Marae Investigates: Chris Finlayson Interview
Sunday 21st November, 2010
Marae INVESTIGATES Jodi Ihaka interviews Treaty Negotiations Minister - Chris Finlayson.
Points of interest – PANEL
• IHAKA: “Your govt has encouraged iwi to settle in Natural Groupings, Muriwhenua there are 5 Iwi but one of them looks like it’s about to derail the Treaty Settlement process does it mean it’s all over fro the other Iwi?”
• FINLAYSON: “Absolutely not, no ones going to derail a just and durable settlement for Ngai Takoto, Te Aupouri, Ngati Kuri and Te Rarawa. Their representatives their mandated representatives worked too long and too hard for that to happen”
• IHAKA: “Why would you not actually consider going to Taipa to speak with the people who have been protesting there?”
• FINLAYSON: “Why should I coz I think you’re just condoning bad behaviour or buying into their particular dialogue, as I say Ngati Kahu have mandated representatives I’m more than happy to talk to them as indeed I have been doing throughout the year.”
Points of interest – Marae INVESTIGATES Stories:
Wrong Place Wrong Time? –
An exclusive interview with the Teputepu family devastated by the loss of their son, Halatau Naitoko shot dead by Police.
Police are facing court action over the death of Halatau.
I will never see it as an accident and I didn’t like the title wrong place wrong time because he was working and he has the right to be on the road to work it was them they fired wrong shot wrong time wrong place it wasn’t my son in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The interview has been transcribed below. The full length panel discussion and stories from this morning’s Marae Investigates can also be seen on tvnz.co.nz at, http://tvnz.co.nz/marae
Investigates is repeated on TVNZ 7 at 6.10pm and 10.35pm on
Sunday nights, 12.35pm on Mondays, and Saturday at
CHRIS FINLAYSON interviewed by JODI IHAKA
IHAKA: Joining me today in studio is Attorney General and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, thank you very much for coming
FINLAYSON: Thank you
IHAKA: Lets start with the Maori land scrap that’s happening in the Far North, there have been arrests and pledges for more civil disobedience at Taipa in the Far North, does the fact that you said ‘they can go to hell’ indicate a level of frustration for you?
FINLAYSON: Yes frustration for the Iwi coz a lot of work has been done up in the M region I’m very conscious that Matt Rata started the claim for the Muriwhenua region in 1986, they were waiting on their report for many years, the report came in the were waiting for action from the government and they got none from the previous government, we signed an AIP at Ahipara on 15 January, everyone’s been working hard there are ways of dealing with issues and this is not one of them and so everyone loses because of this sort of behaviour, the iwi involved, the general community people haven’t been able to go boating, I had a call from the lady that runs the Taipa lodge, buses have been turned away, she’s going to lose business because fullers aren’t keen to send buses there anymore so it’s a lose lose situation.
IHAKA: Your govt has encouraged iwi to settle in Natural Groupings, Muriwhenua there are 5 Iwi but one of them looks like it’s about to derail the Treaty Settlement process does it mean it’s all over fro the other Iwi?
FINLAYSON: Absolutely not, no ones going to derail a just and durable settlement for Ngai Takoto, Te Aupouri, Ngati Kuri and Te Rarawa. Their representatives their mandated representatives worked too long and too hard for that to happen.
IHAKA: So you were obviously frustrated by that you called them stupid, is that appropriate behaviour?
FINLAYSON: I think I did not call them stupid I called their actions stupid and they were stupid.
IHAKA: Really and you stand by that comment?
FINLAYSON: The actions are inappropriate, they are frankly.
IHAKA: What’s next for Ngati Kahu?
FINLAYSON: Well what I hope is everyone will take a deep deep breath they’ll recognise that illegal occupation of private land and council land is not the way to go about things. If they want to talk to me they talk through their mandated representatives and we talk about the issues in an appropriate manner
IHAKA: Why would you not actually consider going to Taipa to speak with the people who have been protesting there?
FINLAYSON: Why should I coz I think you’re just condoning bad behaviour or buying into their particular dialogue, as I say Ngati Kahu have mandated representatives I’m more than happy to talk to them as indeed I have been doing throughout the year.
