Solomon on Iwi economy

The Dominion Post reports on a speech by Mark Solomon to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce where he signals Iwi wish to be partners for the Crown in Public/Private Partenrships (PPPs) and even possibly minority investors in SOEs.

I was at the breakfast address, and thought it was an excellent speech that had several aspects worth considering. From his speech:

It’s a simple fact, but a vitally important one when thinking about Iwi Maori – WE ARE HERE FOREVER!

We are as much part of the landscape as the mountains and the lakes – our people will always be here, our focus will always be here and our money will remain here.

It seems like an obvious statement, but if you contemplate it for a minute, extrapolate an investment out over generation, after generation, after generation, after generation, after generation… you begin to see the power of the statement and get an insight into the vision of Maori investment.

I had not considered this before, but Solomon is right about the long-term future. Most companies are here for a limited duration and/or get sold, merged etc. Iwi as local investors will be here permanently, and as most of their investment will be in local companies and institutions they will over time be very major economic forces.

According the Te Puni Kokiri – the Ministry of Maori Development – the total commercial assets owned in 2005/2006 by Maori individuals, whanau, hapu and Iwi stood at $16.5billion – a massive increase of $7.5 billion from 2001.

This represented 1.5% of the reported value of the total New Zealand business sector.

And that percentage will grow over time.

The Ngai Tahu Settlement was a platform for the creation of our future, on our own terms.

The quantum we were offered was not fair or just. Treasury acknowledged our land assets alone in 1998 value would have ranged from $12b to $15b.

But, we voted to accept just $170m – cut our losses, move forward and build a future for our people. …

Ngai Tahu Holdings Limited, our commercial entity, is today worth $606m, with equity of $473m and more than 500 employees through our companies.

Growth from $170 millon to $473 million in a decade is a result many would like.

Iwi Maori are diversifying their investments, but for Ngāi Tahu as an intergenerational investor we take a deliberate and conservative approach – for us, like many Iwi, the next wave will be infrastructure.

Iwi investment in infrastructure will be good for Iwi wanting a more conservative investment.

And we have big plans.

We see further public/private/Iwi partnerships.

Perhaps on roads, airports and other strategic infrastructure. It is not impossible to imagine Iwi as cornerstone shareholders in State-Owned Enterprises – making them State-Iwi Owned Enterprises.

While any investment has to stand up on commercial grounds, the political aspect is intriguing, Labour could find it very hard to demonise PPPs and minority investment in SOEs, where the investors are Iwi, not multinational companies.

It just makes sense, if you think about it. Iwi will have the resources, we want our profits to stay in New Zealand – to reinvest for our people, for New Zealand Inc.

We are the perfect partner for Government. And they are well aware of our thoughts on this matter.

This could be a very interesting area to watch.

Comments (54)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment