Still work to do

February 7, 2014

In his Waitangi Day speech, Prime Minister John Key reflects on what the government has done for Maori and acknowledges there’s still work to do:

E nga Rangatira

E tau nei ki Waitangi

Tena koutou

Tena tatau katoa

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Waitangi Day is a special day for New Zealanders. It’s a day when we reflect on the history of our young country, and it’s a day when we think about what we want for New Zealand’s future.

We come together here each year to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Treaty is more than a document which created a new nation.

The settlement process which springs from the Treaty gives iwi the ability to move beyond seeking redress for past wrongs and instead look forward to seizing future opportunities.

I’m pleased to say virtually all iwi willing and able to settle, are engaged with the Crown.

That’s a big achievement.

And it has been the fruit of a lot of hard work since we came into government in 2008.

During that time, we have worked constructively with our partners, including the Māori Party, to help Māori succeed across a number of areas, like the settlement process.

But we have also seen Māori success bloom in educational achievement and industry training, and we are seeing better health outcomes.

The Māori Party has played a large part in this. And I would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to my Ministerial colleagues, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples, for their unstinting and passionate work. They will leave an enduring legacy following their move away from politics.

The Maori Party has brought a rich dimension to this Government for two terms.

Their say in the governance of our country is one of the reasons why the Crown and iwi have met so many goals together over the past five years.

Together with the Māori Party, we have lifted Maori participation in early childhood education to over 92 per cent. That means the vast majority of Māori children are entering primary school with a solid foundation for learning.

Under this Government, more Māori children are staying in school longer, and gaining NCEA level 2, than ever before.

We are pouring money into Māori and Pasifika trades training – $43 million last year.  And our Youth Guarantee provides fees-free places for 16- to 19-year-olds to study at tertiary institutions, and at trades and services academies.

And of the 9,000 Youth Guarantee places available last year, around 4,000 went to Māori.

More Māori are coming out of wānaga, polytechs and universities with bachelor’s degrees or higher, so they are well-placed to move into better, higher-paying jobs.

It’s a similar story in health.

Together with the Māori Party, we have almost doubled the immunisation rate for Māori two-year-olds. It’s now over 90 per cent, up from 59 per cent in 2007.

We have made visits to the doctor free for under-sixes.

And nearly one in three New Zealanders – including many Māori – can now go to the doctor at a reduced rate.

Our economy is gathering steam.

We’ve got one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world.  Last year, 17,000 people came off a benefit.

And each week, 1500 New Zealanders come off a benefit and get a job.

That brings me to Māori economic development.

The centrepiece of our work on Māori economic development is reforming Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has estimated that, if we can make this land work for Māori, it will be worth up to $8 billion for the Māori economy and will create at least 4000 jobs over the next 10 years.

Given those incredible possibilities, it’s well worth the effort.

Together with the Māori Party, we have worked constructively with the Iwi Leaders Group on issues like freshwater and the Resource Management Act.

We don’t always agree on everything, but we do have a shared sense of purpose and we have mutual respect.

And for the past five years iwi have presented a range of commercial proposals to government, ranging from their interest in purchasing part of Housing New Zealand’s housing portfolio, to investing in major infrastructure developments, and buying shares in the Government’s share offers.

So I am proud of what this National-led Government, with the support of the Māori Party, has achieved for iwi.

Treaty settlements

Ladies and Gentlemen.

The Treaty settlement process has been accelerated under this Government

And it’s happened because we believe it is in everyone’s interests to increase the pace of that process.

We came into office in 2008 saying that we would do our very best to secure just and durable Treaty settlements by 2014. That date was not a deadline but a best endeavours goal.

Since National embedded the Treaty settlement process, 67 deeds of settlement have been signed and our Government has signed 41 of these in the past five years.

That’s a remarkable acceleration of the pace the process was lumbering along at when we came to office in 2008.

At that time, it was calculated that if settlements continued at the rate at which they were then occurring – which was 1.6 settlements a year – we’d still be signing them in 2048.

Progress since 2008

So let me highlight some of our achievements over the past five years.

I want to start off with Ngāti Haua. In 2008, there had been no negotiations with that iwi.

We have now concluded a deed of settlement with Ngāti Haua, and I want to mention them because of what they have achieved.

Some of their representatives told Bill English and Chris Finlayson that they wanted to negotiate their deed of settlement within six months.

