Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Governance and funding of Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Waitangi National Trust Board Chair Jeremy Williams has reaffirmed his Board's position on the governance and funding of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

Mr Williams, says that he is "utterly amazed" by comments from Shane Jones MP about the standard of governance of the Waitangi National Trust Board.

The Board and its management have, over recent years, received a number of accolades. "The achievement of the highest, government-backed and independently assessed Qualmark award evidences the standards achieved at the Treaty Grounds, and the winning of multiple business awards also underlines the integrity of the Board's governance and management practices.

"In my time as Deputy Chair and now Chair I have had only one consistent problem with governance and that has been the non-appearance of the three ex-officio ministerial members, namely the Prime Minister, the Minister of Conservation and the Minister of Maori Affairs. It is interesting that the Government is now taking such an active role in commenting on Board performance when the opportunity has existed for them to contribute around the Board table"

"Over the last few years, as we have continued with wide consultation on plans to develop the estate, we have held discussions with both government and private sector organisations. When it has come to sponsorships or financial partnerships, constructive outcomes have been less forthcoming from government discussions than from those with the private sector.

"It has been clear that, currently, any government money would mean compromising the historical independence of the estate. We intend to keep this national treasure well clear of the possibility of being misused for political purposes.

Board members are surprised by criticism from Government about its $12 entrance fee charge. A fee has been charged since 1937 and this was because Lord Bledisloe was adamant that his gift would be free of political influence. The Government is aware that the Board is working toward free entry for New Zealanders as soon as it is feasible.

Mr Williams says any idea that the Board could be absorbed into the Ministry of Culture and Heritage or one of its associated entities would also be "just one more suggestion in a long line of many".

"I don't believe this would be legally feasible or in the best interests of New Zealanders," he said. "The Trust remains true to the Bledisloes' dream of an estate to be held in a trust for all New Zealanders as a place for recreation, education and cultural events, free from political influence, for all time. The Board celebrates its 75th birthday this year and we are looking forward to administering the estate for the next 75 years and beyond.

"Government is entitled to ex officio members on the Board, but legally, we are not subject to Government control or direction."

Mr Williams said the Board had discussed the Government's idea that its members should become patrons or guardians of the estate, but had decided to remain an independent Board dedicated to carrying out Lord and Lady Bledisloe's vision.

"We strongly believe Waitangi is a place that must always strive to sit apart from the vagaries, fortunes and misfortunes of politics. It would be extremely damaging to have successive governments walk across such a revered landscape leaving different footprints each time," he said.

Mr Williams said the Board was legally appointed and it had a Duty of Trust. "We are in control and we will continue to administer this estate free of political intervention, as the Bledisloes clearly intended."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care.

Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More


Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>


Gong Time: New Year's Honours List

Jacinda Ardern today congratulated the 179 New Zealanders named on the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

“Although this list was compiled and completed by the last government, it is a pleasure to welcome in the New Year by recognising exceptional New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“As an Aunty, I love reading books to my nieces, so it’s lovely to congratulate Joy Cowley, who is made a member of the Order of New Zealand today....More
Full list

Roads: National launches bid to save highway projects

The National Party has launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams…More>>


Medical Cannabis: Bill Introduced to “ease suffering”

Health Minister Dr David Clark says making medicinal cannabis more readily available will help relieve the suffering of people who are dying in pain More>>


Campbell: On The Quest For Zero Net Carbon Emissions
Some would querulously ask, zero net carbon emissions by 2050 – while others would say, why not?


CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need... More>>





Featured InfoPages