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Speech: Harawira - Marine and Coastal Area Bill

Marine and Coastal Area Bill - Second Reading
Hone Harawira, Te Reo Motuhake o Te Tai Tokerau
Tuesday 8 March 2011
Tena koe Mr Speaker, and may I please begin my first formal speech in parliament as Te Reo Motuhake o Te Tai Tokerau, by extending my gratitude –

1. To my immediate whanau, my wider whanau, and all the people of the north for their continued and unwavering support over the years,
2. To the tino rangatiratanga movement for always reminding me of the importance of refusing to back down on matters of principle,
3. To all those who have contacted me over the past few weeks, offering their support for the principles that I stand by, and my commitment to justice and equality for Maori wherever they may be, and finally
4. To the Labour Party and to my whanaunga Shane Jones, for allowing me the opportunity to speak to this second reading of the Marine and Coastal Area Bill, and to note how right David Parker was in recognising the clear differences between myself and the Labour Party over the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed Act, differences which still exist in the positions we take today on this new bill to confiscate Maori rights.
5.
Mr Speaker - I’ve said it before and I say it again here - whether I am a member of the Maori Party or not, whether I am a Member of Parliament or not, does not change the fact that when Maori rights are under threat, somebody needs to speak up and challenge that threat, and if the Maori Party will not speak up, indeed, if the Maori Party choose to be a party to that threat to Maori rights, then be assured that I will not shirk from speaking up and challenging that threat as well.

Because Mr Speaker, when the Minister of Treaty Settlements says that “Maori will have to show that they held exclusive use and occupation of the area since 1840, without substantial interruption, and that the area in question was held in accordance with tikanga”, then what he is saying is that the National Party / Maori Party government intends to use exactly the same test in 2011 that 50,000 Maori marched against in 2004.

And when Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister says that “customary title is not going to be easier to achieve, but it’s not the government’s job to make the tests easier…” then what he is doing is spitting in the eye of the Maori Party for backing a deal that is likely to break their backs at the next election.

And when Mr Speaker, the Maori Party actually says in their video, and I quote: "if we were negotiating on what is fair, just and moral, then we would have a very different outcome," then Mr Speaker, please let it be known to all who care to notice, that I am glad that I am no longer a member of a caucus that has finally realised that the price of their coalition with National, is their support for a bill that is unfair, unjust and immoral.

And when Mr Speaker, the Maori Party says “that is the choice facing Maori people, and we will be guided by them” then I have to ask, which people is it that they are talking about?

Is it the iwi leadership Mr Speaker, whom the Maori Party went out of the way to promote during this process, who refused to support the bill and subsequently refused to attend the first reading of this racist piece of legislation even though the Maori Party begged them to come and show their support, and who are again conspicuous by their absence at this second reading, because they simply do not accept that this bill will achieve anything for Maori?

Or is it Mr Speaker, the people behind the thousands of emails, phone calls, texts, facebook messages and tautoko that I have been getting from Maori wherever I go in Aotearoa, who support the same principles that I do, and say that they will walk away from the Maori Party if it supports this racist piece of legislation?

And when Mr Speaker, the Maori Party says that “saying 95% of Maori are opposed to the bill is wrong and it is mischievous” then I have to ask, what about the 72 submissions that the Maori Affairs Select Committee received from marae, hapu, iwi, Māori land owners, organisations and collectives, Mr Speaker, because, of those 72 submissions Mr Speaker:

1. Only ONE supported the Bill
2. 20 said the Bill should be put aside or withdrawn
3. 33 said the Bill was not much different from the 2004 FSSB Act
4. 34 said the Bill needed significant amendment, and
5. 37 either did not support the Bill or outright opposed it
6.
And if I can Mr Speaker, please let me quote here from some of those submissions, because it is important to remind the Maori Party of the issue that got us into parliament in the first place:

1. “The facade of saying no-one owns the foreshore and seabed equates to ongoing extinguishment of our ownership rights and interests”
2. “The Bill is so flawed it should be withdrawn”
3. “The country has not learnt from past injustices and continues to see extinguishment of Maori rights as a legitimate problem-solving process”
4. “The Bill knowingly breaches Crown obligations under the Treaty”
5. “No real enduring resolution can occur as long as one Treaty partner continues to dictate to the other the nature and extent of their rights, and the process by which those rights are recognised and upheld (or not)”
6. “Maori should not support an equally unjust law”
7.
And when Mr Speaker, the leadership of the Maori Party moves to force me out so that they can say that the Maori Party unanimously supports this racist piece of legislation, do they seriously think that the 50,000 who marched against the confiscation of their rights in 2004 are going to accept the ongoing confiscation of those rights in 2011?

And do they seriously think that all those who joined the Maori Party are going to stay, if the party sells out their people on the very issue that gave birth to the party, and that those same people are likely to vote for the Maori Party that supports the ongoing confiscation of those rights?

Because this I know Mr Speaker …
1. All 4 Maori Party MPs who voted for this racist piece of legislation, did so without going back to ask their constituents what they thought about it;
2. All 4 Maori Party MPs who voted for this racist piece of legislation, have publicly expressed grave doubts about the bill itself;
3. All 4 Maori Party MPs who voted for this racist piece of legislation, have been told in no uncertain terms by their constituents that they do not support it; and
4. All 4 Maori Party MPs who voted for this racist piece of legislation, have been called upon by iwi in their electorates to withdraw their support for it
5.
And Mr Speaker, the analysis of the submissions makes it quite clear why Maori do not support this bill –

1. it fails to properly recognise and provide for the mana of hapū and iwi
2. it continues the original confiscation via vesting in the ‘common space’
3. it sets the use and occupation tests too high
4. it limits the content of a customary marine title
5. it introduces a costly, adversarial and complicated court process;
6. it remains discriminatory to Māori, and
7. it continues to breach Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Tikanga Māori, common law principles, and international human rights standards, including the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
8.
Mr Speaker, this bill is deserving of nothing but contempt and dismissal, for it preys on the desperation of the Maori Party to be seen to be doing something about the issue from which it was born, while highlighting the determination of the National Party to ensure that Maori will actually get nothing from the same piece of legislation.

Mr Speaker, with all my heart and all my soul, I urge the Maori Party, indeed I beg the Maori Party –

1. To recognise the fact that they have been sold down the river by their National Party coalition partners on this bill;
2. To accept the reality that they occupy a cold and lonely place in the hearts and minds of their people for supporting this bill, and
3. To do the honourable thing by their people by withdrawing their support for this bill, because without the support of the Maori Party caucus, this bill will die the death it truly deserves.
tu te ao maori
tu te rangatiratanga
tu motuhake
tena tatou katoa

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