IHAKA: Activists that I have talked to this week have said some fairly harsh things about you, how do you explain to Maori that you have their interests at heart?
FINLAYSON: I have their interests at heart because I’ve been a very activist Minister in charge of Treaty Negotiations I am determined to honour the memory of Matt Rata who worked so hard in that region and get good settlements it’s not just me, it’s the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance has been fantastic in terms of the support he’s given me, Pita Sharples has been Tariana Turia, everyone wants a good settlement everyone realises a good settlement up there is going to unlock a lot of potential.
IHAKA: How unhelpful is it for Tariana Turia to say she doesn’t fully understand the legislation, the new Takutai Moana Bill?
FINLAYSON: Well there are a lot of technical bits and pieces to it, but the key aspects of it she understands very well because of her courageous stand in 2003, she understands the importance of access to justice for the applicant groups and she also understands the importance of property rights albeit un-investigated customary property rights so the essentials are pretty much well understood by the majority of people.
IHAKA: Coastal Coalition group, what do you make of them are they helpful to this discussion?
FINLAYSON: I don’t know whether they’re composed of cranks or whether they’re menevolent. There are a group of them that believe the Vikings / Celts were here first..
IHAKA: Where did you hear that from?
FINLAYSON: Very good sources and politicians like journalists don’t necessarily disclose their sources, but what really annoys me about them is that their campaign is as misleading as it is vicious and they haven’t – for example – read the Court of Appeal’s decision in Ngati Apa, had they read it they would’ve seen that it was a perfectly orthodox decision saying that Maori could go to court to investigate whether or not there was customary title, it didn’t say there was customary title, but it said that contrary to what people believe it hadn’t necessarily been extinguished and people could go to court, now the previous government legislated over the top of that and took away fundamental rights of a significant number of NZ’ers that have access to justice. I would’ve thought that people in the Coastal Coalition would’ve recognised that everyone’s entitled to access to justice in this country and everyone’s entitled to property rights.
IHAKA: You have recently just come back from Geneva, Wai 262, what good news is there for Maori in that?
FINLAYSON: There are some very interesting international developments, and I’m looking forward to the Wai 262 Report coming out. There are issues around protection of traditional knowledge protection of folklore, protection of things like the haka – I’ve been negotiating with Ngati Toa over some of these issues, as we head toward a settlement with them. There are a lot of international developments looking at these issues, I think it’s all very interesting and one of the things you learn about these things is were not the only people on this earth dealing with these issues, there’s an international community out there dealing with them as well.
IHAKA: Foreshore Seabed issue is it really going to go away with the election coming up do you think it could be one of the big issues that could potentially divide our nation?
FINLAYSON: I hope not I think it’s divided it for too long and what we’ve tried to do is take a principle stand about access to justice for everyone, one law for all for everyone, and I always remember Tipene O’Regan saying to me about one rule for all – fine yeah I believe that, that includes Maori and also property rights you have to respect everyone’s property rights, it’s not just a question of land or intellectual property, there are these customary property rights that are to be respected and the signing of the treaty in 1840 did not necessarily extinguish those rights.
IHAKA: You mentioned before that you find certain parts of the Treaty process frustrating, how frustrating was the Tuhoe decision?
FINLAYSON: Oh I don’t regard the Treaty process as frustrating I find it fascinating, and it’s great to be engaged with people who are working hard in the interests of their iwi, the commitment the selflessness of people never ceases to impress me and amaze me so I don’t find the process frustrating at all. There are times where things are aggravated by outbursts of inappropriate behaviour as we’ve had here but no overwhelmingly I think it is a fantastic process it has been working well and it’s worth all the effort.
IHAKA: Did you get what you wanted out of the Tuhoe settlement?
FINLAYSON: We are continuing with discussions with Tuhoe and that’s a journey that both sides are committed to.
IHAKA: Ngati Porou Settlement coming up what’s that been like for you?
FINLAYSON: Well that’s a different type of settlement it’s funny being on the other side of Api Mahuika because I’ve known him for years he’s a great NZ’er, utterly committed to his Iwi, a fantastic team around him, I often say Ngati Porou that they have many of the Lawyers in Maoridom so negotiations with them can be vey lawyerly at times.
IHAKA: Excellent thank you very much for coming onto Marae Investigates minister.