No-one believed it was possible. But it happened – under this government.

Let’s look at iwi a little further south of here.

In Tāmaki Makaurau through to Hauraki, nothing was happening when we came into office.

In 2006 the Crown had been severely criticised by the Waitangi Tribunal for the way it had negotiated the Ngāti Whātua o Orakei settlement.

Everything was on hold.

So we started negotiations throughout the entire rohe from Tāmaki through to Hauraki. We have now signed deeds of settlement with three iwi, as well as the Tāmaki Collective settlement.

Later in the year, we intend to have signed deeds of settlement with another Tāmaki iwi, as well as with at least 11 of the 12 Hauraki iwi and two collective agreements.

In the Waikato, the much-heralded Waikato River deed had been signed with Waikato-Tainui when we came into office.

But it was a flawed negotiation and we had to start it again.

We re-signed with Waikato-Tainui and concluded settlements with Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Maniapoto in relation to the Waipa River.

When we came into office, the Whanganui River negotiation was going nowhere, having been unilaterally stopped by the Crown under the previous government.

So we started working very hard to negotiate a river settlement with Whanganui iwi, and we hope to initial a deed of settlement this month.

In 2008, terms of negotiation had been signed with Ngāi Tuhoe but that was the extent of it.

This has been a hugely significant negotiation – and the deed of settlement was signed last year.

I expect the legislation will be passed through its final stages in the next few months.

My government is very proud of this settlement with Ngāi Tuhoe.

Let’s move on to Tauranga. Again, it was the same story – nothing was happening when we came into office.

But we have now signed deeds of settlement with three iwi in the region. Further negotiations are underway with a view to securing the signing of the collective settlement.

This government has now negotiated all the deeds of settlement with the iwi at the top of the South Island. Settlement legislation giving effect to those deeds will be passed by Parliament within the next month.

And that’s not all.

The Crown has settled with several iwi on the East Coast of the North Island.

Taranaki iwi have picked up the challenge and we are on the verge of signing deeds of settlement with three iwi there.

And we are negotiating with iwi throughout Central Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and the Chatham Islands.

More deeds of settlement will be signed, and more Treaty legislation passed, before the year is out.

So I am proud to stand by our record on Treaty settlements.

Among those settled iwi, a new generation has been freed from a legacy that has been handed down for decades – in some cases, more than 100 years.

They can pursue their future with vigour.

With settlement comes new leverage and a new status.

Great success stories are emerging from those who see the post-settlement environment as a chance to get on with the exciting, challenging and ultimately satisfying business of running their affairs in their own rohe.

Major players in both the public and private sectors want to form relationships with iwi authorities.

The investment decisions of settled iwi have the potential to create wealth, jobs and opportunity for iwi and their communities – and also for other New Zealanders and the wider economy.

That is just as it should be, and I would like to see more of those benefits flow into the economy up here, in the Far North.

Ngapuhi

So what has been happening here, in this part of the country?

In Te Hiku, negotiations were at a very early stage when we came to office. We have now concluded three out of the four deeds of settlement after almost four years of negotiation.

Tomorrow, Chris Finlayson will be at Cape Reinga signing a deed of settlement with Ngāti Kuri.

There has not yet been a settlement with Ngāti Kahu, but their position will be preserved while they decide whether they want to negotiate or walk away. The choice is theirs.

So now we come to Ngapuhi.

Together, we have made great progress. But there is still work to do.

This region needs economic stimulus. The Government is putting a lot of effort in, by encouraging minerals exploration, investing in agribusiness and by improving transport links.

However, the biggest injection will come when all iwi here willing and able to settle, do so. Iwi will be financially empowered. Several hundred million dollars would be injected into the local economy.

As an example, look at what Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu have done with their settlements.

Since those two iwi settled in 1995 and 1998 respectively, both iwi have grown their initial settlements of $170 million each into assets worth a total of over $700 million.

Throughout the country, iwi and hapu are discovering what they can achieve post-settlement. And the possibilities are empowering.

So I am very ambitious to see an agreement in principle with Ngapuhi signed this year. The Ministers of Maori Affairs and Treaty Negotiations will make a decision on a mandate very soon.

It is time for Ngapuhi to put aside their personal differences and unite to focus on the big prize.

A settlement will provide Ngapuhi the opportunity to play a key role in developing Northland and its economy.

My challenge to all Ngapuhi today is this: put aside your differences, look to the future, embrace the challenges that are before you.

The Crown is ready and willing to negotiate with whoever you choose as your representatives.

Get stuck into negotiations with energy and enthusiasm. I am keen to see the financial and commercial redress agreed this year, at least in principle.

If that can be done then I am prepared to look at some form of payment on account to incentivise people to act in a positive and progressive manner.

Crown-Maori Relationship

It’s all very well to reach Treaty settlements and say we can move on together. But governments will be judged not just by how they negotiate settlements but by whether they honour them, not only tomorrow but 25 years in the future.

We see settlements as establishing a new relationship between the Crown and Māori, as we move into a post-settlement environment.

For example, in the various settlements with Te Hiku iwi, a social accord was signed.

So, too, with Ngāti Whare. Under their deed of settlement, we are working with them on social issues.

These types of social accords show why Treaty settlements are worth the effort. It’s not just about money and commercial opportunities: it is also about establishing a new relationship with the Crown.

These arrangements also send a strong signal that the Crown understands it can’t solve Māori socio-economic disparity on its own.

The Crown needs to work more effectively to target its resources to Māori needs, and it is prepared to change the way it works with iwi and Māori community groups to achieve this.

This is the major challenge for both the Crown and Māori in what will soon be a fully- fledged post-settlement environment.

That’s why Chris Finlayson established a dedicated office to monitor settlements and ensure that all government departments honour the obligations undertaken by the Crown.

The Crown must keep its commitments.

Conclusion

Ladies and Gentlemen.

We should never forget the thread of generosity of spirit that runs through Māori history, from the arrival of Europeans through to the present day.

Māori welcomed settlers. They signed the Treaty of Waitangi in good faith. That led to the nation we now live in. And that’s what we remember every year on February 6.

That generosity of spirit persists. Settlements represent a fraction of what was actually lost. However, they let iwi move on and make a better future for their people. That is a better future for all of us.

So to Ngapuhi, I say: Let’s embrace that future.

Let’s work together to develop an enduring settlement, and one that will benefit your people for generations to come.

Thank you.

Northland is one of the poorest regions in the country.

Ngapuhi has been given a challenge. If they accept it and work constructively to conclude their Treaty settlement they will be able to help themselves and their region.

Settlements in other areas have shown what can be achieved and the sooner they settle the sooner they’ll be able to stop looking backwards, start looking forwards and move from grievance to growth as others have.

 


Northland must embrace job opportunities

February 5, 2014

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce is urging Northland iwi and community leaders to endorse and encourage resource opportunities that will create jobs and boost economic growth in the region.

It follows comments from a spokesperson for one Ngapuhi hapu on Radio New Zealand and in Mining Australia magazine that Ngapuhi miners working in Australia wouldn’t be welcome home if they return to work in mining exploration in Northland.

“While regions across New Zealand are leading New Zealand’s economic recovery, Northland has been struggling with high unemployment. The only way to change that is to encourage new investment in the region,” Mr Joyce says.

“Northland iwi and community leaders have been working well together to develop a number of economic opportunities. It’s important that Northland embraces all opportunities to grow jobs in the region while carefully managing the environmental impacts.

“There are many opportunities for investment and growth here. Accelerating treaty settlements, improving the development of Maori land, and exploration of mineral opportunities are all part of the story.

“We have to get past the point where people react with a black and white no to resource opportunities. We need to manage the process so that we can both have the jobs and protect our environment.

“It’s time to unambiguously endorse measures that will really lift the North and bring jobs, incomes, and above all a stronger future here in Northland for the young people of the region.”

Northland is one of the poorest regions.

Taranaki is booming with higher employment and higher wages because it has embraced resource extraction.

In doing so it’s got the economic benefits without any of the environmental problems those opposed to drilling and mining use to defend their position.


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.

 

 


Rural round-up

December 6, 2013

Farmers keen to come clean – Bruce Wills:

Federated Farmers surprised some people by welcoming Dr Jan Wright’s report, Water quality in New Zealand: Land use and nutrient pollution.  Before Dr Wright released it, she kindly gave us a briefing and that tells me we are not only trustworthy but also seen by her as a positive influencer.  This didn’t go unnoticed and the words of the Otago Daily Times’ editor deserve repeating:

  “…Farmers are making attempts to address the negative impacts of their operations and know their future livelihoods rely on looking after the land. But many mitigation efforts, such as riparian planting, are not effective at controlling nitrogen run -off, particularly in some catchment areas and soil types, and a rethink is needed – and our scientists and researchers play a vital part in that, alongside policymakers and farming industry heavy weights.  There is an increasing goodwill and acknowledgement that all parties need to work together to address issues. Federated Farmers is welcoming the report, with environment spokesman Ian Mackenzie saying the effects on water are “not a future we’d like to be a part of”, significant research is being put into finding solutions and progress is being made…”

In our ongoing discussion about water, we must not forget that New Zealand has some of the best quality water on earth. . .

Lincoln University announces LincolnSheep for education, training and research in sheep farming:

Lincoln University is converting 20 hectares of its farmland at its Te Waihora campus into a facility for teaching and researching sheep breeding and intensive lamb finishing. The land was previously used as the site for the South Island Field Days.

The new site for LincolnSheep will use 15 hectares for a partially-irrigated ‘technology farm’ as a summer-safe sheep breeding unit. The unit will be used to investigate and demonstrate current and future on-farm technologies in the management of sheep, hogget and lamb selection, health, welfare and production, with the ultimate aim of maximising productivity and profitability for sheep farming. . .

More iwi want agriculture help from Lincoln University:

Lincoln University says more and more iwi are wanting to set up agriculture partnerships with the tertiary provider.

It has agreements with tribes such as Ngai Tahu in the South Island, as well as Northland iwi, Ngapuhi and Ngati Koroki Kahukura and Ngati Haua in Waikato.

In Waikato, the university and the two Tainui tribes have outlined an agreement to create an agricultural training centre, and aim to create a new farm certificate course. . .

Push to eradicate genetic disease within four years:

Since its introduction into New Zealand in the early 1990s, the Texel sheep has grown to become one of this country’s key breeds in the national flock, both as a terminal sire and as part of a maternal flock.

“Its high meat yield muscling and hardiness has meant it is a first choice for many sheep farmers,” says Alistair McLeod, Chairman of the New Zealand Texel Breed Committee. “We are always looking at improving and advancing our breed for the commercial sheep farmer, so when we identified a genetic disorder we quickly looked at ways to test for it and eradicate it.” . . .

 

 

Researchers back Canterbury stubble burning - Tim Cronshaw:

The burn-off of stubble from harvested crops may be little used overseas, but researchers are convinced of its value for Canterbury arable farming.

Stubble burning demonstration plots were a talking point for managing crop rotations at the Foundation for Arable Research’s (Far) Arable Research in Action field day at Chertsey on Wednesday.

Research and extension director Nick Poole said the plots were set up to show why stubble burning was important in Canterbury, especially to growers of small seed crops. . .

UK wheat prices to fall, boding well for dairy:

 UK growers should prepare for a further fall in wheat prices – but not enough to put livestock producers in profit, in contrast with their dairy peers, HSBC said. 

The bank – which a year ago predicted, broadly correctly, a drop to £165 a tonne in wheat prices this year, from £227 a tonne at the time – said that values will fall further next year, to £150 a tonne.

While the UK itself reaped a relatively small harvest this year, of 12.1m tonnes, after persistent rains hampered autumn sowings, the world picture for cereals supplies has improved, HSBC said, quoting estimates from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization that stocks, compared with use, has risen to an 11-year high. . .


Ho hum

February 4, 2013

Another Waitangi Day, another story about Titewhai Harawira.

Ngapuhi trustees are trying to oust Titewhai Harawira, from her self-appointed role as the kuia who escorts dignitaries, including the prime minister, onto the lower marae at Waitangi.

But they are concerned Ms Harawira may disrupt ceremonies if she is not allowed to keep her role.

Ngapuhi leader Kingi Taurua said the trustees have decided that other kuia should be given the opportunity to be part of the Waitangi celebrations.

Mr Taurua said that unlike Ms Harawira, other kuia work hard on the marae and should be rewarded for their work. . .

Ho, hum – it’s not so much a news story as deja vu.

Who can blame Tariana Turia who is refusing to return to Te Tii Marae this year because of past displays of violence on Waitangi Day?


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