What they’ll need to do

July 12, 2014

Vernon Small muses on one of MMP’s downsides – the need for coalition partners:

. . . In Cunliffe’s case, he can be relatively certain Internet-Mana will be there.

His bigger concern is the political Centre’s negative views of Harawira, his Left-wing allies and Internet founder Kim Dotcom – and more generally about the increasingly fractured Centre-Left vote.

Labour’s vote softened measurably after the Internet-Mana deal became known. It believes that was not because the new party took Labour votes but more because it was a bridge too far for floating voters to contemplate a four or five-way alternative government.

And Labour knows – because it has already started – that National will use that against it.

It is a difficult line for Cunliffe to walk. He needs to emphasise the stability of a three-way deal with the Greens and NZ First – both of which have the advantage of being parties that win in their own right and will, if in Parliament, have achieved more than 5 per cent support. He can contrast that with National’s vassal parties, there only at Key’s favour.

Voters could choose a weak Labour Party propped up by the Green and NZ First parties with the added frightener of Internet Mana or a strong National Party with two or three very small coalition partners.

That’s a choice between instability, uncertainty and backwards policies from the left or stability, certainty and forward momentum from the centre right.

But strategising at the party’s weekend Congress pointed up the problem. Labour was stacking up its potential pluses just to get over the line.

It could push up to about 30, with a good ground game and organisation, the Greens bring about 12 per cent, NZ First would add another 5-6 per cent and Internet-Mana would add the final cherry on top. Presto, 51 per cent.

Over at the National conference the previous week, the mirror-image argument was being played out by its strategists.

Achieve close to 50 per cent and we govern alone. Fall to the mid 40s, and Labour with its allies could get the numbers. Subtext? Deals with our minor allies may be crucial, so brace yourself for Key’s announcement of deals with the minnows.

Memo to Cunliffe and Key: if you are counting them into your thinking, so will the voters.

Memo to voters: look less at what they say they will do and more at what they may need to do to win power.

A weak Labour Party would have to do, and concede, a lot more than a strong National party would.

We're for stable government.


Winning team won’t necessarily be winner

June 29, 2014

A party enjoying poll ratings which show it could govern alone might be in danger of complacency.

There is absolutely none of that at the National Party conference where the very clear message was

Prime Minister John Key told Patrick Gower:

. . . I know the polls look strong for us. And I know on the 3 Reid Research poll we’ll be able to govern alone and I’m really personally desperately hope that’s what election night looks like. But you and I both know it’ll probably be tighter than that and there’s every chance that we don’t win.. .

Chris Finlayson and Steven Joyce gave a similar message to the conference:

. . . Attorney General Chris Finlayson talked about the “hydra” this morning that grows new heads when the old ones are chopped off.

“Cut off Phil Goff and up shoots David Shearer and Hone Harawira. Saw off David Shearer and up springs David Cunliffe and Laila Harre.

“The fragmentation on the left hasn’t made the hydra weaker,” said Mr Finlayson “only more unstable if it can force its way into power again.”

Campaign chairman Steven Joyce warned delegates that the campaign was “still a little puppy” and that anything at all could happen in the next 84 days before the election – the wackiest thing imaginable, he said.

“A retired Maori activist who has become an MP working with a hard left unionist and let’s just throw in a wealthy German millionaire right-winger, they could form a political party,” said.

“That’s the sort of wacky thing that could happen between now and September 20.

“If Laila Harre, Hone Harawira, Pam Corkery, Kim Dotcom, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, David Cunliffe, Matt McCarten, and John Minto are the answer, can we please have another look at the question?” . .

National’s got a winning team but it’s up to voters to decide whether to give the winning team the support it needs to  be the winner, or whether they’re going to trust government to the hydra on the left led by a weak Labour dominated by the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana parties.

With less than three months to go, there's no room for complacency. Join #TeamKey today.  http://mynational.org.nz/support


Politics Daily

June 12, 2014

This is an attempt to replace Dr Bryce Edwards’ daily political round-up while he’s taking a break. I’m not pretending to be balanced. While I link to a range of news stories, the blogs I link to are usually from the centre to the bluer end of the political spectrum or the more reasonable or witty bits of the pink to red end. You’re welcome to leave links to other news and blogs in comments.

Election

Claire Trevatt @ NZ Herald – NZ Game of Thrones – does Cunliffe dare to play?

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog - Caucus can safely roll Cunliffe from next week

John Armstrong, Adam Bennett & Isaac Davison @ NZ Herald – Election 2014: Parties ready but are you?

CameronSlater @ Whale Oil – The magic “Seven reasons” that will drive this election

Pattrick Smellie @ Stuff – Early date a savvy move from PM

Vernon Small @ Stuff - Curious case of deal with Craig

David Farrar # Kiwiblog – National’s potential election deals

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Paranoid Winston Peters dumps candidate?

Nookin @ Keeping Stock – A guest post on a new Labour policy

Pete George  @ YourNZ – Civilian Party and United Future announce campaign deal

Beehive

Chris Finlayson - Agreement in Principle signed with the iwi and hapū of Te Wairoa

Chris Finlayson – Screen NZ formed to boost NZ’s profile on world stage

Todd McLay – Intergovernmental FATCA agreement signed

Tony Ryall – Health Minister opens $67m Whakatane Hospital

Steven Joyce – International education numbers set to grow

Gerry Brownlee - Performing arts precinct off to an exciting start

Hekia Parata – Pegasus School opens

OCR

Brian Fellow @ NZ Herald – Wheeler yanks the leash

Tony Field @ TV3 – OCR rise good for savers

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – OCR goes to 3.25%

Crime

Rachel Smalley – Labour politicising a terrible tragedy

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Smalley tears into Labour

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Violent crime

Education

Inventory 2 @ Why don’t they mention the PPTA?

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Labour against paying the top teachers more

Other

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Misrepresenting the current abortion law

Cameron SLater @ Whale Oil – David Cunliffe upsets Chief District Court Judge

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog –

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Fine tuning immigration to drop Auckland House prices? Reserve Bank says yeah… Nah

Pete George @ YourNZ – Labour vs Reserve Bank on immigration

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Trevor Mallard continues to show that for Labour, facts are optional

Matthew Beveridge – Compare and Contrast: Chris Tremain and Todd Barclay


Politics Daily

June 4, 2014

John Key

Vernon Small @ Dominion Post – PM plays symbolic immigration card:

It was a half-promise. Almost no promise at all. But Prime Minister John Key’s announcement yesterday his Government was looking at increasing the recognised seasonal employer scheme had all the symbolic force he wanted.  . .

Claire Trevett @ NZ Herald – PM returns to Samoan village which made him a chief:

Prime Minister John Key has returned to the Samoan village of Poutasi five years after it made him an ali’i [high chief] and was welcomed with an ‘ava ceremony. . .

National Party

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Grassroots democracy:

Was in Mount Maunganui last night for ’s selection of a candidate to replace Tony Ryall in the . Tony’s majority in 2011 was a staggering 17,760 votes. . .

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock – Alfred for Te Atatu:

We met National Party List MP Alfred Ngaro last year and were most impressed by him. We’ve previously posted his maiden speech to Parliament in 2011, which was widely acclaimed. . .

Employment

TV3 – Govt ponders bigger Pacific seasonal quota:

The Government is considering allowing more Pacific Island seasonal workers to come to New Zealand, Prime Minister John Key says. . .

Fracking

Environment Commissioner urges New Zealand to “get ahead of the game” on an expanding oil and gas industry:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has found regulation in New Zealand is not adequate for managing the environmental risks of oil and gas drilling, especially if the industry expands beyond Taranaki. . .

Pattrick Smellie @ Business Desk – Environmental watchdog gives fracking final tick, seeks national guidelines:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has given a guarded final clearance for hydraulic fracturing, confirming her 2012 report that there are sufficient environmental safeguards, while calling for a National Policy Statement as a guide for local authorities facing applications from oil and gas companies. . .

Ministers welcome final PCE report on oil and gas :

Ministers today welcomed a report released by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on oil and gas drilling.

Environment Minister Amy Adams and Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges say the Commissioner’s report is a useful contribution to the discussion on how best to manage the environmental effects of onshore petroleum development, including hydraulic fracturing. . .

IMP

Inventory 2 @ Keeping Stock - Laila the waka jumper:

We came across this interesting gem hidden away on Stuff; check this out:

Laila Harre is on the spot changing trail
Meanwhile, Norman revealed that new Internet Party leader Laila Harre had wanted to be a Green Party MP before she quit her adviser role in December. . .

David Farrar @ Kwiblog – Harre was on Greens campaign committee until a fortnight ago:

. . .If this was Game of Thrones, Harre would be a sellsword or a mercenary. How can you be on the national campaign committee for one party a fortnight ago, while negotiating to be leader of a competing party? . . .

Pete George @ YourNZ – Harré and non-disclosure of political commentators:

Laila Harré’s political associations were well publicised late last month, but earlier in the month she was posing as a political commentator without disclosing her interests. . .

Tim Watkin @ Pundit - That’s the price I pay for hating Key the way that I do:

If you’ll excuse the paraphrasing of Billy Bragg, it seems appropriate as the left leave the moral high ground for a bit of electoral mud-wrestling and coat-tailing. But at what cost? . . .

Cameron Slater @ Whaleoil - The Internet Party and Postie Plus. No, really:

. . . Now we all know that the Internet Party is nothing but a scam, and the whole process of using MMP to score a hit on Key on behalf of Mr “I’ll destroy, anybody” Dotcom, but to have it so clearly illustrated mere days into her job is rather sooner than I expected. . . .

Pete George @ Grumpollie – How Internet/Mana will appear on the ballot:

I received this email from the very helpful folks at the Electoral Commission today: . . .

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Irony: the Internet Party doesn’t understand the internet:

Regan Cunliffe reports

“Yesterday afternoon, the Internet Party posted the following tweet: . . .”

Brain Rudman @ NZ Herald: Real cost of Dotcom alliance remains to be seen:

When eccentric millionaires hijack the political landscape as their own private playground, mere mortals should be very afraid. Even veteran leftie Sue Bradford, who loudly denounced the latest game and refused to have any part in it, has been shamelessly used by conservative oddball Colin Craig. . . .

Beehive

NZ to invest $5 million to rebuild Tongan schools:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will contribute $5 million to rebuilding schools in Tonga’s Ha’apai islands following the devastating Cyclone Ian earlier this year. . .

NZ to contribute to the upgrade of Teufaiva Stadium:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will contribute around $2 million towards upgrading Tonga’s national stadium in Nuku’alofa ahead of the 2019 Pacific Games. . .

NZ to invest $1 million into Samoa’s tourism sector:

Prime Minister John Key has today announced New Zealand will invest $1 million to help boost Samoa’s tourism sector. . . .

$359m boost for student achievement moves forward:

Education Minister Hekia Parata has welcomed advice from sector leaders on the Government’s $359 million initiative to raise student achievement, saying it maintains momentum and strengthens the path forward.

Ms Parata has released a Working Group report that provides support and advice on the Investing in Educational Success initiative announced by the Prime Minister in January. . . .

Christchurch housing rebuild momentum grows:

Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today visited the site of a new Housing New Zealand development in central Christchurch, saying the progress on the 12 new two-bedroom apartments illustrate the momentum underway to fix and replace the city’s damaged housing stock. . .

Minister opens new Police National Command Centre:

Police Minister Anne Tolley has officially opened a new National Command and Coordination Centre in Wellington, which will use the latest technology to tackle and prevent crime and to keep New Zealanders safe. . .

Four young New Zealanders chosen for Bastille Day commemorations:

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson announced today the four young French-speaking New Zealanders who have been selected to represent New Zealand at the Bastille Day military parade in Paris on 14 July. . . .

Coat Tail law:

Cameron Slater @ Whale Oil – Why wait? Cunliffe says ending coat-tailing a priority for his first 100 days:

David Cunliffe is grandstanding over coat-tailing and brilliantly painting himself into a corner.

Instead he is now saying that ending coat-tailing is a priority for his first 100 days in office…but in order to get into office he may have to rely on coat-tailing parties. . .

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – :

In Firstline this morning David Cunliffe said that will amend the within 100 days of office, to remove the one seat electorate threshold in .

This is absolutely appalling. A Government that will ram through major electoral law changes under , probably with no select committee hearings, and without consensus, is dangerous. Labour have form for this. . . .

Inventory2 @ Keeping Stock – Has Labour learned nothing from the Electoral Finance Bill debacle? :

Those who have been hanging around Keeping Stock for a long time will know our history. The blog was started due to our anger at Labour’s insidious Electoral Finance Bill, rammed through Parliament in the last sitting days of 2007. It was bad legislation, and the process was even worse. . . .

 

Labour

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – Labour now doing the “Have you stopped beating your wife” routine:

How pathethic. Select committee scrutiny of estimates is meant to be about spending and performance of government. Instead uses it for a smear disguised as a question. . .

David Farrar @ Kiwiblog – New Ziland Labours Weekly:

It’s a photo you’ll have to click the link to see it.

Phil Quin –  Jump to left puts Labour on rocky road:

Some Labour Party cheerleaders have convinced themselves they can capture the Treasury benches without winning an election. They’re wrong. . .

TV3 – David Shearer – I’m sticking with Labour

Labour’s former leader has no ambition to follow Shane Jones into an ambassador role. . .

Labour candidate for Tamaki Makaurau electorate could threaten Treaty settlement:

The selection of Peeni Henare as Labour’s candidate for the Tamaki Makaurau seat could threaten the settlement of the country’s largest Treaty settlement, between the Crown and Ngapuhi. . . .

Adolf Fiinkensein @ No Minister – Nine years of noise with no performance:

Yessir, that’s what Kelvin Davis needs to be hammering home to the electors of Te Tai Tokerau. . . .

Chris Trotter @ Bowalley Road – Truth Or Dare: Why David Cunliffe Needs To Come Clean with the Labour left:

WERE YOU TELLING THE TRUTH, DAVID? When you told your party that the age of neoliberalism was over? That you, alone among all your colleagues, had grasped the meaning of the global financial crisis, and only you could lead Labour to an election victory that would restore New Zealand to itself? . . .

Chris Trotter @ Bowalley Road – Labour’s flight from reality:

STALLED AT 30 PERCENT in the polls, Labour is still pretending it can win the General Election without help. Bluntly speaking, the party is in a state of serious, collective denial. The most frightening aspect of which, from the perspective of those New Zealanders seeking a change of government in September, is that while the condition persists National cannot possibly be defeated. Heedless, the Labour Party continues to fly from the reality of its own poor performance. Even worse, it’s begun flying from the reality of its own history. . . .

Carbon Tax

Jamie White - Russell’s Carbon Tax equivalent to 4.5% rise in company tax:

Last week, the Greens announced a plan to replace the emissions trading scheme (ETS) with a greenhouse gas tax.

Industrial firms that emit greenhouse gases will have to pay $25 per tonne. Farmers will have to pay $12.50 per tonne. This is a BIG new tax, the equivalent to lifting the corporate tax rate from today’s 28% to 32.5%. . . .

Stacey Kirk @ Stuff – Labour opposes Greens’ carbon tax plan:

Labour opposes the Green Party’s new carbon tax policy, saying the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was its preferred option.

Labour leader David Cunliffe said today his party would negotiate with the Greens on the policy, but did not favour it. . . .

Other

Lindsay Mitchell – The living wage effect and EMTRs:

Two parking wardens who will receive $4 an hour extra under the Wellington City Council’s adoption of a living wage each have a partner and a 4 month-old baby. Both say that they will be able to reduce their work hours due to the increase, and spend more time with their families. One from 75 hours down to 40 and the other from 50 down to 40.

