Trevor Mallard blogged:
Back in 2000 I was acting Minister of Communication while Paul Swain was sick. I made it very clear at the time that the Crown did not accept that the radio spectrum was an asset that attracted rights for Maori from the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. Frankly I thought, and still think, that that concept is nonsense.
Yet back in 2000 Hansard records:
The Government has decided that preferential bidding access to one of the four 15 megahertz blocks of third generation spectrum will be given only to those parties able to demonstrate some commitment to involve Maori in the development of this spectrum. This is likely to be telecommunications working in partnership with Maori. The third generation spectrum will provide significant opportunities for new investment and technological advancement in New Zealand’s telecommunications sector. The Government considers that it is very important to ensure that Maori can take part in this process.
Now to be clear, Trevor did not say that the telecommunications spectrum was a “right” under the Treaty of Waitangi. But he did advocate policy of preferential access for Maori to it, regardless of treaty claims. That is something he somehow forgot to mention.Tags: Maori, Trevor Mallard