Police complaint over Ardern’s interference

July 30, 2019

A senior member of Te Kawerau a Maki, David Rankin, plans to lay a complaint with the Police this week over Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s interference in the current land dispute at Ihumatao.

The complaint will allege that the Prime Minister used her position to interfere in a legal transaction and as a consequence, will deprive the iwi of dozens of homes which Fletchers has contracted to provide to the mana whenua of Ihumatao.

“I don’t take this action lightly,” says Mr Rankin, “but the Prime Minister has directly interfered in a legally valid arrangement, and at great cost to the iwi. First, she destroyed kiwi-build, and now she is destroying iwi-build. Fletchers have agreed to provide 40 houses to our people, which is exactly 40 more houses than the Labour Government has managed to provide to us.”

Gerry Brownlee quipped at the National Party conference that Kiwibuild was aptly named because it can’t fly.

Now Ardern has grounded iwi-build.

Mr Rankin admits that the complaint to Police will make him unpopular, but he says that there is a bigger issue at stake. “Ms Ardern has breached the kawa of our hapu, and her actions will leave some of our old people without houses. This is intolerable, and also breaches the law.”

Whether or not it’s a matter for police, it threatens the whole Treaty process, as Whanau Ora Minister Peeni Henare pointed out:

. . .But I want to be very clear and put a word of caution here. If the government steps in to buy this land back, we undermine every treaty settlement that’s been done to date. We then allow re-litigation of settlements that have been done in the past, and are we prepared for that? . . .

For many of the protesters the issue is bigger than Ihumatao. 

The PM’s interference has made it even bigger.

She has given way to protesters in what is a fraught family disagreement.

In doing so she has trampled over Fletcher Building’s property rights and an agreement between he company and Mana Whenua, and is delaying the building of much-needed houses.

She has also sent a message to businesses that they can’t rely on the government to back them, even though the law is on their side.


Greens aiming for Mana voters

January 27, 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.

 


Continuing investment approach

November 5, 2014

The Government remains committed to its social investment approach to improve services for those most in need, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“The Prime Minister has made clear that in this third term the Government will further focus on issues influencing children in material deprivation and hardship. Just as there are many and sometimes inter-related causes of hardship, there must also be multiple and sometimes inter-related strands to the solution. 

“The Better Public Services programme, reform of the social housing sector and the investment approach that we have developed to improve services for the people who need them most, are all part of the Government’s ongoing programme. 

“In another step, The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New Zealanders as well as others whose input might help us invest to get better results.”

The Request for Information will focus on:

Effective ways of identifying and engaging the children and families most at risk of poor education, criminal justice and employment outcomes.

How existing services or support could be improved to deliver better outcomes for the most at-risk children and their families.

Issues not currently being addressed that affect at-risk children and their families.

New interventions, services or arrangements that could deliver better outcomes.

This approach builds on initiatives like Whanau Ora, Children’s Teams and Social Sector Trials, which focus on the needs of individual citizens.

Information collected will be used to identify where existing government services can be improved, or where new localised or citizen-centred services can be trialled as part of Budget 2015. Initiatives could be funded through new spending or reprioritising existing expenditure. . .

An investment approach is not necessarily less expensive in the short term, but careful, targeted spending that will make a positive difference to the lives of people in need pays social and financial dividends in the medium to longer term.

An example of this is the incentive for people on benefits who are willing to move to Christchurch for work.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the Government’s 3K to Christchurch scheme is a winner with 633 unemployed people taking up the offer.

“Since the scheme began in July a total of 523 men and 110 women have received the $3,000 payment as an incentive to move off benefit to Christchurch for a fulltime job.  204 of these are aged between 16 and 24 years.

“It is transforming lives.  A Northland father in his 40s who has been on benefit since 2007 has been working in asbestos removal since July and has since been promoted to Supervisor.  He loves the work and the money.  While he’s missing his family, his employer is paying for him to fly home for weekends because he has become so crucial to the business.

“A 23 year old man who had been unemployed since May has impressed an employer so much that he has been offered an Air Conditioning apprenticeship.

“Unsurprisingly the greatest take-up has been in the construction sector with 350 positions, followed by transport, warehousing and manufacturing.

“The Government is currently exploring extending the scheme beyond Christchurch to other parts of the country with high labour demands and low unemployment.

“It is fantastic that 3K to Christchurch is playing a vital part in attracting people to help with the rebuilding of the city, says Mrs Tolley.

When there’s a mis-match between the jobless and the jobs, a financial incentive which covers the cost of moving and getting established is a good investment.

The short term cost of the payment will be more than compensated for by medium and longer term savings in benefit payments.

Moving people from benefits to work is one of the most effective ways to tackle poverty and the problems that go with it.

Our $3k to Christchurch initiative is helping beneficiaries back into work and is addressing skill shortages. ntnl.org.nz/10w2r2n


Right not always popular

August 13, 2014

The Maori Party has the endorsement of New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O’Sullivan:

. . . O’Sullivan has thrown his celebrity behind the Maori Party saying he believed compromise was the best way to advance Maori interests, and the Maori Party was best placed to do that.

O’Sullivan’s face is plastered over party billboards across the country.

He said that despite warnings it was “reckless and risky” to publicly endorse a party he felt it was necessary.

“I hope that my small – and I do think it’s small – contribution to this campaign could help to bring a positive light to what the Maori Party has achieved and has the potential to achieve,” he said.

O’Sullivan, who also spoke at the party’s campaign launch, cited its willingness to straddle the political divide and its focus on issues such as rheumatic fever and healthy homes as being behind his decision.

“I don’t think a party that’s on the extreme edges one way or another is going to be beneficial for Maori,” he said.

While reluctant to comment specifically on the Internet Mana Party, he said he preferred a positive message over one focused on “pulling down the Government”.

He had been forced to make unpopular but necessary decisions in his own career and the Maori Party was willing to do the same, he said.

“I think we as Maori also need to realise that compromise is a part of political involvement in New Zealand politics,” he said.

“Like I say, sometimes the decisions are not popular . . . it’s hard to be popular and do the right thing at the same time.” . . .

No party can expect to get all the policies it wants enacted.

MMP is supposed to promote consensus but that is rarely possible without at least some compromise.

Small parties tend to get punished for their part in a coalition but the Maori Party has won more than it could have had it chosen to stay in opposition.

One of those gains was the continuation of the Maori seats which would almost certainly have gone had Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples not argued for them in their coalition deal.

Another was Whanau Ora which is making a positive difference to people’s lives.

But perhaps the most significant achievement was proving that the party could work with National and Maori had much to gain by it doing so.

Had it chosen to stay outside the coalition it would be marooned on the left of politics like the Green and Mana Parties.

It’s leaders realised the gains they could make by being in a National-led government, even though it meant accepting compromises.

In doing so they have made real gains.

Tai Tokerau Maori Party candidate Te Hira Paenga has made it clear at a political debate that its relationship with National is to ensure government policies will improve the lives of tangata whenua. . .

In the time allocated to Te Hira Paenga, he said the party made no apologies for striking a relationship with the Government.

He said more tangata whenua needed to work with government agencies in order to provide a better education system, real jobs and living wage.

Mr Paenga also made a subtle dig at his fellow candidates by saying it was time to get rid of the ‘old nets’ referring to the proverb – ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi.

That translates as: As a old net withers another is remade, meaning when an elder is no longer fit to lead, a healthier leader will stand in his place.

The Maori Party’s two older leaders are retiring.  Paenga’s speech shows he is willing to follow their example and accept that compromise is necessary in government.

So too is accepting that the right decisions won’t always be popular.

O’Sullivan understands that.

It is a message he and the party must get across to voters if it is to survive this election in a state to continue making a positive difference.

 

 


Too many helpers don’t help

October 30, 2010

When my baby son and I were discharged from hospital we were visited by the Plunket nurse.

He had a brain disorder which left him with multi disabilities. Because of that the nurse kept making what she called “love visits” long after her official quota of home visits was used up. In hindsight I realise she wasn’t just keeping an eye on Dan but supporting his then- four-year-old sister, my farmer and me as well.

We also got visits from an occupational therapist who was very good at sourcing and adapting equipment like a high chair and, car seat and buggy.

Then other people started coming until at one stage there were six of them from different agencies all addressing different aspects of Dan’s problems.

At that stage I was usually feeding at least two staff and the visitors almost always came at the time I’d be trying to prepare lunch.

The Plunket Nurse realised too many helpers were doing more harm than good and stopped coming regularly, though she made it very clear I could call her at any time and she continued to pop in now and then if she was in the area.

But the others kept coming regularly, adding to the stress I was under because I didn’t have the courage to tell them their expectations of Dan and me were unrealistic. He didn’t have the ability and I didn’t have the time or energy to follow their suggestions.

It was the OT who realised that the visits from multiple helpers weren’t helping. She arranged a round-table meeting with all the visitors and helped me explain that, capable and concerned as they were, they weren’t helping Dan and were making life more difficult for me.

The reasons for the visits were Dan’s health and intellectual problems, not family dysfunction but too many helpers not actually helping is at least as much a problem when dealing with that.

Addressing the unhelpfulness of mutiple helpers is one of the motivations behind Whanau Ora according to Health Minister Tony Ryall:

Speaking at the announcement of successful Whanau Ora providers in Porirua today, Mr Ryall said the Government wanted to turn around the ‘five cars up the driveway’ syndrome where families were confronting multiple agencies each working on one or two issues with separate family members. 

“We want social services to stop operating in silos when dealing with individuals and their issues, in isolation from what might be happening elsewhere in their lives or their family.”

“Whanau Ora is about the integration of health and social services around families and whanau. It’s a major step change in how we support families to support themselves,” Mr Ryall says.

Helping people help themselves is a much better idea than multiple helpers who don’t actually help.


Good politics

April 9, 2010

Whatever else might be said about the Whanau Ora programme  appointing Tariana Turia as the Minister is good politics.

She has asked for it, she is passionate about it, she believes it will work and now she’s responsible for ensuring it does.

However, that doesn’t mean this can be sidelined as a Maori issue which doesn’t concern anyone else.

Dysfunctional families aren’t peculiar to Maori and regardless of the ethnicity of the families, if they’re dysfunctional the problems associated with that are problems for our society as a whole.


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