17A from Moscow to Havana.

Then we have David Shearer, who, I think, is a very nice guy, a good and a decent man, a person who has done a lot of good overseas. But none of his dealings with central African dictatorships or Balkan civil wars could have prepared him for the leadership of the Labour Party. Poor David Shearer. He has run out of options. He has nowhere to turn. He cannot rely on his deputy and he cannot turn to his allies. I bet this morning he was reading the New Zealand Herald, looking longingly at seat 17A from Moscow to Havana.

Mr Shearer has been quoted as saying that he was surprised by today’s results, but the trouble for Mr Shearer is he is simply too trusting. He is too trusting and too quick to trust people like Mr Robertson to recruit his staff to look after him. He is too quick to trust parties that are out to steal his vote. I imagine that Mr Shearer was delighted when Mr Peters shone that trademark smile and offered to work with Labour to attack the Government. I imagine he was delighted when Dr Russel Norman said: “Let me work with you to design a Stalinist energy policy, and maybe it would be a good idea if we both had a podium in the legislative chamber when we announce the speech, because it would give you more gravitas.” And now Mr Shearer is surprised that Mr Peters and Mr Norman are laughing all the way to the polling booth. In fact, he is so trusting that I have to say I really worry that the hundreds of thousands of dollars in his New York bank account are ripe for picking if a Nigerian scammer ever sends him an email. He would probably be really surprised and delighted to receive it. So what is the moral of the story? There is always a moral. I say this to the Labour Party, with the greatest of respect and affection: loyalty is what binds a party together. If you can’t trust your leader, you’re done.

And if the public can’t trust a party to run itself, we certainly can’t trust it to run the country.

If you prefer to watch and listen to the speech, the video is at the link above.


Was it MMP’s fault?

May 13, 2013

MMP has been given some of the blame for the inability to kick Aaron Gilmore out of parliament.

Is that fair?

No.

Both list and electorate MPs can be sacked from their caucus and party but if they don’t resign they stay in parliament until the next election when voters give their verdict.

However, while a voters can ensure an MP doesn’t win an electorate they have no influence on where a candidate is on their party’s list. That means they can vote for someone else in the electorate but still find the person they rejected has got into parliament.

This is an aspect of the system on which many people submitted to the review of MMP, arguing that if an MP loses a seat, or contests it and fails to win it, s/he should not be able to enter parliament on the list.

I disagree with that.

Standing in an electorate ensures candidates face the voters and get to know the people whose support they are soliciting and learn about their concerns.

If they take it seriously, and given it’s the party vote which really counts they’d be stupid not to, they gain an understanding of the individuals, groups and communities on whom their policies will impact.

The goods ones don’t just stand in an electorate they stay in touch with it, working with and for the people in it. And failing once or twice doesn’t prevent later success.

Eric Roy* and Nicky Wagner, for example, failed to win electorates but got in on the list, worked hard, earned the support of the people and won Invercargill and Christchurch Central respectively.

Others like Chris Finlayson and Michael Woodhouse have stood in dark red seats they have little hope of winning, but even those who don’t share their political views would be hard pressed to criticise their performance as MPs and Ministers.

I have no doubt that standing in electorates has helped them in their work.

That not all list MPs who stand in seats perform well in parliament is not a reason to change the rules to prevent dual candidacy.

MMP is not my preferred electoral system but the advantages of dual candidacies outweigh the disadvantages.

One valid criticism of the system is that list MPs aren’t directly answerable to constituents. Dual candidacy at least means they have to front up to voters.

Good MPs will ensure they don’t squander the goodwill they earn by doing so by continuing to work in electorates whether or not they have any chance of winning them.

But to return to the original question of whether it’s MMP’s fault that Gilmore could have stayed in parliament had he not chosen to resign.

It’s not. But it is the system which enabled him to be there in the first place and that system has given less power to people in electorates and more to parties.

If parties get an electorate selection wrong, voters can ensure the candidate doesn’t get into parliament. They can’t do that with an individual list MP.

* Eric first entered parliament in 1993 by winning the seat of Ararua which disappeared when MMP was introduced. He stood unsuccessfully for Invercargill twice but stayed in parliament as a list MP. He missed out on the electorate and list in 2002 but won the seat in 2005.


South Island fully settled

April 21, 2013

The Deed of Settlement signed by the Crown and for all outstanding historical Treaty of Waitangi claims with Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu yesterday was especially significant.

Treaty  Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said it marks the final deed of settlement for historical claims in the South Island.

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-NZ
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:PMingLiU;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Cordia New”;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

“This government is committed to resolving all historical Treaty grievances, and so it is a monumental occasion as we sign the last outstanding deed of settlement for historical claims in the South Island,” Mr Finlayson said.

This is the 62nd deed of settlement signed by the Crown since 1990. It is the 36th to have been signed since November 2008.

“ This government is committed to just and durable settlements of these grievances in a timely fashion,” he said. “We have increased the rate at which settlements are being reached, so that full and final resolution of these issues is accomplished sooner for the benefit of Māori and all New Zealanders.”

“Around 60 groups are now actively engaged with the Crown in various stages of ratification, negotiation, or pre-negotiation towards that goal,” Mr Finlayson said.

“Over the past four years the completion of all historical settlements has gone from being a vanishing point constantly beyond the horizon, to being recognized as an achievable goal that is now well advanced,” Mr Finlayson said.

National has finalised nearly twice as many settlements in four years as Labour managed in nine.

That must be helpful in focussing claimants on a successful resolution.

“Moreover, claimant groups are seeing the benefits of settlement earlier, as Parliament has helped the passage of Treaty bills in recent years through extended sitting hours for non-controversial legislation.”

The deed of settlement signed between South Island iwi Ngāi Tahu and the Crown was one of the first major modern Treaty settlements.

Ngāi Tahu has since grown its assets from $170 million to equity of $587 million (and total assets of $748 million), and is an integral part of the economy in Christchurch, Kaikōura and other parts of its rohe, through investments including property, tourism, and fisheries.

“Treaty settlements provide an economic boost for the regions,” Mr Finlayson said. “Local iwi are committed to their areas, and settlements help them create opportunities for development and long term growth. They are good for New Zealand.”

The unemployment rate in the South Island is about half that of the North.

Careful management of its assets by Ngai Tahu has enabled it to be  a significant employer.

We’re all better off because of the settlements, not least because it changes the focus of claimants from grievance to growth.

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-NZ
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

“This government is committed to

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:PMingLiU;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Cordia New”;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}


Unlocking $8b potential in Maori land

April 4, 2013

A report commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries has shown there’s $8 billion potential held in over one million hectares of Maori freehold land.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says:

The report Growing the Productive Base of Māori Freehold Land estimates that lifting productivity to average industry benchmarks could result in an additional $8 billion in gross output and 3,600 new jobs for the primary sector. To achieve the estimated gains an investment in the land of just under $3 billion would be required.

“The potential for Maori freehold land represents an opportunity for Maori, the wider primary sector and New Zealand as a whole,” says Mr Guy.

“The report confirms that some iwi are well organised and have their asset base generating good returns, while others haven’t realised their true potential yet.

“It is ultimately up to Maori to work out how to realise that potential, but Government has an important role partnering with Māori as leaders in driving a change.

“The proposed reforms to the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act announced by Minister for Treaty Settlements Chris Finlayson and Minister of Māori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples today will be an important step towards unlocking this potential,” says Mr Guy.

Late last year the Ministry for Primary Industries provided close to $3 million in funding for initiatives to promote sustainability and innovation amongst Maori agribusinesses.

The Ministry is also working with education agencies, training providers and other stakeholders to identify the opportunities to provide targeted training to Maori agribusinesses.

The Maori collective asset base is estimated at $37 billion. Approximately 30 per cent ($10.6 billion) is estimated to be in the primary sectors.

The full report is here.

This is a huge untapped resource which could benefit the landowners, their local communities and the wider economy.

Releasing it requires some changes to the complex rules governing Maori land.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and Associate Minister Chris Finlayson have released a discussion document on how to improve the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act, and Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

The purpose of the document is to seek views on how best to ensure that Te Ture Whenua Māori Act unlocks the economic potential of Māori land while preserving its cultural significance for future generations.

There are over 27,137 blocks of Māori land under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act, comprising 1.42 million hectares, or around 5% of the total land in New Zealand. It has been estimated up to 80% of Māori land is under-performing for its owners.

“The proposals of the expert review group will contribute to building a more productive and competitive economy as part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda,” Mr Finlayson said. “There is huge potential in Māori land that has been held back by flawed legislation and complex regulation.”

“The propositions seek to provide the appropriate legislative framework for the retention of Māori land while at the same time making it easier for engaged owners to use and develop the land for the benefit of whānau, hapū and iwi,” he said. “The benefits for Māori and the country as a whole are potentially very significant.”

The Minister of Māori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples said that this process will contribute to He kai kei aku ringa: the Crown-Māori Economic Growth Partnership Strategy and Action Plan, by looking at how government can support Maori development of this cultural, and economic resource.

“Whenua is a cornerstone of our Māori identity,” Dr Sharples said. “Maori land owners should be supported to develop or retain their resource, in line with the aspirations they have for their own development.”

“There are many Maori land blocks that remain unutilised; that represents a huge potential for economic, social and cultural development for tangata whenua.”

The discussion document looks at on-going challenges, such as effectively providing for the use and management of Māori land in the face of continuing fragmentation of land interests, and the result that 80% of Māori land remains underdeveloped.

The expert review panel’s propositions are:

  • Utilisation of Māori land should be able to be determined by a majority of engaged owners;
  • All Māori land should be capable of utilisation and effective administration;
  • Māori land should have effective, fit for purpose, governance;
  • There should be an enabling institutional framework to support owners of Māori land to make decisions and resolve any disputes;
  • Excessive fragmentation of Māori land should be discouraged.

The panel will hold a series of regional hui during April and May in areas with high concentrations of Māori land and/or Māori land owners.

The discussion document is here.


Does Labour really want to win the Maori seats?

February 27, 2013

If Labour really wants to win the Maori seats, shouldn’t the party’s Treaty Negotiations spokesperson be on its front bench?

Labour took the Maori seats for granted until it lost them but doesn’t seem to have learned a lesson.

The party also tries to criticise National for its record but Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson met  more settlement milestones in three years than Labour did in nine and he has continued the pace in his second term.


Another Treaty settlement ticked off

December 8, 2012

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has ticked off another Treaty settlement with the signing of a deed of settlement for all outstanding historical Treaty claims with Ngati Toa Rangatira.

“Today’s settlement highlights the importance of putting the injustices of the past behind us,” Mr Finlayson said. “The actions of the Crown, that included political and military action against the senior Ngati Toa chiefs, ultimately left Ngati Toa virtually landless and without resources in both the North and South Islands. We can never fully compensate for the wrongs of the past but this settlement enables Ngati Toa to build a stronger future.”

The Minister was named MP of the Year by Trans Tasman and topped the NZ Herald’s ministerial rankings.

His record for settling Treaty claims alone is impressive.

Kiwiblog has a chart which shows the productivity of Treaty Negotiations Ministers:

As you can see Doug Graham started them off, and saw through the two largest ones of Ngai Tahu and Tainui, along with a few others in 1999.

Margaret Wilson in four years only managed five agreements, and finished off three of Graham’s.
Mark Burton did just two agreements in three years. So for seven years, there were just eight agreements in principle. At that rate we’d still be negotiating these in 2050!
Michael Cullen did a pretty good job of picking the pace up. He did 12 agreements in just one year!
And Chris Finlayson in four years has done 48 agreements or settlements. We won’t make the goal of having all settlements done by the end of 2014, but we’ll be pretty well advanced towards it.

Even those who are not fans of the settlements, should appreciate the benefits of getting them done sooner or quicker. No party in Parliament (from ACT to Mana) claims these should not happen. . .

Ngai Tahu provides a wonderful example of what happens when an Iwi moves from grievance to growth.

Its Treaty settlement has been put to good use and the investments are not only providing benefits for its own people but are making a significant contribution to the South Island economy and New Zealand.


Finlayson tops with Trans Tasman

December 3, 2012

Attorney General and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson is Trans Tasman’s politician of the year:

. . . But when the votes were counted, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson’s outstanding work in pushing through Treaty of Waitangi settlement Bills and deals, and his growing reputation as a safe pair of hands got him the nod. His increasing stature as a politician and member of the inner circle was evident when John Key passed responsibility for the Department of Labour to him after Kate Wilkinson stepped down.
He was also charged with the role of informing the Pike River families of the outcome of the Royal Commission into the mining tragedy. He had been viewed as a back-room person, interested in the arts and on the fringe of the Government. He has now been pulled into a more overt political role, to go with his increasing confidence in the House. . .

The Trans Tasman roll call  ranks all MPs in parliament:

. . . As for the numbers, of National’s 59 MPs, 20 boosted their score, 18 went down, and 11 stayed the same. 29 of the 59 had scores of 5 or above. 10 MPs could not be compared with last year as they were new entrants.

In Labour’s ranks 9 MPs boosted their score, 12 went down and 8 stayed the same. 12 of 34 had scores of 5 or better. 5 new entrants could not be compared with last year.

Of the Maori Party’s three MPs, two went down, while one went up, all had scores over 5.

The Greens managed 2 higher scores, 2 lower scores, 3 stayed the same and just 2 rated 5 or better. 7 of their MPs were unable to be compared with last year.

For NZ First none of the 8 could be compared with last year and just one had a score better than 5.

The roll call is here

 

 


Finlayson tops Herald’s ministerial rankings

November 12, 2012

The Attorney General, Minister for Treaty Negotiations and now acting Minister of Labour, Chris Finlayson is number one in the NZ Herald’s ministerial rankings.

Chris Finlayson has emerged as one of John Key’s most valuable ministers in National’s second term. He has scored the highest rating of all ministers in my report card on the Executive prepared with colleagues in the Herald press gallery team. . .

Mr Finlayson is Attorney-General and Treaty Negotiations Minister. He is also Labour Minister since Kate Wilkinson resigned after the royal commission’s damning report into the Pike River disaster.

On the face of it, that may not seem a natural fit – and it may be just a temporary appointment until the next reshuffle. But Mr Finlayson’s skill set may be the right one to keep the job for the rest of the term. He gets results. He has a big intellect and has a good head for detail. But he is also emotionally intelligent, and was a good choice to send to the West Coast to discuss the report with the Pike River families.

His achievements in Treaty Negotiations are the most notable. Who would have imagined two years ago the Government concluding a deal with Tuhoe?

I think this is well deserved.  He doesn’t make a fuss but gets things done. The number of Treaty negotiations successfully concluded is in deed notable

Health Minister Tony Ryall and Justice Minister Judith Collins scored highly as well. The Opposition has been able to inflict few dents on the Government in health, such is Mr Ryall’s control after four years in the portfolio. Labour has had three spokespeople over four years. . .

At the other end of the ranking, education Minister Hekia Parata scored only 3.

The education portfolio is always a tough one. That it is tougher for National ministers in part shows the difficulty of effecting change in the face of strong unions which are ideologically opposed to the party regardless of the policy.

In spite of that and opposition from teacher unions at every step,the Minister has kept an unrelenting and sorely needed focus on improving standards, particularly for the long tail of underachievers.

Her work appears to have been handicapped at times by the Ministry of Education which seems to have learned nothing from the debacle over school closures under Trevor Mallard in the last Labour government’s first term.

School closure is always emotionally fraught. In Christchurch in the wake of earthquakes there was even more need for great care. The announcement and some really silly suggestions, such as merging Avonside and Christchurch Girls’, and Shirley and Christchurch Boys’ was, as Hekia Parata herself says crazy.

The loss of more than 9,000 pupils and earthquake damage to school property necessitated change, and major change at that, but a Ministry which handled such a sensitive issue so badly and says it didn’t give schools all the information because it was too complex needs major surgery.

The Herald’s rank (in ministerial order) is:

John Key – 7, Prime Minister, Tourism, SIS, GCSB

Bill English – 8, Finance

Gerry Brownlee – 7.5, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery, Transport

Steven Joyce – 7, Economic Development

Judith Collins – 8.5, Justice, ACC

Tony Ryall – 8.5, Health, State-owned Enterprises

Hekia Parata – 3, Education

Chris Finlayson – 9,Attorney General, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Labour

Paula Bennett – 7, Social Development

David Carter – 8, Primary Industries, Local Government

Murray McCully – 7, Foreign Affairs

Anne Tolley – 7, Police, Corrections

Jonathan Coleman – 8, Defence, State Services

Tim Groser – 8, Trade, Climate Change issues

Phil Heatley – 5, Housing, Energy and Resources

Kate Wilkinson – 4, Conservation, Food Safety

Nathan Guy – 6, Immigration, Veteran’s Affairs, Associate Primary Industries

Craig Foss – 6, Commerce, Broadcasting

Amy Adams – 7, Environment, Communication and Information Technology

Chris Tremain – 6, Internal Affairs

Maurice Williamson – 7, Building, Customs, Land Information

Jo Goodhew – 6, Senior Citizens, Women’s Affairs

Chester Borrows – 6, Courts, Associate Justice, Associate Social Development

Simon Bridges – 7, Consumer Affairs, Associate Climate Change, Associate Transport


Pike River report

November 5, 2012

The Royal Commission into the Pike River mine tragedy lays most of the blame on management.

But it also found faults in the regulatory environment.

Prime Minister John Key said:

“I speak on behalf of the Government when I say I regret deeply what has happened, in terms of the lives lost and suffering caused.

“The Royal Commission made it very clear that much of the fault for the tragedy lies with Pike River Coal Ltd. Because it did not follow good management and best practice principles, its health and safety systems were inadequate.

“However, the Royal Commission also says the regulatory environment was not effective over a long period of time.

“On behalf of the Government, I apologise to the families, friends and loved ones of the deceased men for the role this lack of regulatory effectiveness played in the tragedy.

“Following the findings of the Royal Commission, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has tendered her resignation from that portfolio.

“Ms Wilkinson’s decision to resign is a personal decision in response to the magnitude of the tragedy. It is the honourable thing to do.

I considered it proper for me to accept her resignation from the Labour portfolio.

Chris Finlayson has taken over the Labour portfolio.

The Government broadly accepts all 16 of the Royal Commission’s recommendations that cover administrative reform, stronger regulation, changes to mining legislation, improving workplace health and safety, and emergency management.

“I believe it is our duty to the 29 miners who died and their families to oversee the implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations,” Mr Finlayson says.

The Royal Commission’s report is here.


Conference reflections

July 24, 2012

My first National Party national conference was way back in 1996 – a few months before our first MMP election.

I was thinking about that while getting ready to go to his year’s conference and wondering if I’d been to enough and was in danger of suffering from conference fatigue.

The warmth of the welcome as I registered on Friday morning told me the answer to that was no and that was continually reinforced throughout the weekend.

As a regional chair I was privileged to sit through the candidates’ college, where I met some aspiring MPs and learned from two existing ones – first term MP Simon O’Connor and Prime Minister John Key.

The conference opened on Saturday morning. Speeches from ministers were informative and interesting with plenty of time for questions. Several workshop sessions also enabled plenty of interaction from the floor and we had the opportunity to debate seven remits too.

Saturday night’s dinner agenda included the presentation of a presidential citation to party stalwart and Super-Blue founder Bernie Poole and the Sir George Chapman Cup to retiring Young Nats president Daniel Fielding.

MC for the evening, senior whip Michael Woodhouse then introduced David Farrar who was chairing the debate for the Westminster Shield.

The moot was that the South Island should declare independence from the North.

Chris Finlayson led the affirmative team of Young Nats incoming president Sean Topham and Simon Bridges.

Nick Smith led Amy Adams and Neil Miller in putting the contrary case.

I thought of taking notes so I could repeat some of the hilarious lines but I was too busy laughing to write.

The judges were David, John Key and Bill English who almost upstaged the debaters with their humour.

The negative team won by .5 of a point.

Sunday’s programme began with an ecumenical church service followed by a session on law and order, more policy breakouts and concluded on a high with the Prime Minister’s address.

A first-time conference goer who I met at the airport was fizzing. It was a reminder to those of us who have been to several conferences that we shouldn’t take for granted the easy access to MPs, that we can still be inspired by the speeches, that the networking opportunities between formal sessions is part of the fun and that the best way to treat fears of conference-fatigue is to go to one.

It was a wonderful weekend and I’m already looking forward to next year’s.


Urewera Operation Eight still before courts

March 26, 2012

Former Police Minister Annette King was interviewed about the Urewera trial on Q&A yesterday.

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson wasn’t impressed:

This morning Labour MP Annette King appeared on television and made allegations about the Operation Eight investigation which occurred when she was Police Minister.

There are three on-going matters in the trials arising out of that operation:

1. The defendants’ sentencing on the firearms charges where guilty verdicts were returned;

2. The possibility of the defendants appealing those guilty verdicts; and

3. The Crown Solicitor’s decision on whether or not to seek a re-trial on the charges where no verdict was returned.

It is extremely disappointing a former minister of the Police would make these comments on television when she knows full well the Court process must run its course without political interference.

Government ministers will be making absolutely no comment while these matters are unresolved.

It is inappropriate for anyone, but particularly for politicians, to comment publicly on matters that are before the Courts.

Quite.


Greek accounting

November 5, 2011

The Greeks have contributed a lot to civilisation including democracy.

They have also given us the foundation of many of the words we use.

Unfortunately the quality of the contribution has been tarnished by the latest addition to the lexicon which is summed up so well in this quote of the day:

It appears that Mr Goff is a student of the Greek school of accounting — borrowed money isn’t a debt if you don’t count it. – Chris Finlayson on Facebook.


Allowing list or electorate only would create two classes of MPs

July 26, 2011

MMP’s party lists are designed to ensure that the number of seats a party gets in parliament is proportional to the amount of support it gets in the election.

They are used for positive discrimination to make parliament more reflective of the population.

Lists also enable people who can’t stand for a seat or who stand but don’t win, to enter, or stay in, parliament.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Some people have to resign from their jobs once they declare they are standing for parliament. Going for a list place means they’d be out of work for a much shorter time than if they sought selection in a seat.

People dont’ seem to be too exercised by people who stand in unwinnable seats and then enter parliament on the list – Katherine Rich was well regarded as an MP and Chris Finlayson and Hekia Parata, have both proved to be assets in government.

What does upset a lot of people though is the MPs who lose seats then come in on the list.

Change in that area would attract popular support but it isn’t without fish hooks.

If anyone who stood for a seat and didn’t win it could then not come in on the list the wee parties would stand in few if any electorates and just run lists.

That would be a pity because most candidates who fight an electorate campaign have to engage with voters of all persuasions and learn the practical implications of policy which they wouldn’t if they were just seeking a list seat.

It would also create difficulties for Labour and National. It would be much harder to find candidates to stand in unwinnable seats if they knew they didn’t also have a chance of entering parliament on the list.

We’d end up with two classes of MPs – electorate ones who weren’t on the list and list MPs who never stood in seats.

It would be better to apply the rule not to all who stand and fail, but to those who hold a seat then lose it.

MPs rejected by their electorate could be barred from returning on the list for that term. But their party could select them again, either for a seat or list only, in the next election and let voters decide if they wanted them.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,162 other followers

%d bloggers like this: