Tuhoe wants to battle welfare dependency

November 21st, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Welfare, says Tuhoe leader Tamati Kruger, is a “disease” that has sapped the motivation of his people.

“Being a beneficiary is a type of servitude,” he says. “It doesn’t nurture self-realisation or honour or self-respect. It destroys all of that, and the disease spreads from the individual to the family to the neighbourhood to the community.”

Kruger for Parliament I say.

Welfare is necessary for those who need temporary assistance. But unless one has a severe disability, it should not be a long-term source of income.

Another story reports on an initiative:

The Tuhoe iwi is negotiating to take over social services for its people in an ambitious bid to end welfare “dependency”.

The tribe wants to take over welfare payments, schools, healthcare and housing within its Urewera tribal area from Whakatane south to Lake Waikaremoana.

Tuhoe chief executive Kirsti Luke said a majority of Tuhoe people in that area were on benefits, and tribal leader Tamati Kruger said the iwi aimed to change that.

“We are declaring war on dependency,” Mr Kruger said. “Our motivation is that if we want to be a vibrant people, to be a productive people who live up to their beliefs and to their faith as to what life is all about, and the honour that has to be part of humanity, then this is clearly what we have to overcome – because being a beneficiary is a type of servitude.”

Mr Kruger said Tuhoe had put a proposition to the Government to make better use of the $55 million a year taxpayers spend on welfare benefits for 4934 Maori beneficiaries around the Tuhoe tribal area. At the last Census, the tribe had 35,000 members.

“We believe that we can design a system where there is a transition from benefits to wages and salaries,” he said.

In principle this is a great idea.

But there are constitutional problems. Just because someone is a member of Tuhoe doesn’t mean their welfare payments can be paid through Tuhoe without their consent. There would need to be some sort of opt in process.

But if there is a way they can make this happen, it is worth doing. Success is not guaranteed, but Tuhoe should be in a better position than WINZ to work with its own members to reduce welfare dependency.

The iwi has set up its own doctors’ clinic in Taneatua, without state funding. More than 500 of its 884 enrolled patients were not previously enrolled at any clinic in the Bay of Plenty.

Tuhoe is now negotiating with the Education Ministry to share control of the 15 schools in its area and use them as hubs to develop health services, skills training and jobs.

Again, good to see positive leadership.

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.

Trotter on Tuhoe

August 7th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Chris Trotter writes:

An armed band of about 150 terrorists enters an isolated village in a country torn by civil war.

The men defending the village, accepting the terrorist leader’s assurances that they will not be harmed, surrender their weapons.

One man refuses, telling the terrorist leader: “If I hand over my gun, you will kill me.”

Shots are exchanged, the man falls.

The terrorists then start slaughtering the defenceless villagers – mostly women and children. Forty are killed – many hacked to death with bayonets and axes.

Meanwhile, outside the village, local farming families are also being attacked and killed.

About a dozen men, women and children are murdered: some bayoneted; some shot in the back as they fled. Their homesteads are looted and set alight.

Having completed their grisly raid, the terrorists take refuge in the nearby mountains.

What would be your best guess as to what happens next?

If you said a small army made up of professional soldiers and local volunteers headed into the mountains in pursuit of the terrorists, you would, of course, be correct.

And if the commanders of that small army discovered that the local inhabitants of the mountainous region into which the terrorists had fled were providing them with food, shelter, ammunition and new recruits?

What would your best guess be as to their next move? If you said they’d probably “unleash hell” on the local inhabitants, then, once again, you’d be quite right.

Now, when and where did this terrorist raid take place? Last week in the mountainous border region separating Afghanistan from Pakistan? Not even close.

The incidents I’ve just described took place in and around what is now Te Urewera National Park in April, 1869.

The “terrorists” were Te Kooti’s “Hauhaus”. The village was Mohaka. The local tribe which gave Te Kooti and his men shelter was Tuhoe.

THE Waitangi Tribunal has so far released more than a thousand pages of historical research into the Tuhoe people’s claim to Te Urewera.

But you’ll not find anything on those thousand pages remotely resembling the Mohaka massacre as I have described it.

There is a peculiar reticence on the part of the tribunal’s historians to acknowledge that the war which spilled over into the Tuhoe people’s territory in the 1860s and 70s was a civil war.

Chris, as I understand it, is not saying Tuhoe did not suffer grievous wrongs, and is not saying there should not be a settlement as compensation.

His issue is that the professional historians are not providing the full historical context for what happened.

Some light on Tuhoe

May 17th, 2010 at 7:40 am by David Farrar

There has effectively been two aspects of the Government’s decision to not hand over the Urewera National Park to Tuhoe as part of the treaty settlements – the actual decision, and the way it was made public at a press conference before negotiations were concluded.

I doubt many people have an issue with the actual decision. No other treaty settlement has had a national park as part of it – unless it is gifted back. According to reports the Government has offered co-management of the park, which is not insignificant.

But what had puzzled me was why the decision was made public by the Government, rather than just communicated privately to Tuhoe. This is what a lot of media had focused on – the fact the decision was made public.

As it happened on Saturday night, I was at a social function with the PM. Normally it is not my habit to use these opportunities to ask the PM questions, but this one had puzzled me, so I put aside my normal rule and did ask him why he made the decision over the Urewera National Park public.

His answer was simple – because Tuhoe asked him to!

He communicated the decision by phone to the Tuhoe Chief Negotiator on Monday morning. The Chief Negotiator said that as Iwi members were planning to gather on Friday in anticipation of an agreement, they needed to be told and asked the Prime Minister to make the Government’s decision public. The Prime Minister said he could announce it at the post Cabinet press conference that afternoon, and that was deemed satisfactory.

And so he did.

So it was not part of any public slap down – something which I never thought was the PM’s style – hence why I asked the question.

My hope is that a settlement can still be reached. The wrongs done to Tuhoe were massive. They will be disappointed with the Government’s decision, but listening to Phil Goff on Q+A made it pretty clear they have little chance of getting a different decision from a different Government in the future.

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.

Editorials 11 May 2010

May 11th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald looks at the Tuhoe negotiations:

At the best of times, reaching a comprehensive settlement over Waitangi claims is a delicate and tricky matter. But for a number of reasons the Tuhoe negotiations are proving especially difficult, and not just because some people in the National Government are becoming increasingly worried that their party is earning a reputation among voters for conceding too much to the Maori Party. …

But what makes the Tuhoe claim especially difficult is that the tribe is seeking a major concession that departs radically from precedents set in other Waitangi settlements. After two years of negotiations, Tuhoe remains adamant that ownership of Te Urewera National Park is at the top of its agenda.

If the Government were to concede, the resulting settlement would go far beyond any similar previous arrangements in which iwi have obtained significant areas of Department of Conservation land only to return them immediately as part of the deal. For instance, Ngai Tahu gave Aoraki/Mt Cook back to the nation after its settlement.

At a practical level, the Tuhoe claim seems to envisage something similar inasmuch as it promises that public access to some of the country’s most beautiful land would not be compromised in any way. But, importantly, it goes much further in aiming to take over the ownership and financial management of the land from the department after a 10-year transition period.

Given the justice of its claim, there is no question that Tuhoe is in line for major concessions and a payment that will be close to the Tainui and Ngai Tahu settlements of $170 million each. All the most recent historical research suggests the Tuhoe people were treated exceptionally harshly and that they are owed a full apology and generous compensation.

Tuhoe was always going to be the most challenging negotiation.

The Dom Post says Jim Anderton must choose between Mayor and MP:

Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton is a man untrammelled by self-doubt.

In a political career that stretches back 45 years to his days on Manukau City Council, he has been a member of four political parties and fallen out with virtually every high-profile figure he has worked with. Never does it appear to have occurred to him that he could be in the wrong.

So true.

Hence it comes as no surprise that Mr Anderton believes he can perform the roles of MP for Wigram and Christchurch mayor at the same time. He is mistaken.

They are both fulltime positions. One is based in Christchurch; the other is split between Christchurch and Wellington. Both carry fulltime salaries.

Anderton will earn a total of just over $400,000 (including super and allowance) or over $7,500 a week doing both jobs.

Christchurch ratepayers are paying good money to be represented by a mayor who devotes his energies to advancing the city’s interests. He cannot perform that role if he is spending several days a week in Wellington.

Taxpayers are paying good money to Mr Anderton to represent the interests of his electorate in Parliament. He cannot perform that role from the mayoral chambers.

One could clone Saint Jim.

However, it is not Parliament’s role to serve as a safety net for politicians who would like new jobs but are not sure whether they are going to get them.

If Mr Anderton wins the Christchurch mayoralty in the October local body elections, he should resign from Parliament. In fact, he should give thought to resigning ahead of those elections, or at least take unpaid leave for the duration of the campaign, as many other candidates for public office are obliged to do.

Just as he will not be able to represent Wigram’s interests in Parliament if he becomes mayor, so he will not be able to do so on the campaign trail.

Saint Jim has a private members bill that requires an MP to resign from Parliament if they contest a by-election. Yet he thinks he should be able to contest a Mayoral election as an MP.

The Press looks at the UK:

For the Lib Dems, electoral reform is at the top of their wishlist in any deal, whether it be a formal coalition or the sort of support arrangements common in New Zealand, with either Cameron’s party or Labour’s Gordon Brown.

This stance is not surprising given last week’s disproportionate election result. While the Lib Dems got 23 per cent of the votes cast, which was a disappointment following polls showing them at abound 30 per cent at one point, they won about 200 fewer seats than Labour, which gained 29 per cent of the vote. At the other end of the scale, the Tories gained 36 per cent of the vote, but won about 47 per cent of the seats.

These sorts of outcomes are as palpably unfair and undemocratic as was the unreformed voting system in New Zealand, and Nick Clegg should hold firm to his party’s proportional representation policy as he talks to Cameron and Brown.

And the ODT:

The election result has presented Mr Clegg with choices: going into government with the old Conservative foe, risking alienating many in his own party ranks; or throwing in his lot with Mr Brown and a governing coalition otherwise comprising a number of smaller independents, the chief danger of this being the perception of Labour, a distant second in the poll, as tarnished.

This could work against any subsequent referendum on electoral reform, thus defeating the chief purpose of such an alliance.

The markets, already spooked by Greece, have shown their impatience.

Mr Clegg’s role as “king-maker” – one he might have formerly anticipated with some eagerness – has been served up by the voting public along with a generously sized poisoned chalice.

We await the outcome with fascination.

Self-rule for Tuhoe?

August 9th, 2008 at 9:37 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports on an aspect of the terms of negotiation between the Crown and Tuhoe, which is to provide clarity regarding their constitutional relationship.

Calls from Maori activist Tame Iti for self-government arrangements for the Tuhoe tribe similar to those Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have in the UK have been backed by a leader likely to negotiate the tribe’s Treaty settlement. …

“It’s one of the things which has been consistent since the 1870s: Tuhoe’s regard for their nationhood and their independence.”

However, before formal negotiations proper began the iwi had to decide what specific arrangements of self-government it would like to see, Mr Kruger said.

He said nations had existed within nation-states for hundreds of years and while other iwi – for example, Te Atiawa or Ngati Toa in Wellington – might struggle to make a compelling argument for self-government because of the large number of non-Maori in their areas, Tuhoe’s geographical isolation changed things.

The United Kingdom is certainly an example of having countries within a country.  But I am unsure one can draw the analogy too far. As noted in the article, the presence of non-Maori in an area is a huge issue.

You see self rule in Scotland and Wales etc is not based on bloodlines, or ethnicity, or nationality – but simply location. An englishman living in Edinburgh has just as many rights to vote in Scottish elections, as a native Scots.

There are around 30,000 Tuhoe, and currently it seems only around 6,000 live in their traditional lands. I am unsure how many non-Tuhoe live there, but I could not imagine a situation where non-Tuhoe living there would be allowed to become second class citizens with lesser rights of representation.

It is also worth noting other differences between Scotland and Tuhoe:

  1. Length of self-rule – Scotland existed as a country for around 1200 years before 1707. it is unknown how long Tuhoe was a distinct tribe in NZ, but far far less
  2. Population – Scotland has 5 million residents and only around 6,000 Tuhoe live in their traditional lands
  3. Legal System – Scotland, despite being part of the UK, continued to have its own legal system

I’m not oppossed to devolution of powers in cases that are appropriate. But in the UK the devolution has been to all citizens in an area, not just those of a particular ethnicity.

Roughan on Tibet

March 30th, 2008 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

John Roughan in the Weekend Herald looked more closely at Tibet. He notes:

It has been strategically important to China for centuries. The economy is dirt poor, the people tribal and deeply loyal to a Buddhist theocracy which was actually installed from Beijing by the Mongol empire 800 years ago.

Thereafter the Dalai Lamas held absolute power except for periods when Tibet was ruled by monk regents or by agents sent by the Chinese government.

Early last century, after the fall of China’s last imperial dynasty, Tibet enjoyed de facto independence for 37 years. In 1950, with the advent of communism, it was incorporated in the Chinese state.

So far, so good. But then Roughan makes what I think is an unfortunate comparison:

It is curious that we unquestioningly support secession movements everywhere but at home. Independence seekers have only to raise their flag in Kosovo, Kurdistan, Chechnya, Darfur, Taiwan or Timor, and our sympathies are with them. Part of this reflects our dislike of the state they would escape.

We are not quite as sympathetic to rebels in Kashmir, Quebec or Catalonia. But even there we find it hard to understand the determination of nations to keep a disaffected region.

Catalonia is a province of Spain.  Spain is a democracy, and doesn’t shoot protesters. And Catalonia has significant autonomy from Spain. Plus the Catalonian independence party got only 14% of the vote in the last elections. And polls show only 32% of Catalonians favour independence
Likewise Quebec is a province of a democratic Canada. Canada doesn’t oppress Quebec, which has very significant autonomy. And the Quebec independence parties have not won a vote on secession. If they do, then they will

Kashmir is basically a territorial dispute with Pakistan, than a real secessionist movement.  It can’t be solved by secession – it needs more than one country to agree. Interestingly the only poll done in Kashmir shows 61% wanting to stay Indian citizens.

Now when was the last time there was a vote or even a poll in Tibet? Tibet is ruled by a repressive regime, that gives no opportunity at all for self determination. That is why so many support them – Roughan to be fair does refer the dislike of the state they seek to escape as a factor.

Roughan then asks how we would feel about a Tuhoe nation in the Ureweras:

We might never have been to the Ureweras, have no plans ever to go and not much idea of what the nation might lose, but we would fight for its integrity. Why then is it so hard to credit China’s attitude to Tibet, Sudan’s to Darfur or, closer to home, Indonesia’s to East Timor?

Again, China, Sudan and Indonesia (to a lesser degree) are repressive undemocratic regimes that enslave or kill in their conquered territories.

As for Tuhoe, I’ve never seen any evidence that a majority or even a significant minority of Tuhoe want independence. Tame Iti is not all of Tuhoe.

I’d also point out that sensitivities over borders are somewhat different in small islands, compared to large continents. In Europe and Asia most countries already have multiple neighbours. In NZ we have none – we have no land borders to worry about. So a new country would be a massive change for us.

But what if the Chatham Islands wanted independence? Would any of us give a damn? I doubt it.