Rule by ethnicity or democracy?

02/07/2021

Elizabeth Rata asks: Ethno-Nationalism or Democratic-Nationalism: Which way ahead for New Zealand?

With the sudden emergence into our political life of the revolutionary report He Puapua, it is clear New Zealanders are at a crossroads. We will have to decide whether we want our future to be that of an ethno-nationalist state or a democratic-nationalist one.

Ethno-nationalism has political categories based on racial classification – the belief that our fundamental identity (personal, social and political) is fixed in our ancestry. Here the past determines the future. Identity, too, is fixed in that past. In contrast, democratic-nationalism has one political category – that of citizenship – justified by the shared belief in a universal human identity.

We have a choice between identity politics which focuses on what makes us different  or accepting that people are people and we have common humanity and equal citizenship.

These two opposing approaches to how the nation is imagined, constituted and governed are currently in contention. We will have to choose which form of nationalism will characterise New Zealand by 2040.

The He Puapua Report describes our future as an ethno-nation. Its Vision 2040 Roadmap sets out a timeline for the transformational constitutional change which will divide the polity into “three streams: the Rangiratanga stream (for Maori), the Kawanatanga stream (for the Crown) and the Rite Tahi stream (for all New Zealanders)”.

Displaying an astonishing confidence, the authors claim that “We consider Aotearoa has reached a maturity where it is ready to undertake the transformation to restructure governance to realise rangatiratanga Maori (self-determination)”. I hope that this ‘maturity’ can accommodate the vigorous debate that is certainly needed if we are to abandon democracy – for what exactly? While each sentence of the Report deserves scrutiny I will confine myself to two points. The main one is the Report’s premise of the political category as an ethnic one. The second concerns judicial activism in constitutional change.

He Puapua envisages a system of constitutional categorisation based on ancestral membership criteria rather than the universal human who is democracy’s foundational unit. Ancestral group membership is the key idea of ‘ethnicity’. This slippery term refers to a combination of culture – what we do and how we understand ourselves – and genetic inheritance. The word entered common usage from the 1970s followed by ‘indigenous’ in the 1980s. ‘Ethnicity’ was an attempt to edit out the increasingly discredited ‘race’. However changing a word does not change the idea. Ethnicity does not mean culture only. It has a genetic, biological – a race, component. Although race is an unscientific concept it retains social currency with whakapapa often used to soften the racial connotation of ancestral belonging.

Whatever term is used – ethnicity, race, culture, whakapapa – the issue is the use of ancestral membership for political status. Liberal democracy can accommodate identification with the ancestral group in the civil sphere. Inclusive biculturalism allows for the evolving social practice of a hybrid Maori and settler-descendant culture, one enriched by diverse migration. Exclusive biculturalism, on the other hand, takes those ethnically or racially categorised groups into the constitutional sphere of legislation and state institutions. It is here that we see the effects of five underpinning beliefs of ethno-nationalism.

The first belief holds that our ethnic or racial identity is our primary and determining personal identity. This denies the fact that identity in the modern democratic world is individual identity. The modern person is the autonomous, self-creating, self-directed, independent individual who makes choices (even the choice not to exercise choice and not to be independent). This privilege of choice was not available to our ancestors who were locked into the birth-ascribed identities of traditional cultures. It is not available today to the millions who live under neo-traditionalist elites. These are theocracies and oligarchies (such as the Tongan and Saudi elites) who use traditional beliefs as political control on others while themselves enjoying the fruits of modernity.

We modern individuals make choices about which identity matters the most to us –  which identity is the one that we will invest with enormous subjective meaning. An example is the well-educated professional class of the 1980s who chose to identify in ethnic terms, referring to themselves with considerable pride as ‘pakeha’. Not all British settler-descendants and other white migrants chose to do so. Indeed it is unusual to find a privileged middle-class group, who adopt ethnicity as a political identity of choice. That is more usually a practice of emergent elites and disenfranchised people. A likely reason is the unfortunate conflation of inclusive and exclusive biculturalism. The desire of the liberal-left to strengthen the democratic social contract by including Maori was subverted by the interests of those successfully creating the foundation for ethno-nationalism. How inclusive biculturalism is replaced by its exclusive form can be seen in the He Puapua. Exclusive bicultural leads directly to the “transformative restructuring of governance to recognise rangatiratanga Maori (self-determination)” proposed by the Report.

For many people, the meaning of who they are is intimately tied to the idea of ethnic belonging. There are those who choose their primary social identity to be pakeha. Others, with Maori ancestry, choose Maori identity as their defining subjectivity. From a democratic point of view the right to choose a determining identity, including an ethnicised or racialised one, must be supported. It is the same for those who wish to define themselves in religious or sexuality terms. As long as such identities remain private choices, practised in association with others of like minds in the civic sphere, there is no problem. It is the right of an individual in a democratic country to make that choice.

Choosing how we define ourselves is a right. Using how we define ourselves to give ourselves more rights, gives other fewer rights and is not how democracy works.

The second belief underpinning the He Puapua Report is that the ethnic or racial group is primordial – existing from the beginning of time and known through the mythologies that are now called ‘histories’. This belief feeds into the assumption that the group is fundamentally distinctive and separate – hence ethnic fundamentalism. It denies the universal human reality of migration, genetic mixing and social mixing. It certainly denies the New Zealand reality.

A third belief permeating He Puapua is that how people live and understand their lives (culture) is caused by who they are (ancestry or ethnicity/race). Such biological determinism asserts that our genetic heritage causes what we do and the meaning we give to our actions – culture. It is a belief that has taken on its own life in education to justify the ‘ways of knowing and being’ found in matauranga Māori research, Māori mathematics, and in ‘Māori as Māori’ education. The equivalent in India is the idea of Vedic science – the Hinduteva fundamentalism that made huge roads in that country during the 1990s. According to this belief how a person thinks, behaves and relates to others is caused by ‘blood’ or in more acceptable terms, by spirit, volkgeist, mauri or whakapapa.

The fourth belief is a blood and soil ideology. It is the idea that an ethnic group indigenous to an area is autochthonous. The group is ‘of the land’ in a way that is qualitatively different from those who arrive later. As a consequence of this fact the first group claims a particular political status with entitlements not available to others. The ideology is located in mythological origins and seductive in its mystical appeal. By separating those who are ‘indigenous’ from those who are not, a fundamental categorisation occurs which then becomes built into political institutions. Such a categorisation principle can be extended – why not have a number of ‘classes’ with political status based on time of arrival – those who arrived first, those who came a little later, to those who have only just arrived. In an ethno-nation it is quite possible that these ‘classes’ could become caste divisions.

The fifth belief builds on the others. The classification of individuals as members of ethnic categories is extended to political categories. Membership of an ethnic category  takes precedence over citizenship as a person’s primary political status. One’s political rights follow from this status. The acceptance of ancestral membership as a political category, rather than a social identity, has huge implications for national cohesion and democratic government. It is where ethnic fundamentalism becomes a major problem for us all.

The democratic political arena is where we meet as New Zealanders, as equal citizens of a united nation. That public arena is textured by contributing communities certainly, but it is the place where we unite – as a modern pluralist social group that is also a political entity. If we choose not to unite in this way, and the He Puapua Report is recommending that we don’t,  why have a nation – New Zealand?

When we politicise ethnicity – by classifying, categorising and institutionalising people on the basis of ethnicity – we establish the platform for ethno-nationalism. Contemporary and historical examples should make us very wary of a path that replaces the individual citizen with the ethnic person as the political subject.

Interestingly those examples show the role of small well-educated elites in pushing through radical change. In Rwanda the ethnic doctrine ‘the Mahutu Manifesto’ of 1953 was written and promulgated by eleven highly educated individuals identifying politically as Hutu. The raw material of the ethnic ideologies that fuelled the violence in Bosnia and Serbia was supplied by intellectuals. Pol Pot began his killing campaigns immediately on his return from study in Paris.

In my 2006 speech to the NZ Skeptics I said: “In New Zealand we are obviously not far down the track towards ethno-nationalism. However we need to recognise that the ideas which fuel ethnic politics are well-established and naturalised in this country and that the politicisation of ethnicity is underway”. Fifteen years later the He Puapua Report shows  the progress towards ethno-nationalism. Why has this racial ideology become so accepted in a nation which prides itself on identifying and rejecting racism?

Apart from the success of culturalist intellectuals in muddying the waters between inclusive and exclusive biculturalism, activist judges have played a significant role.  New Zealand’s democratic system is based on political decisions made by elected representatives who are accountable to the people. The judiciary is required to interpret laws made by politicians. However, the Court of Appeal’s 1987 reference to the Treaty of Waitangi as ‘akin to a partnership’ set in motion the development of principles for such a partnership and for their inclusion in legislation. From this time, judicial activism in Treaty matters has influenced political decisions. The He Puapua Report unquestioningly accepts and promotes an activist role for the judiciary. Its writers  suggest that the “co-governance structure would require a Tiriti body or court to regulate jurisdictional boundaries between the respective governance entities”.

Ethnic fundamentalism is no better, no worse than the myriad of other fundamentalisms that some individuals impose upon themselves (or have imposed upon them) to give their lives meaning. It becomes a danger to liberal societies regulated by democratic politics when ethnicity is politicised. By basing a governance  system of classification and categorisation on historical rather than contemporary group membership, we set ourselves on the path to ethno-nationalism. ‘He Puapua’  means a break. It is used in the Report to mean “the breaking of the usual political and social norms and approaches.” The transformation of New Zealand proposed by He Puapua is indeed a complete break with the past. For this reason it is imperative that we all read the Report then freely and openly discuss what type of nation do we want – ethno-nationalism or democratic nationalism?

What type of nation do we want: one where some are more equal than others  or one where we’re all equal?

There ought to be no debate about that in a democracy but if Ethne-nationalism triumphs we will no longer be a democracy.


Pot, kettle

02/05/2019

The New Zealand Maori Council has asked the Human Rights Commission to investigate Hobson’s Pledge.

The resolution to seek the Human Rights Commission to intervene in what the council has called a “racially charged and motivated group of men” was passed unanimously by the Sixteen Districts of the Council at its national hui over the weekend. Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of the Maori Council has said that Hobson’s Pledge is nothing more than a divisive group of “haters” who would do nothing more than send us all back to the dark ages:

“Let’s be really clear here this group has been able to get away with anything they please when it comes to race relations in this country and to be blunt; we are sick of it. Maori are sick of it. Don Brach and his cronies do nothing more than seek to divide this nation off the back of their tired old man views and their position that it’s their way or the highway.” Tukaki said.

A racially charged and motivated group of men? Tired old men views? This looks very like a pot calling a kettle black without fulling understanding the kettle’s views.

It pays to know your opposition before you attack them. Hobson’s Pledge’s membership includes women and Maori. Maori could be racist, although it would be difficult to be so against other Maori and women aren’t men.

“That is, they the New Zealand Maori Council has asked the New Zealand Human Rights Commission to investigate the impact that groups such as Hobsons Pledge has by furthering the fires of hate speech and the putting down of Maori and peoples of color.” Said Tukaki.

Putting down?

How can a call for equality and for the state to be colour blind be putting down?

“We are further concerned that comments their leadership have made in public over many months constitutes the incitement to both violence and racism, hate and the segregation of New Zealand society. . . 

Agree or not with what the organisation stands for and its representatives say, anything I have heard or read from them is calm, and polite, and a call for unity not separation.

Hobson’s Pledge has welcomed the investigation call.

Hobson’s Pledge welcomes an investigation by the Human Rights Commission called for by the Maori Council so long as the Commission applies the law, acts independently, and leaves prejudice at the door, Hobson’s Pledge spokesperson Casey Costello said today.

The Maori Council called for an investigation in an invective-ridden media release, which said the call was supported unanimously by 16 districts at a national hui at the weekend.

The Maori Council should be careful of the language it uses because it is more extreme than allegations that have already required apologies and printed retractions, Ms Costello said.

The Maori Council media release ignores the fact that both women and Maori are actively involved with Hobson’s Pledge, she said.

Since the Human Rights Commission exists to resolve disputes about unlawful discrimination, it is difficult to see how our group, which calls for the equal treatment of everybody, can be construed as discriminating against anyone, she said.

Any investigation should look at the actual content of our media releases, public statements, and contents of our website, because this is what we actually say, she said.

Allegations by other parties of what we are supposed to have said, that have appeared in the media, were not created by us, and if they are distasteful, the authors of those allegations should be called to account, Ms Costello said.

I have read and heard a lot of criticisms of what people think Hobson’s Pledge is about but nothing that provides a point by point rebuttal of what it actually says.

The shouting down of Pledge spokesman, Don Brash, at Waitangi this year is a case in point.

He was shouted down but if anyone had a criticism of what he was actually saying, it wasn’t reported.

You can read the speech here.

The only point I would argue against is his criticism of different entry standards for entry into medical and law schools for Maori.

Maori are underrepresented in medicine and law. Preferential entry is a way to address that. As long as they have the ability to master their subject and have to meet the same standards as every other student once in the schools, as they do, I regard this as acceptable discrimination.

Other discrimination he questioned included:

  • appointments to local government committees without democratic process,
  • required representation on every government board or agency,
  • separate government funding for Maori tourism,
  • exemption from corporate tax for the businesses arising out of Treaty settlements,
  • taxpayer funding for customary marine title claims,
  • a legal requirement that Maori have special entitlement to be consulted on environmental planning laws, and
  • mandatory respect for Maori spiritual rites and process despite New Zealand’s officially being a secular society.

Questioning that is an argument for equal treatment, the antithesis of racism.

If there’s something wrong with that it should be easy to counter it with facts and logic, rather than just dismissing it as racist.

There is general acceptance that Maori were badly treated in the past and that Treaty settlements are a legitimate way to compensate for that.

Maori feature disproportionately in negative statistics for health, welfare, income and educational attainment and few would question that addressing that should be a priority.

But the idea that the Treaty made Maori more equal than other New Zealanders is more controversial.

It’s a view Hobson’s Pledge argues against but that does not make it racist.

Like the organisation I welcome the investigation providing, as their response says, the Commission applies the law, acts independently, and leaves prejudice at the door.

 

 

 


Greens aiming for Mana voters

27/01/2015

Green co-leader didn’t deliver the speech she’d prepared to deliver at the Ratana celebrations but she got the publicity she was seeking from it anyway:

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei launched a stinging attack on John Key in his absence at Ratana today, saying his view of New Zealand’s history was “warped, outrageous and deeply offensive”.

She also said Mr Key was a prime example of the “ignorant, uneducated Pakeha” economist Gareth Morgan had talked about the day before. . .

Ratana elders usually frown upon using the occasion for a political speech, but Ms Turei was unrepentant.

“This is a political event. We need to come here and front up to Maori about our Maori policy, our Treaty policy and explain ourselves. And that’s what I’m doing.”

She said Mr Key had to be taken to task for a “disgraceful way to describe New Zealand’s history”.  . .

The Prime Minister wasn’t there but his deputy was:

Mr English said the Greens were “nasty” on occasion and it didn’t serve them well.

“John Key has developed a very positive relationship with Maori even though there isn’t very strong political support among Maori for National. He has focused on a lot of areas they want him to focus on. So I don’t think the audience will be too impressed by it.” . . .

Nor would those member of the Green Party who take their values, which  include engaging respectfully without personal attacks, seriously.

However, neither the people at Ratana nor Green members were her intended audience.

She was dog whistling to Mana voters.

The chances of Mana returning to parliament now the party doesn’t have an MP are very slight. Turei’s outburst looks like  an attempt to gain its supporters’ attention.

If that’s the strategy it’s a risky one.

Anything aimed at voters from the radical Maori left of the spectrum are likely to scare away more moderate voters towards the centre and make the idea of a Labour-Green government less attractive to both Labour and many of its supporters.

Meanwhile, the Deputy PM showed better manners and a more positive outlook:

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English spoke for National, beginning by acknowledging the iwi leaders at the event and the work of the prophet. The Finance Minister got some laughs when he added that he was also interested in another type of ‘prophet’ – “profit. The one we can tax.”

Mr English also spoke about the privilege he had to be involved in Treaty settlements. He acknowledged Dame Tariana Turia, who was sitting on the paepae, saying he would miss being nagged by her. He said he would also take care of ‘your baby, Whanau Ora.”

He also referred to the relationship with the Maori Party and Maori voters’ preference for Labour.

“They’re not waiting for the government you want – they’re working with the Government you’ve got.”

He said there had been gains under that.

“We’re a long way forward.”

He also nodded at Ratana’s allegiance to Labour. “There’s been discussion about how Ratana votes, we’ll get to that in three years’ time, because there’s young Maori there who need us next week.”

While the Green Party is seeking headlines in opposition National is working with the Maori Party, and other coalition partners, to make a positive difference for all New Zealanders.

 


Internet Mana merger negates need for Maori seats

28/05/2014

The Maori party says the Internet Mana Party merger threatens Maori seats:

The Maori Party believes the Mana Party has “sold out” and its merger with the Internet Party puts all Maori electorate seats at risk. . .

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says the merger undermines the need and purpose of the seven Maori seats in Parliament.

“The seats were hard fought for and to allow a Maori candidate to stand to drag in someone else from another party who is not Maori and may not have any dreams and aspirations for Maori people in this land or the people of Te Tai Tokerau who believed in that candidate is seriously wrong,” he says.

“There have been attempts in the past for some parties to suggest the time for Maori seats is over and this doesn’t help in any shape or form.”

MP Pita Sharples also questioned the merger and thinks Mr Harawira’s party has sold out on Maori issues.

“It’s supposed to stand for things Maori and what’s Dotcom bringing to Maori?”

The answer to that question is trouble.

The Mana Party will get money from the deal.

That might help a very few of its members but it won’t help Maori.

I don’t think we need Maori seats and both Flavell  and Sharples are right that this deal could be used to argue that.


Labour doesn’t deserve Maori vote

21/04/2014

Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that Labour doesn’t deserve the Maori vote.

‘I don’t believe they deserve our vote any more. I don’t believe they deserve our vote, I don’t believe they deserve the vote of the Pasifika people, because if there’s one thing I’ve noticed since coming through and being a Minister this time, is the very very poor resourcing of all Pasifika health, social services, you name it.’

When asked whether she is worried that the Labour party might take a large portion of the Maori Party vote , she said, ‘I think that our people have to ask themselves that for all the years that Labour were in government, the nine years of plenty, what is it that changed in their lives? What is it that Labour did that made them feel that things had changed for them, and have made a difference?’ . . .

The answer to that question is not much.

The Maori seat enabled Labour to take Maori for granted.

It was National which started the Treaty settlement process and it’s National which has settled most claims.

The progress report at the end of 2012 showed:

treatyprogress

There have been several more settlements since then, including settlement of the last of the historic South Island claims.

But it’s not just Treaty settlements which make Maori better off with a National-led government than a Labour-led one.

Labour sees electoral gain from keeping people dependent.

National knows it’s better to help people become independent and move from grievance to growth, not just in economic measures but in social ones too.


When did you last see a topless Maori dancer?

06/04/2014

The Telegraph reports:

Topless female Maori dancers will cover up when they greet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the start of their tour, according to a Maori expert.

Tredegar Hall, a member of the London-based Maori club Ngati Ranana, said male dancers wearing grass skirts had also been instructed to add underwear for the ceremonial welcome in Wellington on Monday. . .

 

It is possible Hall knows more about Maori protocol than I do but I can’t recall ever seeing topless Maori dancers.


Still work to do

07/02/2014

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.

 


Making better use of Maori land

06/02/2014

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

05/02/2014

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.

 

 


Will women lose in culture clash?

20/01/2014

Speaker David Carter wants to modernise parliamentary protocols.

The move was prompted by a cultural clash over women’s place and Maori custom and initial reaction suggests women are going to lose.

It follows an incident during a powhiri last year where two senior female MPs were made to move from the front row of seats, reserved for speakers.

Chairman of the oldest local Maori authority, the Wellington Tenths Trust, Morrie Love, says there is no shift in society that warrants change at this stage.

He says by accepting the form of the powhiri, the area for that time is deemed a marae, and protocol needs to be genuine and authentic to marae tikanga.

One could ask where Mr Love has been if he doesn’t think there’s a shift in society at warrants change.

However, goNZo Freakpower has an explanation for the continuation of women being seated at the back:

. . . I’m not convinced by the justifications of protecting women from taniwhas and bad atua for hui seating arrangements. My theory is that it’s a face-saving gesture to the old male kaumatua. Men go deaf more readily than women, and the old geezers sit in the front seats to better grasp what’s going on. The sharper eared wahine can hear just fine from further back. . .

That might not help women be treated as equals but it is a better explanation for the practice than any others I’ve come across.


Better right than rushed

06/01/2014

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.


Discrimination should lose when cultures clash

05/01/2014

Speaker David Carter is  seeking a review of Maori protocols in parliament after two women MPs were asked to move from the front row at a welcome ceremony.

He said he wanted to “modernise” the protocols. “Parliament needs a protocol that is modern and acceptable to a diversified Parliament.”

Parliament’s longest serving woman MP Annette King and her Labour colleague Maryan Street were asked to move from the front bench during a powhiri at the start of the Youth Parliament several months ago.

That prompted the Speaker to begin a process to review protocols that were put in place 15 years ago with the oversight of the Wellington iwi, Te Atiawa. . .

“I think Parliament needs to be in a position where it actually over time develops its own protocol under guidance from Te Atiawa and other iwi,” Mr Carter said.

What Maori do on their own marae is their business.

But when there’s a cultural clash in parliament, discrimination should lose.

New Zealand led the world in giving women the vote in the 19th century it is unacceptable that they are not treated equally in parliament in the 21st century.

Nineteenth century attitudes to Maori aren’t tolerated in the 21st century, those old attitudes to women shouldn’t be either.


Hypocrisy or NIMBYism

27/11/2013

Question of the day:

Call it hypocrisy or NIMBYism (Not In My BackYard) – it’s not only Maori who are guilty of happily using minerals and products made from them from other countries while vehemently opposing as much as exploration to see whether there is anything worth mining or drilling here.

One Maori who is supportive of mineral exploration and drilling is Labour MP Shane Jones, but it’s an issue which could split his caucus.

The standoff over deep sea drilling off the Raglan coast is threatening a split in Labour.

Labour MP Shane Jones has backed oil drilling giant Anadarko in a move which puts him at odds with other members of the caucus, including environment spokeswoman Moana Mackey who today called for a slow down in the mineral exploration programme.

Jones has made no secret of his pro-mining stance and has taken potshots at the Green Party over its anti-mining stance.  But he could also find himself increasingly at odds with many in grassroots Labour as well. . . .

These are the people who say they’re for the workers but oppose the industry which could provide jobs and well-paying ones at that.

Taranaki’s growth shows that and these jobs have come without destroying the environment.

That there have been no accidents there doesn’t mean there couldn’t be. There are risks, but they are risks which can be managed.


Rural round-up

01/08/2013

Waikato land likely to be better used now:

Lands owned by two Waikato tribes will be better used thanks to an agreement by the iwi and Lincoln University.

Ngati Koroki Kahukura and Ngati Haua have signed a memorandum of understanding with the tertiary educator.

The document outlines an agreement to create an agricultural training centre in Waikato and to explore a new farm certificate course.

Tribal spokesperson Willie Te Aho, who affiliates to both iwi, says the programme is intended for everyone – not just tangata whenua. . .

Bee Aware Month – Love Our Kiwi Bees:

August is Bee Aware Month and the National Beekeepers Association is urging the government to take the threat to bees much more seriously.

Bees account for over 5 billion dollars of New Zealand’s economy through the pollination of crops and honey exports.

But bees are under threat. All wild bees have been wiped out by the varroa mite which is also threatening the rest of our bees.

“The varroa mite is one of the biggest threats facing our Kiwi bees. It has spread throughout the country and we desperately need to contain this dangerous pest,” says NBA CEO Daniel Paul. . .

Wilding pines cleared from shores of Lake Pukaki:

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson says the battle to preserve New Zealand’s natural heritage has taken a step forward, with 150 hectares of wilding trees cleared at the iconic Lake Pukaki.

Land Information New Zealand has completed an intensive 18 month eradication programme in an area between the western shoreline of the lake and State Highway 80.  It will enable the shoreline to return to its natural state.

“Wilding trees, including conifers such as lodgepole pine (pinus contorta), pose a significant threat to the environment by competing with native flora and fauna for sunlight and water.

“The Government is committed to minimising the impact of these trees by clearing them from Crown land and contributing to community programmes in areas such as Mid Dome, Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu,” Mr Williamson says. . .

Horticulture New Zealand elects new president:

Fruit and berry grower Julian Raine has been elected president of Horticulture New Zealand.

Julian is Nelson based and has 30 years’ experience in the industry. He takes over from Andrew Fenton who has been president since HortNZ’s inception in 2005.

Julian has extensive experience both in growing and wide – ranging roles in industry organisations.

“Julian has been a director of the New Zealand Boysenberry Council and Nelson Seasonal Employers Inc, is chair of the New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust and a trustee of the Massey Lincoln Agricultural Industry Trust,” says immediate past president Andrew Fenton. . .

Southland and Otago Dairy Awards Regions Merge:

The 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will take place in 11 regions, including a merged Southland/Otago region.

National convenor Chris Keeping says organisers made the decision to merge the Southland and Otago regions in late July as it is believed that the merged region will be stronger, creating a better competition for entrants.

“The executive committee has deliberated on the future of the regions for some time, and came to its decision on the basis that it is most important that entrants are guaranteed a competition and the opportunity to compete in the national finals,” national convenor Chris Keeping says. . . .

Taste Farmers’ Markets Award Winners celebrate the real flavours of NZ:

This growing popularity of Farmers’ Markets is something being seen worldwide and for a host of reasons. The awareness of what’s in our food and growing demand for regional, unadulterated produce, climate concerns and the investment into local communities and resources, sustainable agriculture and community hubs are just a few of the influences causing Farmers’ Markets to flourish in New Zealand.

Farmers’ Markets New Zealand (FMNZ) celebrated the real heroes and champions of regional food production at the 2013 Taste Farmers Markets Awards. Localvore Chef Judge Jonny Schwass said “The produce we tasted was fresh, crisp, alive and nourishing. The vegetables, preserves, meats and cheeses are the real produce of Aotearoa” As a Chef and now father, his cooking is about the beauty of well-chosen ingredients and simply prepared food. For Jonny food is the only thing that enlightens all senses. He believes food elevates our mood. It makes us better people. Food is more than energy, food is life. . .

And in celebration of our wine industry:

Looks good!


Maori Party out-xenophobes the xenophobes

30/07/2013

If Labour was trying to out-xenophobe the xenophobic New Zealand First and Green parties with its housing policy it has been trumped by the Maori Party.

The Maori Party has labelled Shearer’s new policy aimed at restricting foreigners from purchasing houses as ‘lip-service’, and has challenged the Labour Party to commit to real action to protect the assets of Aotearoa by extending their policies to prevent the sale of land and strategic assets into all and any foreign ownership.

“The Maori Party have a clear policy on land ownership, we must protect and preserve our land to keep it from falling into foreign ownership. The Labour Party’s housing policy, which would restrict foreigners from purchasing houses, is nonsensical as it discriminates against which foreigners it exempts and does nothing to protect the asset of true value to the people of Aotearoa – the land.”

“On one hand the Labour Party want to limit the purchase of residential property by overseas investors, but on the other they promote and support the free trade agenda which is entirely about easing rules for foreigners to do business, and invest in New Zealand assets.”

“There are other ways to do business with countries overseas which protect the rangatiratanga of New Zealanders over our resources. We think that both the Labour Party and the National Party have a duty to look at how we can protect our resources before they advance investment agreements such as the TPPA.” . . .

There are lots of ways to do business with other countries but if we want economic growth here, with the social development that fosters, we need investment.

Our poor savings record means we don’t have enough spare money ourselves which leaves us with two choices – we can borrow from other countries or welcome foreign investment.

Inwards investment should pose no more threat to the rangatiratanga of New Zealanders over our resources than investment from within.

Whoever owns our land or other assets is subject to the same laws which govern what they can do with them as everybody else regardless of where they come from.

Without foreign investment we’d go backwards.

That would hurt the poorest people, among whom are a disproportionate number of Maori, the most.


Maori business less dependent on govt

29/07/2013

Finance Minster Bill English says Maori  economic development is becoming less dependent on government.

Mr English said the Government is becoming less important to the progress of Maori business.

He said increasingly Maori innovation, cultural distinctiveness and unique relationships are becoming more important to whether Maori families get ahead.

Mr English said he can’t recall the last time that someone representing a Maori entity referred to grant schemes which used to be the currency interaction with Government.

He says Maori are also open to doing business with a range of people, which is an example that other business leaders should follow. . .

This is good news and reinforces the importance of getting Treaty claims settled.

Ngai Tahu has shown what an Iwi can do when it stops looking backwards and moves from grievance to growth.

That success and independence isn’t just good for its members it also makes a significant and positive wider economic and social impact.


Maori seats to stay at 7?

24/07/2013

Today is the last day for people to change between the Maori and general electoral rolls .

The number doing so will determine if there is a change in the number of Maori seats.

. . . The latest campaign opened in March – and preliminary results show 5200 people joined the Maori roll halfway through – most of them being new voters.

Nearly ten thousand more people would need to join it by Wednesday to be on par with the number of people who joined in the 2006 option – which saw no increase in Maori seats. . .

A report in June said:

The 6774 voters moving from the General Roll to the Maori Roll are essentially cancelled out by the 6727 leaving it to go on the General Roll.

Unless there’s been a large number of people opting for the Maori roll and very few for the general roll in the last month it is likely the status quo of seven Maori seats will remain.

The Maori seats are an anachronism which ought to have disappeared when MMP was introduced.

No new ones is good, fewer would be better and none at all would be best.

The seats were taken for granted by Labour for years and the area most of them cover make it much more difficult to service them and constituents to get access to their MPs.


Divided they lost

01/07/2013

Only around 12,000 of the nearly 35,000 people on the electoral roll in Ikaroa-Rawhiti bothered to do vote in the by-election.

Labour’s Meka Whaitiri won the seat with just 4,368 votes and a sorry 35.8% turnout.

Is that a record low?

The Mana Party will be delighted that its candidate  Te Hāmua Nikora came second with 2,607 votes.

The Maori Party will be very disappointed that its candidate Na Raihania, was third with 2,104.

The win might be enough for those in Labour’s caucus who were aiming their knives at their leader’s back to set them down, for now.

But something all three parties need to think about is that the combined total of Nikora’s and Raihania’s votes was greater than that of Whaitiri’s.

Pita Sharples says the Maori Party, rather than its candidate, is responsible for its result. He didn’t mention, but he ought to be thinking about, his unwillingness to loosen his hold on the leadership.

However, as Matthew Hooton points out:

Had Mr Harawira not split the Maori Party in 2011, it is almost certain it would have won last night’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election.  It would most probably have held on to Te Tai Tonga in 2011 so that it would now hold six of the seven Maori electorates and have much greater leverage over Mr Key and Labour. . .

There is no single Maori view but one party targeting the Maori seats would have had a very real chance of challenging Labour for them and being in a very strong position to go with a government led by either National or Labour.

But divided they lost the by-election and will almost certainly be too weak separately to do nearly as well as they could together.

Harawira put his personal feelings before political strategy, opening the way for Labour to retake most of the Maori seats and that could well bring about the demise of these electorates.

The idea of  New Zealand First in a governing coalition is the stuff of nightmares. But there would be one small consolation if that was the only way for National to stay in government, both parties favour culling the Maori seats.

National conceded that policy when it invited the Maori Party into coalition in 2008.

Should the Maori Party not be in a position to help National into government and, perish the thought, New Zealand First be a potential coalition partner, the Maori seats could go.

If Harawira had bothered to take a longer view beyond his personal agenda he would have been aware of that possibility and the risk he was taking in splintering from the Maori Party.


More or fewer?

06/06/2013

Several commentators have been picking there will be an extra Maori seat after people choose which roll to be on.

But so far  more people are switching from the Maori roll to the general roll than from the general roll to the Maori one.

If that trend continues the number of Maori seats will stay the same or there could be one fewer.

This could be a reflection of Treaty settlements which have enabled Maori to move from grievance mode to growth mode.

It could be because Maori realise the size of the electorates makes it much more difficult for their MPs to represent them effectively.

It could be because there is no single Maori voice.

It could also be because people realise the seats have had their day.

The Maori Party isn’t happy about the trend:

Tariana Turia said “When we first entered into a relationship with the National Party in 2008, the first thing we did was negotiate to keep the Maori seats in place. At that time it was a huge deal because National had campaigned on getting rid of the Maori seats. We cannot be complacent, we know that our seats remain vulnerable, and if we don’t use them we risk losing them.”

“Māori voter participation is absolutely crucial to any system of political representation. And yet, for at least the last decade, there has been ample evidence demonstrating that the electoral system is not effectively engaging with Māori. Much more work must be done on all fronts, to encourage Māori uptake on their democratic right, to get on the electoral roll”.

Voter participation and representation do not depend on special Maori seats.

Participation is equally important which ever roll people are on and being on the general roll doesn’t mean Maori aren’t represented.

Turia herself said that Maori seats didn’t give Maori a voice:

I think what our people are starting to realise though is that when they voted Maori people into Labour they never got a Maori voice, they got a Labour voice and that was the difference, and they’ve only begun to realise it since the Maori Party came into parliament, because it is the first time that they have heard significant Maori issues raised on a daily basis.

I don’t know if there are any figures for Maori voter participation on the general roll but voting in Maori seats is usually lower than in general seats. Many who enrol on the Maori roll don’t bother to vote.

One argument used to defend the continuation of Maori seats is that it’s up to Maori to choose.

That’s like saying only those 65 and over should have a say on superannuation. Having Maori seats affects us all.

If those seats were dropped and the current total number of electorates retained the seats would decrease in geographical size which would give better representation for all of us.


South Island fully settled

21/04/2013

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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