Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Human rights approach can help in resolving Ihumātao dispute

Friday 23 August 2019

Applying New Zealand’s international human rights commitments, particularly those in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, can help in resolving the situation at Ihumātao, Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt says.

A Human Rights Commission report issued today aims to provide a constructive human rights framework within which the complex issues raised at Ihumātao can be considered.

“We acknowledge the vital discussions between mana whenua groups currently being held under the korowai and protection of the Māori King, Kiingi Tuuheitia,” Mr Hunt says.

“Our hope is that our report may assist these negotiations, and broader discussions around the country about Ihumātao, by examining the relevance of New Zealand’s human rights commitments under the Declaration and Te Tiriti o Waitangi to the dispute.

“There are a number of human rights commitments implicit in Te Tiriti which are enlarged on in the Declaration,” Mr Hunt says.

“The Declaration also aligns with the Māori worldview including the inter-relationship between people and the natural world, and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of these natural resources.”

The Government has endorsed the Declaration and by doing so has made a commitment to uphold the rights contained in it, Mr Hunt says.

These human rights commitments highlight the Government’s obligations to both protect Māori rights to land and culture, and to provide a fully participatory decision-making framework, Mr Hunt says.

Central to the right to participation is the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent – one of the most important procedural principles in the Declaration.

“Free, prior and informed consent is an issue at the centre of the dispute over the decisions regarding the zoning of land at Ihumātao as a Special Housing Area, and the decisions regarding the development of the land,” Mr Hunt says.

Human rights principles support the approach being taken by mana whenua that disagreements within indigenous communities about whether free, prior and informed consent has been achieved are best resolved by the indigenous peoples, he says.

The Government, for its part, needs to ensure that consultation processes support consensus building within the indigenous peoples’ community, are non-coercive and do not cause division.

“The report also highlights the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which have implications for both the Government and Fletcher Building in relation to Ihumātao,” he says.

The Commission also believes that a human rights led approach to Ihumātao includes:

• Protection of mana whenua rights and a continued halt on development of the land while work towards a resolution is carried out
• Provision for redress in a manner consistent with human rights standards
• A Government commitment to full engagement with the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Adequate Housing and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
“Ihumātao can be a turning point for the protection of indigenous rights in Aotearoa New Zealand and that it provides a real opportunity to move the nation forward in a constructive way, “ Mr Hunt says.

Copies of the report can be found here:
PDF: https://www.hrc.co.nz/files/5115/6651/4254/International_human_rights_perspectives_on_Ihumatao.pdf
Word version: https://www.hrc.co.nz/files/8515/6651/4431/International_human_rights_perspectives_on_Ihumatao.docx

The Commission has a statutory function under the Human Rights Act to ‘’promote by research, education, and discussion a better understanding of the human rights dimensions of the Treaty of Waitangi and their relationship with domestic and international human rights law”.

New Zealand’s international human rights commitments under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Declaration and Te Tiriti o Waitangi include:

The right to land requires the Government to protect Māori rights to their lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or used.
The right to culture affirms the right of Māori to maintain, protect and develop the dignity of their culture.
The right to protection requires the Government to recognise and protect the right of Māori to maintain, control, protect and develop their rights under the Declaration.
The right to participation requires the Government to consult with Māori in good faith with the objective of obtaining their consent on measures that may affect them.
The right to free, prior and informed consent is a central component of the right to participation. It involves the right of Māori to be fully informed, be appropriately consulted with, and to fully participate in, any decision-making relevant to their ancestral right to land, territories and resources.
The principle of good faith requires consultations be carried out in the spirit of mutual trust and transparency.
The right to redress and restitution requires that where lands have been confiscated without the free, prior and informed consent of Māori there should be redress in the form of restitution (return) in the first instance or when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable compensation.
Decision-making processes must be fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent in particular, the Government has an obligation to guarantee mana whenua with access to justice including in respect of any claims they have regarding their dispossessed lands.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Rampant Pandering To The Farming Vote

What on earth has happened to the political parties n the centre-right? Once upon a time in the US, the party of Lincoln was a respectable political party before it devolved into the cult of Trump. Here at home, the National Parry used to be able to manage and administer the economic orthodoxy in a reasonably competent fashion. Now it can barely do simple addition and subtraction. Something must have gotten into the water, and not simply out on the farm... More>>


Winston Peters Speech: The Gathering Storm Clouds: Ihumatao

Frequently around New Zealand you hear people say that politicians are all the same. It’s a convenient way to dismiss any careful investigation of the truth of that statement. New Zealand First since its inception has been committed to ‘one law ... More>>


National Agriculture Policy: Will Restore Farmer Confidence And Pride

A National Government will reduce regulatory burden and give farmers confidence for the future. Leader of the National Party Judith Collins and Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett announced National’s Agriculture policy in Gisborne today. “Agriculture ... More>>


Shaw: Wealth Tax Not A Bottom Line For Green Party But They Will Push For It

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says one of his senior MPs misspoke under pressure when she said a wealth tax was one of the party's bottom lines. More>>


Government: More Border Exceptions For Critical Roles

The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Last Night’s Leaders Debate

Do political debates change voter intentions, and cause voters to switch sides? According to a 2019 Harvard Business School study conducted across 61 elections in nine countries involving 172,000 respondents, the answer would seem to be a resounding ... More>>


Dunne Speaks: The Election Campaign Just Grinds Slowly On And On

With just over three weeks until the General Election, the release of the first major pre-election opinion poll this week confirmed what was already being reported about this year’s campaign. Although the gap between Labour and National has narrowed ... More>>

Electoral Commission: Candidate And Party Lists Released

17 registered political parties and 677 candidates will be contesting the 2020 General Election Nominations have now closed and the Electoral Commission has released the electorate and party list candidates for 2020 online at vote.nz . Advance voting ... More>>

National: Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity

National’s Economic and Fiscal Plan carefully balances the need to invest in infrastructure and core public services while also reducing tax pressure on Kiwi families and businesses. National Leader Judith Collins and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith unveiled National’s ... More>>


NZ First: Party List

New Zealand First has a proven twenty-seven-year history of bringing balance and common sense to our government. Amid the continued setbacks of COVID-19 restrictions, New Zealand First has once again sustained its profile by selecting a strong team ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels