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Pita Sharples - Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Bill

Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Bill

Dr Pita Sharples; Co-leader Maori Party

Thursday 4 May 2006

E nga hapu, e nga iwi, nga pu manawa e waru o Te Arawa, Te Arawa whanui, tena koutou tena tatau katoa.

E hika ma tena koutou e te hunga kua haere ake, te hunga kua uhia i te kakahu putiotio o te kuia nei a mate moe mai takoto mai ra e i te moenga o makariri Kei te tangi i te ngau o mamae e haehae nei i a tangata mo ratau kua haere ki tua.

Na kua mihia ratau, kua tangihia ratau, kua korerohia, kua poroporoakitia, kua heke te hupe me te roimata, a i runga i era me kii, kua ea te wahanga ki a ratau.

Ratau ki a ratau a ko tatau kei muri e takatu nei. Na reira ratau ki a ratau a ko tatau kei muri e takatu nei.

The Maori Party stands today with a heavy heart.

We honour the presence of Te Arawa here today and we think of those who are with you but not physically present.

We think of those who have passed on, who were negotiating with the Crown over the future of the lakes some eighty years ago. We remember your tupuna who secured Lake Okataina and the surrounding Ngati Tarawhai lands as a scenic reserve in 1921.

Let the record never erase from memory also those who passionately objected to the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement negotiation of 1922.

Te Arawa, you have been here before.

And you stood strong to denounce the fiscal envelope of those days.

Our hearts go to all your kuia and koroua who in telling their stories, unearthed a lifetime of sorrow; the heart-wrenching stories which were gifted to the record of time.

You have worked painstakingly for your people, agonizing over hours of hearings and volumes of words for the benefit of the tribe.

We know with absolute certainty that you who have traveled down to be here today, want to settle as a mark of respect for so many of your people who have passed on without seeing this matter dealt with.

Your Member of Parliament, Te Ururoa Flavell, is representing this Parliament today at a gathering in Kenya; his heart aching for his people, for your stories, for your mamae. His presence is also very much here today, and he will look forward to contributing to the debate at subsequent readings.

He shared with us the decades of grief for the degradation and destruction of your taonga.

Minister Burton today acknowledged

o the savage depletion of the fishlife upon which Te Arawa relied on;

o the senseless acts of prosecution of Te Arawa for fishing in their own moana;

o the deliberate and contrived delays to provide survey plans and public maps to enable you to be prepared for the Native Land Court;

o the devastation of your wetlands, unable to access your waterways - reduced to one tap in your villages.

But this putea won’t pay for that.

Te Arawa, we know of your love and longing for the lands, for the lakes, for the lives of your tupuna; the offence against Te Arawa’s tino rangatiratanga over the lakes and the usage of the resources of the lakes.

In 1996 tangata whenua rejected unanimously the Crown’s offer of a one billion dollar fiscal envelope to settle all of our claims.

That take it or leave it package as full and final settlement for all historical grievances; at all marae.

But as successive Governments came and went, the policy remained in place.

The settlements process started with a bang - but not much buck to show for it. $170 million respectively for Tainui; for Ngai Tahu and for Sealords Fisheries.

That $170m became the standard for everyone else. It was a random figure, with no rationale other than affordability.

This House needs to recall that not one person has ever even suggested these settlements are anywhere near what a true and accurate response should have been.

Indeed, Professor Margaret Mutu has suggested with Tainui the people had to accept .01% of the real value of the claim (estimated at $1192 billion) and for Ngai Tahu, 0.4% of the real value.

More recently redress amounts have been established, pitting iwi against iwi, hapu against hapu.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Te Arawa, with the serious divisions that have occurred between and amongst the whanau, hapu and iwi throughout the confederation.

The process is a recipe for division. Divide and rule and conquer. We have heard how some tribes are not mentioned in some of the three settlements, yet mentioned in others.

We are aware also of the urgent inquiry currently before Judge Wickliffe on behalf of Ngati Whaoa - and specifically for three of the thirteen lakes enshrined in this legislation; and the 14th lake omitted from this Bill. How can the Government go to settlement when there are still outstanding issues of lakes in front of the tribunal?

Ngati Whaoa have told us that they were never represented by the Te Arawa Trust Board - in the legislation in 1922 or 1955.

By the process, the people of Te Arawa are being forced to face three different settlements with three different Governance and management bodies with three different sets of costs. The Fisheries Settlement, the Kaihautu Agreement in Principle and the Lakes Settlement Deed, the object of this Bill today, are all on offer this year.

And with each new negotiation the amount reduces. Leaving a mere $2.7m in cash for financial redress; and $7.3m for annuity redress.

Is that all that the glittering jewel in the nation’s wealth is worth?

The Bill itself acknowledges “it is not possible to compensate Te Arawa fully for the extent of loss” .

Fuerthermore, this Bill attempts to take away the mana of Te Arawa by establishing a Governance Group for the Lake - over-weighted by Environment Bay of Plenty and the Rotorua District Council and just two places reserved for mana whenua, Te Arawa.

Mana, or control over the lakes is thereby again subject to the whims of Government constructs.

The matter of the water has not been addressed.

Nor is there sufficient recognition of the pollution and degradation of your taonga. We understand the estimated amount required to remedy the contamination inflicted in your moana by successive local authority and government regimes totals over $200 million. Where is the resource provided for to clean up these lakes. Will Budget 2006 include the appropriation to restore your lakes to their pristine condition? We think not.

Not with a Government that never even had the word Maori in last year’s Budget.

It is for all these reasons and more that the Maori Party will not vote on this Bill of the Government. There is not enough compensation, it is a pittance; and the process has divided Te Arawa.

It is a sham.

We will not vote against the Te Arawa people today.

We will not vote on this Bill.

We say to Te Arawa - we respect your right to make your decisions, the rangatiratanga of those gathered here today.

But it is our sober task that we must never resile from the responsibility to bring to account the wrongful confiscation and theft of tangata whenua territories; the crimes against our people. We will not forget.

We of the Maori Party appeal to members of this House, members, all of whom would want justice for themselves and for theirs, to consider whether this settlement is a just settlement, whether your ancestors or your descendants would see that justice is being played out today.

We in the Maori Party in our first opportunity to speak on Treaty Settlements in this House do not see this or any of the previous treaty settlements as indications of the application of Justice.

Na reira Te Arawa, tena koutou, tena koutou i puku kaha te kokiri i to koutou tono ki a whanako, ara ki te Karauna kia hoki tika mai te mana me ona rawa ki a koutou.

Tena koutou i hoe nei i to kotou waka i runga i nga roimata o te aroha, mai i te wa kainga, tae noa mai ki te ana o nga raiona.

Ko ta matau tu - he tu kia werohia te Kawana kia whakatikatika ai nga kereme katoa.

Ko ta matau e pouri nei, ko ta matau mohio i te mutunga kei a whanako te korero whakamutunga, koia kei te kii, ko enei, ko ena ranei nga taonga ka whakahokia, a me nga rawa hoki ka whangaihia atu ki a koutou.

Na reira Te Arawa, kei te tangi, kei te tangi matau, matau nga tonotono a te iwi, matau nga mema a te Pati Maori, matau nga uri o Kahungunu, o Ngapuhi, o Whanganui o Te Arawa.

Na reira, huri noa i te whare, tena tatau.


ENDS

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