Titewhai says time to settle

March 4th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

NBR reports:

The 80 year-old Ngapuhi iwi kuia, Titewhai Harawira, says now is the time for the country’s largest Maori tribe to settle its claim with the Crown to redress grievances under the Treaty of Waitangi.

In the latest sign that the 125,000-strong iwi may settle ahead of this year’s general election, Harawira issued a two-page statement under the letterhead of Tuhornuku, the independent authority mandated to settle the claims after years of friction that have not fully subsided between competing elements of the tribe.

Most members of Ngapuhi who voted, voted to settle and recognise the mandate of the negotiators. A small minority are opposed, but it is very significant that Titewhai is not one of them, and even she is in favour of the settlement occurring.

An extract from her release:

Ngāpuhi are ready to talk to the Crown about settling, says Ngāpuhi Kuia and leader Titewhai Harawira.

“I have travelled and talked to Ngāpuhi from Hokianga to Invercargill and all stops in between. And I’ve heard what our people want. They want to get on with settlement.

“We are by far the biggest Iwi and we should be having input and influence over everything that is happening in our country”. …

Overwhelmingly, our people want to settle. We want to put the grievances behind us so we can become strong again as a people, as we were before colonisation.

“It is time for Ngāpuhi to take its rightful place in the leadership of our nation. Settlement will do this – it will advance our people in every way, in education, health, economically and culturally.

Said Mrs Harawira: “A Treaty settlement for all Ngāpuhi will transform Northland’s Iwi into an economic powerhouse, in a way other tribes have done for their regions further south.

There’s a fair amount I don’t agree with Titewhai on. But when she says it is time to settle and use the money to improve the economy, health and education of the Ngapuhi people, she is right. They are the only remaining major Iwi to settle, and it will be great if it does occur in the next couple of years.

 

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A mandate for Ngāpuhi

February 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Chris Finlayson announced:

All Ngāpuhi members will be entitled to vote in elections for representatives to the independent mandated authority that will negotiate the iwi’s historical Treaty settlement with the Crown, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson and Minister of Māori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples announced today.

The Ministers today said they have recognized the mandate of Tūhoronuku to negotiate as an independent mandated authority for the settlement of the claims of the country’s largest iwi, Ngāpuhi. Tūhoronuku will become a separate legal entity from Te Rūnanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi, and new elections will be held for its governance board.

This is a very significant step forward. Ngāpuhi are the last of major Iwi to settle, and it has been a hugely complex and lengthy process to get a mandate recognised.

“Ngāpuhi has been going through a lengthy and robust mandating process since 2009, the longest and largest in the settlement process to date,” Mr Finlayson said. “Around 60 hui were held, including 20 hui in the lead up to the formal mandate ballot in August and September of 2011 throughout NZ and in Australia. 76% of those who participated in the ballot were strongly in favour of granting a mandate to negotiate to Tūhoronuku.”

There are a minority opposed to the proposed structure for negotiations, but a 76% vote in favour is clearly a mandate.

What this mandate recognition means is that the actual negotiations can now start, and hopefully we’ll get a settlement in the next couple of years. This makes it very possible that by say end of 2016, all the major historical claims will be settled. That will hopefully focus attention on whether one needs to retain the Waitangi Tribunal going forward – or should so called contemporary claims just be dealt with through the court system?

Anyway congratulations to the very hard working Ngāpuhi negotiators for finally achieving recognition of their mandate.

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Finlayson on Treaty settlements

February 7th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Chris Finlayson wrote on Waitangi Day:

Some people say they want an end to historical settlements. Most people agree. I do. Maori want them resolved as well.

For a while it seemed as if this might never happen. The process, which had started with fanfare in the 1990s, was crawling along at a snail’s pace for much of the 2000s.

One briefing to the previous government optimistically predicted all settlements could be completed by the year 2060.

That has changed. The completion of all settlements is now an achievable goal. It can happen, with the goodwill of all parties, in the next few years.

Of the big settlements, only really Ngapuhi to go.

The settlements will end not because Maori and the public have tired of them, but because they are finished.

The Ngati Kuri will bring to 42 the number of settlements this Government has signed with iwi. That brings the total to 68.

National’s policy since the 1990s has been to address real grievances by reaching full and final settlements with genuine claimants in a timely fashion. Are there non-genuine claims? Certainly, just as there are vexatious cases in the common law courts. They are easy to spot. We are not interested in claims about the ownership of wind, for example.

Or the airwaves!

We are determined, however, to put right the thoroughly and accurately documented cases of hurt caused by the Crown’s wrongful actions in the past. This is what Treaty settlements are about.

The faster we settle these claims, the sooner there is an end. The sooner we settle, the sooner iwi can see the benefits of their settlements, and the sooner all New Zealanders benefit from moving on from grievance. Justice delayed is justice denied.

And the good news is that the completion of settlements is closer than many people think.

The number of remaining settlements is fewer than 50. Many of the remaining claimants have signed agreements in principle setting out the broad parameters of their settlements, and the Crown is engaged with almost all groups.

We are well on the way to the end. And the sky has not fallen. Despite dire predictions from a small minority at the beginning of this process, the quality of life of most New Zealanders has not been affected in any way. Beaches, national parks, rivers and mountain ranges are still enjoyed by everyone in exactly the same way they were before.

What has happened is that iwi have invested in their people and their regions.

Rather than blowing the proceeds of Treaty settlements, as was again predicted by a vocal few, most have acted wisely and developed the capacity of their people.

This is true. Even Tainui which had some problems a decade ago, is doing very well now.

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South Island settlements now complete!

April 20th, 2013 at 2:37 pm by David Farrar

Chris Finlayson has announced:

Today’s signing between the Crown Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu at Onetahua Marae in Golden Bay marks the final deed of settlement for historical claims in the South Island, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson announced.

“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.” …

“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.

The only major area which has a settlement yet to progess is in Northland, where Iwi find it difficult to agree on who does the negotiation.

Over around 25 years, the settlements will total around $1.5 billion. That is not a huge amount of money considering the Government is spending around $70 billion a year.

I expect the final historical settlement to occur in this decade. That will be a very good thing. Many Iwi such as Ngai Tahi have gone from grievance mode to achievement mode.

The completion of historical settlements will not mean an end to Treaty issues. There will still be arguments over resource consent issues, water rights, airwaves and the like. You can’t pass a law saying people are not allowed to argue!

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Lake Taupo charges

February 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Mike Watson at Dom Post reports:

The Taupo Ironman event is to go ahead after local iwi and organisers agreed to a confidential settlement.

Discussions were held all week after Lake Taupo owners Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board sought to charge a levy for Ironman New Zealand competitors to use the lake for the swim leg of the international triathlon, to be held next weekend.

The trust board was reported to be seeking a $40 levy for each entrant, which would have netted about $58,000.

Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper said he was sickened and saddened by yesterday’s announcement. “If a charge has been set for the use of the lake I would be extremely sad; in fact, I feel sick to hear it. …

Ngati Tuwharetoa, under a revised deed of settlement signed with the Crown in 2007, are considered legal owners of the lake bed and air space above it, and have the right to license commercial users of the lake.

I’m pretty appalled myself.

I can understand the agreement Labour made in 2007 as part of a settlement that commercial users may have to pay a fee. To my mind that was intended for activities which are primarily about making a profit – say a jet ski hire operation.

But sporting events should not be treated in the same way. Charging $40 a person for swimming in the lake just goes against the grain.

If any future agreements include use of lakes, it would be highly desirable for commercial use to exclude sporting events.

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Treaty Settlements

December 6th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A few weeks ago I sent an OIA request to the Office of Treaty Settlements asking for the following information for each historic grievance negotiation and settlement.

While I (like most people) are not overly impressed by modern claims such as the Maori Council for ownership of water, I do believe that it is very important to have fair, full and final settlements over the historic grievances of the 1800s.  Getting these settled will allow most Iwi to focus on the future, rather than past grievances. Ngai Tahi is a great example of that.

I believe it is a win-win getting these settled faster (so long as full and final), rather than slower, as it is good for the Iwi and also good for the country to get them behind us.

There are five main steps in each treaty settlement. They are:

  • Terms of Negotiation agreed. This is not a particularly significant step. It is basically just saying this is who we are negotiating with, and what the issues are
  • Agreement in Principle.  This is arguably the most difficult step. It is the basis of the final settlement, and includes the quantum of reparation (note that is not always the most difficult issue though).
  • Initialling of draft deed of settlement. This is a near automatic step after the agreement in principle, and it is after this step that negotiators go back to Iwi members for ratification
  • Signing of final deed of settlement. This is also a very important step. At this stage, the agreement is final, subject to legislation.
  • Enabling legislation. This is near automatic also, and is just a matter of finding time on the legislative calendar normally.

Now we’ve had five Treaty Negotiations Ministers. I’ve colour coded the table below to show them. They are:

  • Doug Graham 1991 – 1999 in light blue.
  • Margaret Wilson 2000 – 2004 in red
  • Mark Burton 2005 – 2007 in light brown
  • Michael Cullen in 2008 in dark brown
  • Chris Finlayson from 2009 – 2012 in darker blue
As you can see Doug Graham started them off, and saw through the two largest ones of Ngai Tahu and Tainui, along with a few others in 1999.
Margaret Wilson in four years only managed five agreements, and finished off three of Graham’s.
Mark Burton did just two agreements in three years. So for seven years, there were just eight agreements in principle. At that rate we’d still be negotiating these in 2050!
Michael Cullen did a pretty good job of picking the pace up. He did 12 agreements in just one year!
And Chris Finlayson in four years has done 48 agreements or settlements. We won’t make the goal of having all settlements done by the end of 2014, but we’ll be pretty well advanced towards it.
Even those who are not fans of the settlements, should appreciate the benefits of getting them done sooner or quicker. No party in Parliament (from ACT to Mana) claims these should not happen. They will occur – it is just a matter of how fast, and for how much. I’ll do a separate post on the quantums, but they do not vary greatly by Government as there is a lot of care taken with internal relativity.
My thanks to OTS for the data on which I based the table.
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65 Iwi offered a chance to *purchase* shares

October 17th, 2012 at 2:55 pm by David Farrar

Bill English and Chris Finlayson have announced:

Iwi groups yet to complete their Treaty settlements will be offered the opportunity to participate in the Government share offer programme, Finance Minister Bill English and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson say.

“This is a result of our constructive engagement with Iwi leaders and their technical advisers,” the ministers say. “It is another example of how direct engagement with the Crown can produce pragmatic solutions that provide an opportunity for more New Zealanders to participate in the share floats and support Iwi and the Crown to settle historic Treaty claims.” …

As a result of today’s announcement, Iwi yet to settle their claims can choose to receive a percentage of their forecast settlement package “on account” in the form of shares in the Government share offer companies. Mr Finlayson says “on-account” arrangements were not new for Iwi in negotiations with the Crown. The facility has been used by many Iwi in the past.  They must pay the full issue price and any amount drawn down will be deducted from the final settlement.

This is the key point. All shares will be purchased at the same price as other New Zealand buyers.

Effectively what the Government has done is say some Iwi already have negotiated a settlement, while some have not concluded their negotiations – so we’ll allow those not yet concluded to purchase shares in advance of their final settlement.

They are limiting the amount they can purchase to around 10% of their likely settlement, so there is no danger of any share purchase being greater than the actual settlement.

“It does not change the total amount of Treaty settlements. It simply allows Iwi more flexibility about how their settlement money is invested, and we believe it will enhance the share offer programme,” Mr Finlayson says.

A key point also. There will be no extra money for share purchases. It is just basically a credit facility.

Mr English says the actual amount to be advanced as on-account payments for shares will depend on the level of take-up by Iwi. The Treasury estimates that if all Iwi take up their full entitlement, this will amount to $145 million over the entire Government share offer programme.

“Even if all Iwi take up their full entitlement and allocate all of it to the Mighty River Power share offer alone, it would still represent less than 5 per cent of the shares of Mighty River Power,” Mr English says.

I hope many Iwi do purchase shares. As a permanent part of NZ, Iwi owning shares will help keep more of them in NZ ownership.

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The Tuhoe settlement

September 12th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Chris Finlayson announced:

After consultation with iwi members, Te Kotahi a Tuhoe have accepted the Crown’s offer to settle the historical claims of Ngai Tuhoe, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson and Ngāi Tuhoe Chief negotiator Tamati Kruger announced today.

“The Crown and Ngai Tuhoe will now work together to develop a Deed of Settlement by the end of 2012,” Mr Finlayson said. “Once completed, the Deed will be initialled by the negotiators. If the deed is then ratified by iwi members, the settlement will be signed and given effect through legislation.”

That is a huge achievement. Many thought no settlement would ever be reached. The history of grievances so extensive, that a resolution acceptable to the Crown and Tuhoe was so difficult. Some may associate Tuhoe with the clown Tame Iti, but that is unfair. They have just over 30,000 members and there were some appalling things happen in the past such as the Volkner Incident.

I’m no fan of these claims for water and wind and the like. But I do think settling the historical grievances is very important – both for the Iwi involved and New Zealand. The historical settlements have been taking place over the last 20 years and the end is in sight.

Patrick Gower blogs:

The Government’s settlement with Tuhoe can be described in one word: monumental.

Monumental because it overcomes over 150 years of grievances.

Monumental because of the reconciliation of the most fractured relationship between the Crown and Maori.

Monumental in financial redress – it matches the other big settlements even though Tuhoe is not as big population wise.

Monumental because Te Urewera – a National Park – will instead become its own legal entity.

And monumental because of the possibilities that “Mana Motuhake” opens up for Tuhoe to develop as its own nation in the decades to come.

Tuhoe suffered some of the worst breaches by the Crown – the “scorched earth” policy, confiscation, the execution of unarmed prisoners – known at at the time as “extermination”.

But now Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has found a way to settle it.

He has reached agreement with Tuhoe and for that he needs to be applauded – it will be his legacy.

The details of the settlement are here. With Te Urerewa the settlement is:

Who will own Te Urewera?

No one will own Te Urewera. The members of the governance board, both Crown and Ngai Tuhoe nominees, will act in the interests of Te Urewera, like trustees or directors of a company. They will not act on behalf of either the Crown or Ngai Tuhoe.

Will Te Urewera still be a National Park

Te Urewera will have a new legal identity established, and have its governance and management arrangements set out in its own act of Parliament. Key provisions of the National Parks Act will be included in the Te Urewera legislation, including protections for the natural and historical heritage and public access.

The new legislation will ensure that the land is managed to an internationally accepted standard for national parks.

What about public access?

Public access will be guaranteed on the same terms as now.

Will this create a precedent for other national parks?

No. This settlement addresses particular history and circumstances. Te Urewera is unique because the park and Ngai Tuhoe’s core area of interest are almost identical. There are many pockets of Tuhoe land in and around the Park and the two are inseparable and in many cases indistinguishable. Popular roads and hiking trails currently cross private Tuhoe land.

Also some details on the history:

Ngai Tuhoe did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi, and the Crown had no official presence in Te Urewera before the 1860s. Ngai Tuhoe, remained in full control of their customary lands until 1865 when the Crown confiscated much of their most productive land, even though they were not in rebellion and the confiscation was not directed at Ngai Tuhoe. The prejudice created by the confiscation was exacerbated by the Compensation Court process which returned much of the confiscated land to other.

After the confiscation the Crown waged war in Te Urewera until 1871 as it sought to apprehend those responsible for the 1865 death of Crown official, and then capture Te Kooti following his escape from Crown detention. The Crown extensively used “scorched earth” tactics, and was responsible for the execution of unarmed prisoners and the killing of non-combatants. Crown officer at the time described it as “extermination”.

In 1870 Ngai Tuhoe were forced out of Te Urewera and detained at Te Putere where they suffered further hardship. The wars caused Ngai Tuhoe to suffer widespread starvation and extensive loss of life.

In 1871 peace was restored to Te Urewera when the Crown withdrew its forces and agreed to leave Ngai Tuhoe to manage their own affairs.

Between the 1870s and the 1890s Crown pressure and the claims of other iwi led to the introduction into Te Urewera of the Native Land Court, surveying and land purchases despite Te Whitu Tekau opposition. In 1875 the Crown induced Ngāi Tuhoe to sell a large area of land at Waikaremoana by threatening to confiscate their interests if they did not sell.

Off memory the major outstanding settlement now is for the Far North Iwi.

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No partial settlements

May 30th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

A break-away northern iwi has asked the Government for a partial Treaty settlement that would give them the right to make more claims in future.

A new description for a bottomless hole.

The Government rejected the bid for a partial settlement, however.

”Full and final settlements are the cornerstone of the historical settlement process,” Finlayson said.

”Finality allows the Crown and iwi to draw a line under the grievances of the past and focus on developing a positive future together.”

I doubt few would disagree with the Minister that a settlement must be full and final.

I wonder if there is a page anywhere that shows all the settlements that have been agreed to as full and final, and all those which have been filed but not settled?

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Editorials 13 May 2010

May 13th, 2010 at 3:25 pm by David Farrar

The Herald is on the new state sector rules:

One of the important principles of any liberal democracy is the political neutrality of the state service. For our system to function smoothly it is necessary for the public and political parties of all persuasions to have rock-solid confidence that the state service will behave professionally and impartially, no matter who happens to be the government of the day.

This is so basic that it almost goes without saying, and yet the State Services Commission has felt it necessary to take steps to clarify just what public servants’ obligations are under their code of conduct. Much of its 33 pages of guidelines for interpreting the code is good, common sense, but in one respect it seems to have broken new ground.

It now seems public servants need to be careful not just about their own political and pecuniary interests but also those of close family members as well. Not surprisingly, this has caused some raised eyebrows because, in political terms at least, it seems fundamentally unfair to judge a person by someone else’s allegiances.

I agree you should not be judged by a family member’s activities.

To apply such a standard generally would lead to endless and pointless complications, especially in a small country. What, for instance, would it make of a pair of brothers one of whom was the most senior public servant in the land and the other a leader of a political party?

In most cases a public servant will take a common sense approach and tell their boss that they have a family member politically engaged if it is relevant to their job. Not because there is anything wrong with it, but to protect themselves. However there is no need to codify it.

The Press looks at Tuhoe:

Speaking at a National Party conference on Sunday, Prime Minister John Key presented an optimistic scenario of improved race relations and he praised the contribution to his Government of the Maori Party.

Yet within one day Key had outraged the Maori Party and Tuhoe by scuppering a deal to give Te Urewera National Park back to that iwi, as part of its Treaty settlement. The real mystery here is why Key suddenly lost his nerve and intervened at the very last minute after months of negotiations.

This agreement was understood to have been due to go before Cabinet on Monday. It is believed it would have vested ownership of the park in Tuhoe’s ancestors to prevent its sale. …

The Tuhoe settlement would have come after New Zealand signed up to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted the Whanau Ora policy of the Maori Party and agreed to replace the foreshore and seabed law.

And in my minds, that is probably what led to the Tuhoe deal having a limit placed on it publicly. It would have been too far too many “wins” within a very tight timeframe.

The question for Tuhoe now is whether they still try to make a settlement with this Government, or whether they hold off and hope they can get a better deal from a future Labour Government.

The Dom Post focuses on alcohol:

Neither an increase in the tax nor lifting the drinking age would have saved James. The vodka bottle from which he was seen drinking as if its contents were water had come from his grandmother’s drinks cabinet.

However, making alcohol more expensive and reducing its availability to teenagers might just prevent another youngster from making the same mistake.

Denying those old enough to vote, to marry and to go to war the right to buy a cold beer at the end of a hot summer’s day would be a draconian measure. So would putting up the price of everyone’s favourite tipple to make alcopops less attractive. But something has to be done. The evidence is incontrovertible that New Zealand’s unhealthy attitude to alcohol is spreading downwards to those least equipped to deal with it.

Again, I think a drinking age is the best option. It would be a clear message to both adults and youth that you should not be drinking when you are at an age (and brain development) unable to handle it.

Sixteen-year-olds are in no position to assess the dangers of binge-drinking. Fifteen, 14 and 13-year-olds even less so. If the industry cannot find a way to keep alcohol out of the hands of children, society must.

The industry did not supply the bottle of vodka. But I agree alcohol should be kept out of the hands of children. Make it an offence for a young person to possess or consume alcohol except in the company of their parents. And make it an offence for anyone but a parent to supply alcohol to young persons.

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If it is good for the goose

May 3rd, 2010 at 8:12 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Tuhoe leaders say a Crown apology for 19th century injustices would be meaningless unless tribes who fought with colonial forces also say sorry.

The Herald understands Treaty settlement negotiations have explored what shape a formal Crown apology might take, but sources say if an apology is owed then Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu and Te Arawa should also show some contrition.

Of course the Crown can not compel such apologies, and this is a process to settle historical grievances against the Crown.

AUT University pro vice-chancellor Maori Pare Keiha has Rongowhakaata tribal links to Te Kooti and had ancestors who were killed by the religious and guerrilla leader.

But he was wary of the concept of an apology.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that our own people were not all kind and caring – but that’s also the history of humankind.

“I’m always very cautious to revise history because whether you call it civil wars or internecine fighting, none of us were there.

“With hindsight, history often has a habit of distorting the truth. If we carry around [that] hurt, none of us would get out of bed in the morning.”

Now I am very much a supporter of the Crown making historical settlements. I supported these under both National and Labour Governments.

But it strikes me that the arguments from the AUT pro-chancellor about why Iwi should not apologise for acts against other Iwi, can also be used to argue against apologies from the Crown.

If the Crown is going to apologise for decisions taken by Government leaders 150 years ago (which it should), then I don’t see why Iwi should not apologise for the decisions of their leaders, which disadvantaged other Iwi.

Surely settling grievances by way of apology is good for everyone?

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Paddy joins the blogosphere

April 23rd, 2010 at 11:03 am by David Farrar

Paddy Gower (or Patrick as he uses on air) has joined the blogosphere with Gower on Politics, which is on the Three News site.

His first blog is on the Urerewas treaty negotiations with Tuhoe.

He says:

There is no doubt Tuhoe suffered at the hands of the Crown, who unleashed a “scorched earth campaign” against them in the 1800s; their homes were destroyed, their people jailed and killed. They were run off their land and have spent the time since trying to get it back.

Now they are close; very close.

For those who are not aware of the extent of the wrongs done, Te Ara says:

The government waged a bitter campaign in Te Urewera in its search for Te Kooti and his followers. Old enemies of Tūhoe fought on the side of the government; they carried out most of the raids into Te Urewera during a prolonged and destructive search between 1869 and 1872. In a policy aimed at turning the tribe away from Te Kooti, a scorched earth campaign was unleashed against Tūhoe; people were imprisoned and killed, their cultivations and homes destroyed, and stock killed or run off. Through starvation, deprivation and atrocities at the hands of the government’s Māori forces, Tūhoe submitted to the Crown.

Gower continues:

Negotiations are incredibly delicate, involving issues like the ownership and control of the Urewera National Park and Tuhoe’s desire for self-rule. It’s a combustible combination, especially when thrown on the race relations fire that is always burning away in the background of middle New Zealand. Put simply, this is about the weight of history coming up hard against the pressure of day-to-day politics.

And the details:

Mana Motuhake means self-rule or self-government. This is Tuhoe’s dream. It had it once before and never signed the Treaty of Waitangi. Now the Government has quite predictably ruled out Tuhoe becoming a separate nation – or as Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson put it the ridiculous notion of “a Liechtenstein in the Ureweras”.

But Finlayson has also referred to “complexities” in the negotiations. Enter, Mana Motuhake. Mana Motuhake is on the table on the form of some devolution of public functions.

Plus there is more on the quantum of compensation and management of the Ureweras. Gower obviously has good sources and it will be very interesting to see, if a deal is done, the details.

Of all the historic grievances (and anyone who thinks there is no justified grievance should read history books on what happened) this is probably the most complex and difficult. If they manage this one, then the aim of settling them all by 2014 may be achievable after all.

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Finlayson on Auckland Treaty Settlements

February 1st, 2010 at 6:12 am by David Farrar

Chris Finalyson writes in the Herald:

An important election commitment made by the National Party in 2008 was to set a goal of concluding just and durable Treaty settlements by 2014.

The reasons were simple – by healing the grievances of the past, all New Zealanders could move forward.

It was not an option to forget the past and the legitimate claims of iwi, but nor did we want to be stuck there. Settlements ultimately benefit everyone.

Getting past grievance mode is a win-win.

It should be borne in mind when National became the Government in 2008, there were about 60 settlements outstanding. Fully 20 per cent of these are claims in the Auckland region.

Dr Cullen did a good job in making progress on settlements, but alas his Labour predecessors not so much.

Sometimes iwi ask for a say in how a natural resource can be looked after. Again, Ninety Mile Beach – Te Oneroa a Tohe – provides an example.

Not only is it of spiritual significance to Maori but it also was an ancient food-gathering area, for the famed toheroa and for mullet.

Those food stocks have deteriorated over the years and the iwi wants some say on how the beach can be restored. This seems reasonable given the historical connection they have with the beach and so the Government is prepared to involve those iwi in looking at ways in which environmental damage can be repaired for the good of all beach-goers.

Sounds reasonable.

These are exciting times. The opportunity exists for concluding just and durable settlements throughout the Auckland region, something that a few years ago would have been regarded as a pipe dream.

Iwi are keen to get on with the business, the Crown is keen, and everyone agrees that public access can never be compromised.

That is why this Government is moving with such determination to resolve historical Treaty issues. Settling historical Treaty claims by 2014 means just that – settlements have to take place.

Governments cannot just talk about settling – they actually have to do the deals. The Crown and Maori are determined to work together to undo the heavy burdens of the past and move on. It is a time for optimism and positive thinking.

The 2014 target is ambitious, maybe even aspirational. But it would be a massive achievement to have all major historic treaty claims achieve final settlement during this Government’s tenure.

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Ngata Memorial Lecture

July 15th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

If you have a spare quarter hour, you may find this public lecture by Chris Finlayson on Treaty Settlements interesting. The intro etc takes around three minutes, but then gets into the substance.

Hat Tip: Tumeke

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Finlayson on Treaty settlements

April 22nd, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

A must read article by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finalyson in the Herald:

Treaty settlements are not about one group of people being unequal under the law. This country has one law for all – the Treaty guaranteed that. The settlements process is about recognising those instances – regrettably common – where the Crown did not treat all the people of New Zealand equally – where people in New Zealand under the Crown’s protection were stripped of land they owned, or deprived of the right to be treated fairly, despite its undertaking to stop that from happening.

And an example:

Anyone who thinks the Treaty settlement process is about securing privileges for Maori need only familiarise themselves with the recent Waitangi Tribunal report on the history of the Urewera region. It does not make pleasant reading.

It presents the detailed history of the Urewera region for the first time. The tribunal describes the Crown’s confiscation of 24,280ha of Tuhoe land on its first real contact with that tribe.

It details the attacks on the tribe in the Bay of Plenty to apprehend Te Kooti – raids that started as justified military action, but led to the intentional slaughter of civilians and prisoners, and were described by one senior military officer at the time as “extermination”.

Tame Iti may be an attention seeking idiot, but Tuhoe do have some legitimate grievances.

Within days of signing the Treaty in 1840, the Crown bought 1214ha of downtown Auckland for 281.

Within six months it resold just 36ha of that for 24,500. It is pointless to feel guilt about this. For one thing, none of us alive today was responsible for what happened then. However, those who hold the levers of power in the Crown must take action to redress these wrongs, because it was the Crown that caused these grievances.

So purchase price was 23c (converting to dollars) a hectare and sale price six months later was $681 a hectare.

We cannot give back all that was taken, and to their credit no claimants have demanded that the Crown do so. The cost of settlements is around 5 per cent of the value of what iwi lost. According to some estimates, it is much less.

There is no way of knowing what the real figure is, and it does not matter. The Treaty settlement process is as much about recognition and healing as it is about recompense.

Sir Douglas Graham often made the same point.

It’s why other parts of settlements – like restoring traditional names, or co-management of culturally significant land with the Government – may not have any monetary value. They are important to iwi and the way they relate to the country.

Yep.

Treaty settlements are good for the whole country. There has been much talk of economic stimulus recently. Treaty settlements help unlock the economic development potential which exists in the regions and in the Maori community.

This is true, and Ngai Tahu are good examples of this. However it is worth remembering what Don Brash said – the gains for Maori from lifting educational and economic achievement are a magnitude higher than any gain from Treaty settlements. The settlements are at best a catalyst.

Settlements address our past and invest in a common future. The wrongs of history are real. Failure to address genuine grievance creates a new grievance.

But by providing an end point for the injustices and reaching durable and just settlements, we can move forward as a country – together.

I’m looking forward to most of the outstandinghistorical  claims being settled in the next six years.

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Natonal’s Maori and Treaty Policy

September 29th, 2008 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

National also released yesterday its policies on Maori Affairs and Treaty Negotiations.

  • Include Kohanga Reo in the 20 hours early childhood education subsidy funding regime.
  • Expand the Te Kotahitanga professional development program.
  • Provide delegated funding to enable Māori health providers to deliver a wider range of services closer to home.
  • Expand Papakainga housing. This will involve working with Māori collectives and councils to remove planning restrictions on the development of housing on communal land and multiply-owned Māori land.
  • Ensure Māori receive their aquaculture settlement entitlement, and reform the Resource Management Act to facilitate growth and development in the aquaculture industry.
  • Move the Office of Treaty Settlements from the Ministry of Justice to another central agency such
    as the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
  • Appoint independent settlement facilitators to chair negotiations, keep the process moving forward, and ensure both parties act in good faith.
  • Empower the independent settlement facilitators to advise claimant groups on pre-negotiation and mandate issues so they can move forward to settlement negotiations more quickly.
  • Provide sufficient support to allow the Waitangi Tribunal to sit full-time, including reviewing the remuneration and support offered to members.

There seems to be a lot there that the Maori Party would support.

I especially like the commitment to speeding up the Treaty settlements by shifting the office to DPMC, having independent facilitators and greater resourcing for the Waitangi Tribunal. Now every historic claim has been filed, it is simply a matter of how long it will take to settle them.

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Historical treaty claims due in by midnight

September 1st, 2008 at 8:00 am by David Farrar

The deadline for filing historical (prior to 1992) Treaty of Waitangi claims is at midnight tonight.

Claimants have had over 20 years to file their claims, so the deadline is far from hasty as the Maori Party claim. Indeed as Chris Finlayson says, there needs to be an end to litigation at some stage.

The Waitangi Tribunal has been publicising the deadline and has generated several hundred claims. I honestly doubt a single genuine claim has not managed to be filed.

The good thing about today, is that from tomorrow on the number of unresolved historical grievance claims can only start reducing. God knows how long it will take to consider and hopefully resolve them all, but we will have a known number of claims for the Tribunal and Government to work through.

Dr Cullen has done a sterling job in advancing Treaty settlements since he took over from Mark Burton. If National win the election, they should aim to match Dr Cullen’s pace. Luckily they have considerable resources to call on:

  • Chris Finlayson, who speny many years as Ngai Tahu’s lawyer and is very knowledgable in this area
  • Tim Groser, one of NZ’s top negotiators (and the settlements are very much a negotiation)
  • Georgina te Heuheu, a former member of the Waitangi Tribunal

Of course premature to speculate on what portfolios, MPs may get, but just wanting to show that the work of resolving historical grievances should continue, and settling such grievances in fair, full and final settlements is a win-win.

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Silliness on history of NZ Wars

June 27th, 2008 at 8:24 pm by David Farrar

The only way Labour can win is a campaign of denigration against John Key, so they had a go with all guns blazing yesterday over his comments that NZ was formed peacefully.

The NZ Herald compares his comments to Michael Cullen’s and indeed Anand Satyanand and all have said much the same thing. It is indeed one of the things we should be proudest of is that NZ was formed by peaceful treaty not violent conquest.

Of course there were breaches and conflicts later on. NZ behaviour in the 1800s especially was not ideal and this is one of the reasons why five generations on we are trying to do fair settlements of those grievances.

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Treaty Settlements Ministers

June 16th, 2008 at 10:31 am by David Farrar

Grant Robertson comments on the suggestion by Te Pumautanga o Te Arawa that all future Finance Ministers should also be Treaty Negotiation Ministers also.

Dr Cullen has made admirable progress, and should be congratulated for it. I suspect his job was made easier by the fact that he got to replace Mark Burton who showed the same skills at Treaty Negotiations as he did with Electoral Finance.

I would not tie the job into the Finance Minister job (even though Bill English would do a fine job) but I agree with Grant you do want Ministers who are motivated to do the job and have some mana. National has at least three people who could contribute very well to the portfolio.

Chris Finlayson is the current spokesperson and has worked in the Treaty area professionally before he entered Parliament, and has good relations with many prominent Iwi leaders. Georgina te Heuheu is a former member of the Waitangi Tribunal, and was NZ’s first female Maori lawyer. The other person whom I would advocate should be included (I think the portfolio is important enough one should have one or maybe two associate Ministers) is Tim Groser. Tim is a highly experienced negotiator in the trade field, and at the end of the day a large component of Treaty settlements is a commercial negotiation.

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