Sunday, February 14, 2010

Frank Newman: Co-management with Maori

New reports that Maori were charging media groups to enter a Marae at Waitangi should come as no surprise. It is totally consistent with the real agenda behind the Maori rights groups – which is about money not mana. This is why the government is foolish to enter into co-management arrangements with Maori groups, especially in sensitive areas like the foreshore and seabed. Maori know theses areas are a perpetual goldmine, hence the vehemence with which the Maori Party is pursuing this issue, including threats that it will withdraw support for the government should it not get its way.

The way Maori have rorted the Resource Management Act is a case in point. Maori have affected party status and are advised of each and every resource consent application made to a council. When I was the Consents Commissioner for the Whangarei District Council Maori worked the system like this. The iwi of a particular area in the District required all subdivision applicants to have a cultural assessment done. They, of course, only accepted reports that they themselves prepared, and charged each applicant $700 for doing so.

I sensed there was something not quite right about the reports when I realised they were all identical. The iwi simply sent a photocopied four page report, and a bill for $700. That report contained clauses that are already law anyway, like needing to be informed should bones be discovered during earthworks and so on, and also a clause that they may supervise the earthworks at an appropriate hourly rate.

The applicants knew they were being taken for a ride but paid up without protest because they knew not doing so would cause delays and thousands of dollars in appeal costs.

If the government thinks this will not happen when Maori get their hands on the foreshore and seabed, then it is foolish and very naive. Co-management is simply another way to exercise rights, and therefore the right to extract management fees.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maori activists are the New Zealand version
of the Mafia.....little can be done without paying them