Sunday, December 12, 2010

Frank Newman: Foreshore and seabed hearings a farce - outcome predetermined

Saturday’s Dominion Post reports, “While some changes would be recommended to the [Coastal Area Bill] the bill reported back from the committee would be fundamentally the same, he [Te Ururoa Flavell] said.”

This is outrageous comment from the Maori Party Whip and member of the Maori Affairs Select Committee. How is it that Mr Flavell is able to state that outcome when the committee is still hearing submissions? It’s because Mr Flavell and the other voting members of the Select Committee have already made up their minds. It’s probably more accurate to say he has never changed his mind, despite the almost total opposition for the Bill.

This whole fiasco shows not only his - and their - utter disregard for the democratic process, but also their utter disrespect of the thousands of people who made submissions on the Bill and the hundreds that took the time, and had the courage, to make their submissions in person.

Mr Flavell is engaged is a process with political self interest firmly in mind. He, the Maori Party, and the National Party, have a great deal to lose if the substantive provisions in the Bill are not carried through to law. His comments reaffirm the belief of many that this very import matter of great concern to all New Zealanders should not have been placed before the Maori Affairs Select Committee. Those suspicions of bias have now been confirmed. Clearly the Maori Affairs Select Committee is representing the views of some Maori - they are not representing the views of all New Zealanders.

Surely, those whose job it is to protect our democratic process can’t sit by and let this farce continue when the breach of process is so glaring? To turn a convenient blind eye now would leave the door wide open for other activist politicians to further erode the quality of our democracy.


Anonymous said...

So very well put Frank.
So what can we do to stop this nonsense.??
We have handed out fliers, talked to as many people as we can, spoken on talk-back, it's amazing how many people don't know what is going on. This is nothing but a wrought. This bill must be stopped!!

ManCave said...

Sadly this government has already proved its willingness to ignore the wishes of the people, even when clearly demonstrated by a referendum.

Wines of the Week said...

The make-up of that committee is an outrage, designed to create only one possible outcome. It is mere window-dressing, and certainly NOT democracy in action. Disgraceful, and shame on the mainstream media for squatting idly by without comment.

Basil Walker said...

The bias at the Parliamentary Select committee hearing in Christchurch was most evident because the voting was restricted to select members by the rules of the maori affairs committee and not the rules of a Parliamentary Select Committee process therefore the vote of the Green party member and the Act party member will not be taken into consideration .

The questions from maori panel members were especially biased because they focussed on the ridiculous assumption that all coastal title held as freehold is held by pakeha and therefore Maori were treated unfairly .

I was very dissapointed in this persistant questioning because coastal title is available to all when being sold in the public domain .

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank

I agree with your comments. I appeared before the Maori Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday 23 November to speak to my written submission. There were 6 submitters there and every one was against the Bill. Five because they did not like the idea of one group of New Zealanders getting something that already belongs to all of us and the fact that some Maori would not have to present any evidence to an independent court but would be able to ‘do deals’ with the Minister behind closed doors. The other submitter was against the bill because it did not give Maori total and unfettered management of the foreshore and seabed.

The word ‘deal’ was bandied around very freely and it worried me that our foreshore and sea, including all the resources therein, could be given away in a ‘deal’ within the wider political agenda.

One observation I can make is that generally New Zealanders are too polite. Not one speaker said openly that this is racist Bill but just hinted at not wishing to a be a second class citizen in their own country. These speakers included a new New Zealander, recently from a South Africa, and another who had been here for 45 years, formerly from Sri Lanka.

The Maori Affairs Select committee is the wrong place for this Bill to be heard. It is clear that the members, with the exception of the ACT members, are in favour of the bill. They appear to see themselves are Maori first and New Zealanders second, if at all.


Stephen Underwood

Anonymous said...

How is it that Mr Flavell is able to state that outcome when the committee is still hearing submissions? Quite easily Mr Frank Newman, from the Office of the House of Representatives, “The purpose of a committee's report to the House is to express the views of the committee. Those views may be informed by material they receive from others, but the purpose of the report is NOT to provide a summary of submitter's views. The submissions themselves set out those views, and are published on the parliament website”. A corrupt Select Committee can mislead Parliament by withholding all submissions opposing a Bill from its report to Parliament to allow it to proceed as with the Te Roroa Claim. A Select Committee decides which submissions are reported to Parliament depending on which way they want the Bill to proceed.

One New Zealand Foundation Inc.

Anonymous said...

Having the FSB bill before the Maori Affairs Select Committee is the same as having the defendant in a court case as a member of their own jury.
It's not only undemocratic it should never have been allowed, and ALL politicians should have said so. Such an arrangement stinks of conflict of interest and must be condemned by all.

Mark said...

Any recommendation from a Committee can be over ruled by the House of Representatives.
I doubt that has ever happened so the odds this time aren't great it will. Time will tell.
A supporter of MMP (I preferred STV)this example of it at work (National / Maori party deal)has caused me to seriously question my liberal thinking.

Anonymous said...

It is just like a domestic dispute; opposing spouses aim to 'get their rights' without any consideration of relationships - or the effect on the children. I haven't heard anyone speak yet of what we are handing to future generations, whether Maori or Pakaha; an 'us versus them' philosphy that is not only divisive, but an obstacle to mutual respect and co-operation. I really mourn for future generations of New Zealanders if this Bill goes through

Anonymous said...

Seems like the outcome was decided before it had even begun. This is just lip service to the public to give us the illusion of a democratic process. Quite sickening really.

Anonymous said...

What a bloody sham...what sick country we are when the govt processes are bent like this....Democracy??? yeah right!

This is what happens when we stay quiet and dont fight back.

Hopefully this could wake up a few more of the sleeping herd though.
If it doesnt we may as well all go catch a plane.

Anonymous said...

When I made my submission, I was surprised to find that it was to the Maori Affairs Committee. What an insult to th rest of the population. How can we expect any sort of a balanced decision from a Committee selected on the basis of race?
That Committee should only be dealing with issues specific to Maori, not a subject like this with affects every singe N Z citizen.

Bad enough that the Bill is a disaster waiting to happen, but to have it dealt with in this way shows how John Key and the Nats have no respect for the intelligence or feelings of the voting public.
Browns Bay

Anonymous said...

Well, citizens, if we are not happy with the current crop of politicians and the way the treat us with contempt why don't we do something about it? For a start withdraw your political support entirely and if all else fails put up competent Independent candidates of your own.

MMP could be a very reasonable and fair system if the politicians would use it properly. There were grave injustices in the FPP system.

The Leader of a minority government should be made to understand that his/her Party did not receive unlimited support from the voters.
Proposed legislation should pass or fail
purely on its merits. Citizens still have enough intelligence to work out when a minor party is opposing just for the sake of opposing.

Ideally we need a new Party with elements of the Swiss system. However nothing is going to happen if people just moan and do nothing!

Hilary Calvert said...

Actually the numbers in the government have changed, as Pansy Wong is no longer there by the next vote. People may wish to contact Peter Dunne and encourage him to pull his support. I was at many of the Select Committee hearings. It wasn't so much overwhelming submissions against as it was no submissions for at all. There were 2 submissions from Iwi/Hapu groups who said they were not themselves affected by the bill, but that they understood that it is a bad bill in general.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.39am...
1). "MMP could be a very reasonable and fair system if the politicians would use it properly"....OK true.... but given what we have seen so far...when will that happen?...its a fantasy.

2). "The Leader of a minority government should be made to understand that his/her Party did not receive unlimited support from the voters"
Yes true again ...but under MMP has that happened?? (the maori party is polling at 1.7%?? or thereabouts and just look at this MCA fiasco)

3). "Ideally we need a new Party ('system' actually) with elements of the Swiss system. However nothing is going to happen if people just moan and do nothing"

Agree totally... but when WE DO ACT (as I have sending in a submission which should be a legitamite channel for protest) and we find the submissions process to be a smokescreen.....short of rioting what do we do then??
Not all of us are benign...just overwhelmed by crooked democatic prosesses.

NZ is now that screwed up....sobering isnt it??

Anonymous said...

We as duped NZer's should... if possible... call for an early/rush Election in February. Is this possible? Can we 'call' for this? Can we demand this?

I would like to see this country run with just 40 Business People - or people with alot of Parliamentary experience behind them. In the past Elections, I have voted for Labour because Helen Clark and Phil Goff both have/had a substantial period in Parliament.

I wonder ... do you think Phil Goff could run this country? If so, what would you like to see him do for Kiwi's?

(and no, I'm not Phil )

Anonymous said...

Yes, what a sham but entirely consistent with the way politicians once in power treat the voters.

In an earlier post I suggested the formation of a third party but if this does not eventuate an interim option would be the standing of Independent candidates in the next election. Naturally they would have to be people of competence and integrity and committed to advancing the concerns of their constituents rather than their personal advancement. Some Australians have already done this and they did get a small group of Independents elected in their last Federal election.

This may not be a perfect solution but let's face it citizens, we just can't do nothing!Voting once again for one of the major Parties is just helping to continue the problem.