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Turia: Christchurch Council (Lancaster Park) Bill

Christchurch City Council (Lancaster Park) Land Vesting Bill

Wednesday 27 August 2008; 9.20pm

Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

It is a very rare thing to be able to come to this House, and to congratulate the sponsor of the Bill, for the diligent way in which consultation has taken place with affected parties, tena koe Tim.

If I could be so bold, I would say this Bill provides a model for others to follow - whereby an issue has arisen from the people, has been taken back to the people, and will now be signed off in Parliament as required by all those with an interest in Lancaster Park.

We, in the Maori Party, were particularly pleased that Ngai Tahu were properly included and consulted through all aspects of the drafting of the Bill.

The Christchurch City Council approached Ngai Tahu right from the onset, consultation was open and honest, and most significantly, as a result of that consultation, Ngai Tahu has checked off every stage of the drafting of the Bill.

And so, it is with great pleasure that I can come to this debate, and confirm that through our consultation as the independent voice of Maori in this Parliament, we can state that the intent and meaning of the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act was followed and upheld and the provisions provided within the Act were sufficient.

In particular, the right of first refusal provision to purchase land at Lancaster Park is not extinguished.

Under the terms of the Settlement Act, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu has the right of first refusal to purchase the land at Lancaster Park from the Crown.

Ngai Tahu has willingly agreed, in the interests of the Christchurch community, to consent to the Bill and the deferral therefore, of its rights under the 1998 Act.

The Select Committee did make one comment, which is worthy of note, that the passage of this Bill, is subject to confirmation of approval from the Office of Treaty Settlements.

And when I think of the Ngai Tahu Settlement, I cannot help but think of the long history of broken promises made by the Crown to Ngai Tahu, including:

• the Crown ownership of pounamu;

• the low prices paid for land and reserves;

• the failure to provide schools and hospitals;

• the loss of mahinga kai (customary food-gathering places);

• the unclear boundaries of purchased land;

• the leasing to settlers in perpetuity of reserved lands without the tribe's consent;

• and the forced sale of Ngai Tahu interests in some land brought upon them by the Crown.


We may also reflect in this House that when Rakiura (Stewart Island) was purchased in 1864, a total of more than 34 million acres had been taken off Ngai Tahu for the princely sum of close to fifteen thousand pounds. This amounts to a fraction of one penny of an acre.

And when we compare that sum with, as we have heard the payment of 260 pounds an acre that was paid for Lancaster Park at the time, we can think that such was the treatment of tangata whenua at that time.

We reflect also that Ngai Tahu were left with approximately one thousandth of their original lands.

In this context then, the action that Ngai Tahu has taken, to concede to the deferral of its rights under the 1998 Act is an overwhelming act of generosity, and one that the Maori Party wholeheartedly commends like the ongoing acts of generosity during the Ngai Tahu claims.

This is an iwi which the Waitangi Tribunal found had suffered from the way in which “the Crown acted unconscionably and in repeated breach of the Treaty of Waitangi”; and an iwi which is now prepared to put on record their preparedness to support this Bill, in the interests of the Christchurch community.

So I stand to make a brief comment of support for this Bill, recognising the role of the sponsor, and the generosity of Ngai Tahu, in progressing legislation to vest Lancaster Park Land in the Christchurch City Council.

The nation is in awe of their commitment to manaakitanga, to kotahitanga, and to the rangatiratanga of Ngai Tahu, Waitaha and Ngati Mamoe.

The Maori Party will support this Bill.


ENDS

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