Jörg Guido Hülsmann @ Not PC – How inflation helps keep the rich up and the poor down:

The production of money in a free society is a matter of free association. Everybody from the miners to the owners of the mines, to the minters, and up to the customers who buy the minted coins — all benefit from the production of money. None of them violates the property rights of anybody else, because everybody is free to enter the mining and minting business, and nobody is obliged to buy the product. . . .

Gabriel Makhlouf – The diversity advantage:

Thank you very much for inviting me to come and speak to you today. I’m going to focus on an important issue for New Zealand, for the public and private sectors and for the Treasury itself: our diversity advantage. . .

Matthew Beveridge – Twitter conversation 2 Jessica and Michael:

As David Slone said to me on Twitter this morning about the earlier Twitter Conversation of the day post

“proves pollies and journos can be human after all :-)” So here is another example. I have to say, I can’t wait to see why Jessica is looking up the numerology of tweeting MPs…….

 Matthew Beveridge – Social media and open debate:

One of the things we all seem to love about social media is the ability to actively engage with people. This is even more the case when it comes to politicians and parties. For many, social media is the only time and method they have for engaging directly with politicians or parties. Yet some of them are potentially sending the message that they don’t want to engage with people. . .

 Matthew Beveridge – Candidate social media details:

Ashley Murchison and I have been slowly compiling a spreadsheet of social media details for all of the candidates for the various electorates. It has take a while, but we are finally making some progress. The spreadsheet is available here as an XLS spread sheet. . . .


Can’t count, don’t count

May 24, 2014

Labour ditched a staff member seconded from Treasury and one of their MPs is already showing she’s in desperate need of someone with some financial literacy:

Jacinda Ardern has yet again shown why New Zealanders do not trust the Labour Party even to read a Budget correctly, let alone write one, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Christopher Finlayson said today.

Ms Ardern has made numerous incorrect statements about arts funding in Budget 2014, despite these errors being repeatedly pointed out in Parliament and online.

“The supposed ‘cut’ to public broadcasting claimed by Ms Ardern reflects the fact that last year $4.5 million was spent on the Going Digital project, helping the switch over to digital television,” Mr Finlayson said. “That spending is not in the budget this year, because, well, we have Gone Digital.”

“We have in fact allocated extra funding within public broadcasting on new projects, including the maintenance of the TVNZ archives.”

“There is no reduction in heritage spending, as she has claimed. What may have confused Ms Ardern is that heritage now appears in two appropriations, one of which is earmarked for World War One centenary commemorations, a key heritage project. The total is slightly higher than last year.”

“In future, perhaps she should read further down the page before firing off indignant press releases.”

“Funding for regional museums has been maintained throughout the two terms of this government, and remains at its baseline funding of $6.67 million per year,” Mr Finlayson said. “However, last year the appropriation was higher because unspent funds from the previous year had been carried over. This is spelled out in the Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations.”

“This government has revitalised the screen industry, a point she obscures. We saved the production of the Hobbit trilogy in New Zealand from the unions, and have ensured that not only will three Avatar sequels be filmed here but that the production will employ New Zealanders in key roles.”

“This is quite aside from the important recent structural reform of the Arts Council and Heritage New Zealand (formerly the Historic Places Trust), which were ignored by the previous government.”

“National politics is not high school,” Mr Finlayson said. “Jacinda Ardern shouldn’t think professing to care about the arts means she can opt out of  maths.”

 Doing the numbers and getting them right is a basic requirement for analysing policy – her own and those she opposes.

Lots of Labour policies don’t add up and that will only get worse if the party doesn’t have someone capable of doing the numbers.

However, Labour isn’t the only party to have failed to understand the Budget numbers, Green MP Holly Walker made the same mistake Ardern did:

If opposition MPs keep showing they can’t count they’ll make it easier for voters to show they don’t count in the election.


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.

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“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.

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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


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