This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 at 12:00 pm and is filed under NZ Politics.
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Finlayson says in the speech that we should rejoice in settlements, such as that he helped achieve for Ngai Tahu in the regime of Graham. Finlayson did a great job for Ngai Tahu, including obtaining first and second rights of purchase of Crown assets in the region in perpetuity – for ever. Admittedly these South Island Crown assets were those at the time of settlement, but there are a hell of a lot of them, as diverse as a stake in Christchurch Airport and Burnham Military Camp; Wigram, the birth spot of the RNZAF and based on a gift to NZ from a South Island tourism magnate has already been taken over by Ngai Tahu.
Finlayson rightly praises Ngai Tahu for their judicious investment policy that has increased their settlement stake. It would be nice to know, however, any tax advantages tribes have in managing their settlements. I mean by that are they able to use charitable status in any way or structure to avoid or reduce tax. I suspect there are no such advantages for the tribe, but it would be nice to have this on the record.
Finlayson, whose name suggests Scottish ancestry, is incorrect in blaming the Highland Clearances for Scots resentments of the English. The clearances were enclosures, similar to those in England and the rest of Western Europe. The agricultural revolution which paralleled and enabled the Industrial Revolution couldn’t have occurred without this change of land tenure. The Scots chiefs/lairds (not Englishmen) cleared the highlands to allow more intensive farming, largely of sheep, They used chiefly Lowland Scots expertise to set up this farming. The Clearances were not an English imposition on Scotland. At least Finlayson didn’t suggest Otago-Southland was peopled by the Clearances. These settlers were overwhelmingly younger sons of small farmers, and their wives and children.
Finlayson impresses as a speaker. He is clearly highly skilled in the law, just as, I am sure, were many of those who wronged Maori in land deals after the treaty. Perhaps we should divert Maori resentments towards lawyers rather than to the Crown, a term which is used almost as a euphemism for white settlers and their descendants.
I’m not convinced by Finlayson’s optimism about final settlement of Maori grievances. In the speech he seems to suggest some sort of ongoing consultation process with iwi after settlement agreements. This seems to indicate final settlement target may not be so final after all.
Recently, for example, Ngai Tahu have said they would make an additional claim if settlements with other iwi were at a level that will trigger this.
Non-Maori NZ could be in for several more generations of reparations. Pretty tough since the Germans seem forgiven a generation later for the Nazi mayhem. White Kiwis’ ancestors, even those who were lawyers and/or land sharks, can’t have been worse than the SS maniacs.