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Hui Taumata Sends Clear Message To The Government

Saturday 11 November 2000

“Today’s Hui Taumata has sent a clear message that iwi will not tolerate any further delays in the allocation of our fisheries,” Harry Mikaere, Chairman of the Treaty Tribes Coalition, said from Waipatu Marae today.

“We demand Parliament immediately pass the Maori Fisheries Amendment Act. And we demand all our fisheries assets. We will not entertain the aggregation of the assets at the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission.”

The Hui Taumata considered two resolutions from the floor. They were both passed unanimously except for abstentions by Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commissioners and Te Arawa. The resolutions were:

That Parliament immediately implement the Maori Fisheries Amendment Bill.

That this hui demands the allocation of all our fisheries assets and will not entertain the non-allocation of deepsea quota.

Iwi represented at the hui were:

 Ngati Hine
 Ngati Wai
 Ngati Whatua
 Hauraki Iwi
- Ngati Whanaunga
- Ngati Pukenga ki Waiau
- Ngati Hako
- Patukirikiri
- Ngati Tara Tokanui
- Ngati Paoa
- Ngati Rahiri Tumutumu
- Ngati Porou ki Harataunga
- Ngai Tai
- Ngati Hei
- Ngati Maru
- Ngati Tamatera
 Waikato-Tainui
 Maniapoto
 Te Arawa Waka
 Ngati Pukenga ki Tauranga
 Te Whanau Apanui
 Ngati Porou
 Ngati Tamanuhiri
 Rongowhakaata
 Ngati Kahungunu
 Tuwharetoa
 Ngati Tama
 Whanganui Iwi
 Rangitane
 Te Atiawa
 Ngati Ruanui
 Ngaruahine
 Ngarauru
 Ngati Apa
 Ngati Hauiti
 Ngati Tama ki Tau Ihu Trust
 Ngai Tahu
 Te Iwi Moriori

In addition, apologies were received from:

 Te Atianga a Mahaki
 Whaingaroa
 Raukawa (Waikato)
 Ngaiterangi
 Ngati Ranginui
 Tuhoe Waikaremoana
 Te Runanga o Wharekauri Rekohu

Speakers at the hui were Mr Mikaere, John Upton QC and Derek Fox.

BACKGROUND

The Treaty Tribes Coalition was established in 1994 and has the support of more than 35 iwi.

The Coalition is seeking the immediate implementation of the “optimum allocation model” for fisheries assets that was developed by the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission through a five-year consultation process. At the conclusion of that consultation process two years ago, the model achieved the support of 76 percent of iwi representing 63 percent of Maori.

The model deals with $350 million of “pre-settlement” fisheries assets, which have been held in trust by the commission since 1989. The commission has also held a further $350 million of “post-settlement” assets since 1992.

The model was a compromise between those iwi that believed the assets should be allocated on the basis of coastline and those iwi that believed they should be allocated on the basis of population. All iwi agreed that allocation should be to iwi.

Under the model, deepsea quota would be allocated on a 50 percent population, 50 percent coastline basis. Inshore quota would be allocated on a coastline basis. Shares in Moana Pacific Fisheries would be allocated in proportion to the total quota volume allocated to each iwi.

A further $40 million cash would be allocated on the basis of population only, with another $10 million cash kept in trust for a Development Putea for those Maori who are not yet active members of their iwi organisations.

The model also requires that iwi have mandate and accountability mechanisms to deliver to their members, the vast majority of whom are urban residents.

Despite the majority support for the compromise model, allocation is being held up by the technical legal challenges of a few individuals. None of these challenges have been found to have merit by the courts, but legal action continues.

In May 2000, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) undertook an independent and conservative study into the costs of delaying allocation of the “pre-settlement” assets.

It looked at just three costs of delay relating only to the quota component of the assets, including the inability of iwi to form long-term multi-iwi partnerships. From just these three costs, it concluded the costs were up to $14 million a year. This would compound to $84 million by 2006 if allocation did not occur immediately.

Following the release of the report, the Treaty Tribes Coalition renewed its call for the Government to fix the law to end the technical legal wrangling. The call was supported unanimously by the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council (SeaFIC) at its annual conference.

On 19 September 2000, the Treaty Tribes Coalition and representatives of 36 iwi presented the draft Maori Fisheries Amendment Bill to all Members of Parliament. If enacted, this draft bill would direct the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission to immediately implement the “optimum allocation model” and stop the destruction of wealth.

The Minister of Maori Affairs referred the draft bill to Cabinet and the commission, while the National Party said it would support it. The draft bill has been placed in the ballot to be introduced as a Private Member’s Bill.

END

What The Government Has Been Saying
About The Treaty Of Waitangi

11 November 2000


The Government sees the Treaty as a “living” document that can be used to address contemporary issues:

“The Treaty is a living document.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
Sunday Star-Times
17 September 2000

“This Government, more than any government in the past, is committed to the Treaty as a modern, living guide to its relationship with Maori.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
Article in Mana Magazine
August-September edition

This approach leads it to put greater emphasis on Article Three of the Treaty than the previous Government:

“In the past, people haven’t thought much about article three. Socialists – I suppose that’s a terrible word to use, isn’t it? – people who believe in social justice would emphasise article three more than the others, to be frank.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
Sunday Star-Times
17 September 2000

“We are a Labour-Alliance Government. We are interested in social and economic matters. We focus on article three.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
New Zealand Herald
16 September 2000

“The treaty is about a relationship and we seem to have got a bit derailed by thinking it’s about money or property or rights.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
New Zealand Herald
11 October 2000

Because of this emphasis on article three, settlements under article two have to be seen in a wider context, according to the Government:

“The settlement of historical grievances also needs to be understood within the context of wider government policies … for example, the Government’s “Closing the Gaps” programme … “
Hon. Margaret Wilson
“New principles to guide the settlement of historical Treaty claims”
20 July 2000

“We see the settlement of historical claims as a part of a much wider relationship between the Government and Maori, which encompasses our modern commitment to the Treaty and our commitment to closing the gaps.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
Article in Mana Magazine
August-September edition

In fact, Government has gone so far as to position “closing the gaps” as a “new partnership” that drives its approach to the Treaty of Waitangi:

“[Closing the Gaps aims to] address disparities and drive Maori development through a new partnership approach between Maori, the state sector, business, local government and the wider community.”
Hon. Parekura Horomia
Timaru Herald
26 September 2000

“The Government’s approach to the Treaty of Waitangi is driven by the Closing the Gaps, which involves facing up to the reality of what is happening in New Zealand today.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
Press Statement
19 September 2000

It’s not clear, though, what “Closing the Gaps” is about. On the one hand, the Crown seems to be saying it is about what the Government can do through its traditional mechanisms in order to help Maori “catch up”:

“”Closing the Gaps” is about focussing the collective resources and harnessing the energy of the Government and Maori to improve Maori economic and social results … The government has set aside $243 million to close the gaps of which $113 million (over four years) has been allocated to government departments for capacity building for Maori and Pacific peoples.”
Hon. Parekura Horomia
Speech
30 August 2000

“[Closing the Gaps] is about helping one sector of the community to catch up with the rest.”
Ngatata Love
New Zealand Listener
28 October 2000

But Tariana Turia has a different message:

“I don’t like the term “Closing the Gaps”. I’m much more committed to encouraging our people to look at whanau development models, to look at the potential of families instead of the problems of families.
“The last thing Maori want is to be measured up against another people whose values and aspirations are quite often different.
“I am not supportive of building the capacity and capabilities of government departments essentially to bring Maori people to brown up the service and yet nothing changes for the people on the ground.”
Hon. Tariana Turia
RNZ Mana News
14 August 2000

“Around the world it’s been shown that indigenous peoples progress at a far greater rate when they are in control of their own development, and this is what we are committed to doing.”
Hon. Tariana Turia
Speech
7 June 2000

And Tariana Turia certainly wouldn’t be interested in any notion that “closing the gaps” should “drive” Treaty policy:

“My particular expectation of departments is that they will uphold the Treaty of Waitangi as the primary factor in the relationship between the Crown and whanau, hapu and iwi.”
Hon. Tariana Turia
Speech
7 June 2000

In any case, the Government has moved in recent weeks to stress that “Closing the Gaps” is not only for Maori, or even only for Maori and Pacific people. In the Budget, the Minister of Finance said:

“The Government’s Budget 2000 makes a major contribution to closing the social and economic gaps that exist between Maori and Pacific peoples and other New Zealanders.”
Hon. Michael Cullen
Minister’s Budget Overview
15 June 2000

“The most urgent and visible gaps exist between Maori and Pacific peoples and others.”
Hon. Michael Cullen
Budget Speech
15 June 2000

Now the Government says:

Prime Minister Helen Clark and senior ministers will take a different approach to “selling” the [Closing the Gaps] programme, moving it away from a “brown-white” issue to one of poverty. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said the Beehive had discerned a backlash in recent weeks and wanted the presentation of the gaps policy tweaked to ease concerns. “It became an issue about improving the lot of Maori [but] that is only part of it,” said the spokesman.”
New Zealand Herald
27 October 2000

“[Feedback from WINZ offices that members of the public thought the Government was taking money off poor whites to give to Maori and Pacific Islanders] was outrageous. So, yes, we have been moving to correct misperceptions. It’s meant … that we’re focussing on low decile needs across the board.”
Rt Hon. Helen Clark
Dominion
24 October 2000

“Gaps between Maoris and non-Maoris are not the only gaps that exist in New Zealand, and they are not the only gaps that the Government is seeking to close.”
Hon. Steve Maharey
Dominion
28 September 2000

Because the Government believes “closing the gaps” (whatever it is actually about) should “drive” policy towards the Treaty (which is itself a “living document”) it believes it should make decisions about the place of the Treaty in New Zealand society on a case by case basis. It is no longer a matter simply of what is right and wrong:

“If you’ve got legislation relating to education or housing you may wish then to see the relevance [of a Treaty clause] and how it would apply,” said Margaret Wilson. “What we’re trying to do is not be politically correct and just stick in clauses, but see that as part of achieving the overall objective.” That objective was social and economic development. (underlining mine)
New Zealand Herald
16 September 2000

Since everything is a matter of what the Government may decide to do, the Government can decide to exclude oil and gas from the settlement process, no matter what anyone else may say:

“The Government has reaffirmed that Crown minerals (including petroleum), which are owned and managed in the national interest, will not be included for consideration in the historical claims process.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
“New principles to guide the settlement of historical Treaty claims”
20 July 2000

Associate Energy Minister Paul Swain said last night that he had assured oil drilling companies of continuing Crown ownership of oil and petrol – and no Waitangi Tribunal hearing or subsequent court action by Maori would change that. “If the tribunal decision is in their favour, and it may or may not be, then I would imagine they’ll be looking to try and have that claim reinforced through the courts procedure,” he said. “They have a right to do that, but they know the Government's position.”
Dominion
16 October 2000

“[Contemporary minerals claims] should be parked as an issue for another day,” Helen Clark told the Herald. “We cannot deal with it at this time.” She has also questioned whether it is a treaty issue because nationalisation of petroleum in 1937 applied to all landowners.
New Zealand Herald
24 October 2000

At the same time, the Government intends to “review” the Treaty of Waitangi Act to ensure the Tribunal fits in with the Government’s plans.

“I also intend to take a proposal to Cabinet, with the Minister of Maori Affairs, to seek a comprehensive review of the Treaty of Waitangi Act. I believe a review is needed to ensure the future role and focus of the Tribunal is consistent with the Government’s overall objectives in both historical and contemporary issues.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
“New principles to guide the settlement of historical Treaty claims”
20 July 2000

Whatever the results of the review, the Minister has the Tribunal pigeon-holed to most probably play less of a role in the future, and its search for the truth does not always get to the “heart” of what is needed:

“Its work continues and will continue.” But, [Ms Wilson] said, the tribunal process was too slow. Its resourcing and the consequent ability of the tribunal to meet the demand for its services needed to be looked at. “It is also significant that such an important institution has rather unclear lines of accountability back to the Government,” she said. “Its historical decisions provide valuable background and statements about the truth of what has happened. But the decisions do not always get to the heart of what needs to be negotiated between the Government and claimants.”
Evening Post
10 October 2000

“Tribunal hearings will always have a place. But there is no law saying they must always be the basis of constructive negotiations. … I hope [the review] will make clear that exhaustive and painstaking historical research is not the only basis on which the claimants can seek redress.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
Article in Mana Magazine
August-September edition

“The Government’s direct negotiation with claimants ensures delivery of the agreed settlement and minimises costs to all parties.”
Hon. Margaret Wilson
“New principles to guide the settlement of historical Treaty claims”
20 July 2000

Perhaps this is why the Government has refused to increase funding for the Waitangi Tribunal by the $2 million a year requested. While the Government decided not to issue a press statement on this at the time of the Budget, others have not been so reserved:

The Waitangi Tribunal bid for an extra $2 million from last month’s budget, but was refused an increase in operational funding. Tribunal director Morrie Love said the tribunal had been forced to reduce the number of hearing days this year from 160 to 110. “It gets tighter and tighter,” Mr Love said. “Our costs can only increase and the budget bottom line is fixed – it’s not indexed against inflation or anything like that, so we have no protection against increased costs. We asked for extra funds to deal with a greater number of hearings, and more research because we were concerned that the Crown Forestry Rental Trust was moving away from the tribunal process and research, and that we would need to be commissioning more of that ourselves.” The demand for hearings was now high and it would create significant delays. “In the longer term, taking into account research and the ability to get through hearings, it may well stretch the completion date of historical claims from the year 2010 to the year 2014.”
Dominion
4 July 2000

Faced with the Government wanting direct negotiation and its refusal to increase tribunal funding, Joe Williams has spoken out:

Judge Williams issued a reminder that the tribunal gave settlements greater legitimacy. “There have always been governments willing to consider historical Maori grievances on terms acceptable to those governments. Some have even been willing to establish commissions of inquiry into those grievances.” The tribunal was the first institution designed to be a standing public and independent inquisition into these matters, he said.
Dominion
8 July 2000

The Judge worries that at least one settlement process may fall over:

Yesterday, at a preliminary Gisborne inquiry hearing in Wellington, Chief Judge Williams questioned how next year’s Gisborne hearings could continue without CFRT funding for managing the claims. “The whole point of the Gisborne approach was to ensure that communication got done up front, so we weren’t having mandate disputes at the back-end. That simply can’t be done if there is no funding.”
Dominion
1 November 2000

Chief Judge Williams now worries that without adequate funding for the tribunal, community support for the settlement process may evaporate:

“To be effective, the tribunal must retain credibility with claimants and the Crown. Credibility is largely determined by results. … Many New Zealanders, Maori and Pakeha, are suffering from land claims fatigue. They accept the need for the process and of that I am hugely grateful. They just wish it could proceed at a faster pace. I agree. … If the process takes too long … the constituency will desert its leaders. … What is currently needed above all else is a sensitive and experienced keeper of the process, a keeper which understands the many perspectives which are now brought to bear on the settlement process, an institution whose purpose the parties accept is to facilitate constructive and structured engagement between the protagonists. … The tribunal should be funded to undertake this role. It is after all aimed at closing the communications gaps between the Crown and claimants.”
Chief Judge Joe Williams
RNZ Mana News
7 November 2000

In this free-for-all environment – with the Treaty a “living document” and policy towards it driven by “closing the gaps”; and with the tribunal being undermined and claimants asked to negotiate with the Crown without the benefit of a tribunal report – it is not surprising that people are moving away from a literal interpretation of the Treaty – who it is between and what it says.

Mr [John] Tamihere insists that the use of the term “mana whenua in the [health] bill simply perpetuates an historic and feudal anachronism.”
The Press
28 October 2000

Mr [Shane] Jones is disturbed that the customary concept on “mana whenua” is being taken and used out of context. “They seem to be used by the people who promote the ideology of decolonisation. It’s a massive diversion away from the real task in hand.” … “By inserting a term like “mana whenua” into public welfare legislation, my deep fear is that we are handing over a customary concept with limited relevance in the modern function of society … to the High Court and to the legions of lawyers who currently feast at the trough of the fisheries settlement. Once this term falls into the hands of wrangling tribal runanga and their lawyers, the debate will have nothing to do with children who aren’t being presented to doctors until they are half dead.”
New Zealand Herald
8 August 2000

The same attitude is reflected in the Government’s attitudes to the Treaty Tribes Coalition and the 36 iwi that support it. It doesn’t see these iwi as its Treaty partner but as “lobbyists” and “stakeholders”:

“Treaty Tribes have been diligent lobbyists, raising issues in the public debate, initiating research and going out to stakeholder groups. … I received a lot of advice on whether or not I should be available to receive your submission today. … Advisors were concerned that my presence and willingness to receive your submission might be seen as evidence that I was firmly in one camp of the allocation debate. … I can understand why some of my advisers are sensitive about public perceptions. … [My presence] signals that we take your views seriously as a major stakeholder in the current debate.”
Hon. Parekura Horomia
Speech when receiving the Maori Fisheries Amendment Bill
19 September 2000

Perhaps the reason the Government takes this approach is because of reports by journalists with the Prime Minister’s confidence of a deal having been done at Parliament between so-called “urban Maori MPs” and iwi Maori MPs”:

“The two sides appear to see compromise over allocation of the Fisheries Commission quota. There is broad agreement that the commission should retain control and the focus should shift to how the profits are distributed.”
Al Morrison
North & South
September 2000

The same report suggests the Government wants so-called UMAs to be able to have custody over children:

“Sitting in the wings is legislation enacting a Waitangi Tribunal recommendation that the Waipareira Trust, and thus other urban authorities, be given status to hold guardianship.”
Al Morrison
North & South
September 2000

Deals like this can be done because Maori don’t know what is being done in their name, according to one senior MP:

“Maori know nothing about the fish settlement.”
John Tamihere
Sunday News
21 May 2000

Usually, Tamihere argues fisheries assets should be aggregated.

“We have done wonders for Maori by keeping the asset aggregated.”
John Tamihere
Sunday Star Times
14 May 2000

“If we allow this resource to go to a fundamentalist minority we’ve got a problem.”
John Tamihere
1ZB Larry Williams
17 May 2000

“If we don’t get that through [keeping deep sea fishing assets in the hands of the commission], it’s by-election time for me.”
John Tamihere
Sunday Star Times
14 May 2000

Jones agrees with him:

“The Maori development prospects can’t be divorced from the economics of the industry. The single inalterable fallacy of the allocation process is that by allocating assets we will improve the position of Maori in the industry. That argument is based on confetti. Everything is going towards critical mass, avoidance of duplication, reduction of transaction costs. The reason Sanfords wants Sealords is to rationalise the fishing industry.”
Shane Jones
Sunday Star Times
14 May 2000

But other times, Tamihere argues allocation could be OK:

“By all means, the iwi groups must take the lion’s share and prevail.”
John Tamihere
Sunday News
21 May 2000

“I think [setting up a 10 percent tithe] would take a lot of heat out of where we are coming from.”
John Tamihere
Kim Hill Show
17 May 2000

If there is any doubt that the Government has a strange view about the position of whanau, hapu and iwi in New Zealand society, it was removed when 36 iwi came to Parliament with the Maori Fisheries Amendment Bill:

“Well, there isn’t [a potential meeting of minds to stop the litigation] actually. I mean the Treaty Tribes Coalition basically reflects the views of the majority of the outgoing Maori Fisheries Commission. Now, it’s fair to say that commission’s been established for what.. seven, eight years, and never managed to come up with a clear proposal for the government. They did a lot of consultation, went round and round in circles, there’s been a lot of litigation. Basically the model they wanted is the one these people came to parliament with yesterday. Now, the point is we’ve just appointed a new commission. It is more broadly based. It will take another look at the model, and really it’s not on for the in effect the outgoing commission to come through the backdoor of the Treaty Tribes Coalition and say well, this is what we want and you should legislate for it.”
“[The idea that the Government doesn’t want to seriously address the issue] really is the laugh of the century because the legislation passed by Jim Bolger’s government.. months earlier in the 90’s required the Maori Fisheries Commission to come to government with a recommendation for allocation. To the best of my knowledge that’s never happened in seven or eight years.
“The next move is for the new commission to get to grips with the issue, and I hope that’s much more quickly than the last one, and to come to government with a recommendation. Now, the government doesn’t have to accept the recommendation, but the point is so far we’ve had nothing to either accept or reject.”
Helen Clark
Canterbury on Air
20 September 2000

A final message about Helen Clark’s attitude:

“There are signs [the Prime Minister] is losing patience with the fractious, divisive side of Maoridom that is never thankful, ever-demanding and lacking in political nous.”
Al Morrison
North & South November 2000

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