Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mike Butler: Govt hazy on mandate data


A series of questions sent to the Office of Treaty Settlements revealed patchy information and a government that is hazy on data to do with claimant group mandates, the cornerstone of treaty settlement integrity.

Deeds of mandate are intended to provide evidence that the body claiming mandate has the widespread support of the members of the claimant group to negotiate a settlement of perceived treaty breaches by the Crown.

Disputes centering on mandates have dogged the treaty settlement process with the Ngapuhi settlement in Northland deadlocked over one such dispute and Ngati Kahu body, also in the Far North, sacked over another such wrangle.

The covering letter from the Office of Treaty Settlements explained that neither they nor Te Puni Kokiri has a database that holds information about evidence of mandates provided by treaty settlement entities.

Voting results on mandates since 2000 were provided. This table listed 78 groups with columns showing numbers on the tribe’s register, number of valid votes, percent of register participating, and percent of votes in favour.

Fourteen of these groups provided no data.

The letter tried to cover for the patchiness of the data supplied by saying that the information had not been collected consistently, pointing out that different groups did mandate votes in different ways – some postal ballots and some a show of hands at a meeting.

Another surprise was that data provided for the 100 mandated bodies showed that only 27,569 valid votes were cast, which is less than five percent of the 598,605 who claimed Maori ancestry in the 2013 census.

Mandate votes regularly claim really high percentages in support. Eighteen of those 100 groups claimed a mandate vote of 100 percent support, a figure unheard of in a regular vote.

However, closer inspection showed that the percent of those on the register who voted was frequently less than 30 percent, and the register was a fraction of the claimed tribal population.

For instance, Heretaunga Tamatea in Hastings had 97 percent in favour with 101 valid votes, with no number provided for people on the register.

But the Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga Tamatea population was listed at around 10,000 in the 2013 census.

The two main factors determining the amount of financial redress are today's tribal population and land area "lost" (mostly sold), according to a letter from the Office of Treaty Settlements to the Heretaunga-Tamatea claimant body, dated September 5, 2013.

That letter included an appendix that showed census figures were used to determine tribal population.

Heretaunga-Tamatea received $100-million, based on a population of around 10,000 and a land area sold of a substantial part of one million hectares, based on 101 valid votes and no evidence of a tribal register.

A total of $3-billion in financial redress has been paid out on the basis of fewer than 10,000 votes nationwide, and these payouts are touted as durable full and final settlements of historical grievances.

The National Party tries to claim that it is leading an effective and responsible government. Never has so much been given to so few with such fanfare.

2 comments:

Bob Culver said...

There must be many who realise the situation. Of course the maori camp does not draw attention to it.
The problem is that for most it is too dangerous to be non PC and comment critically on anything maori. All the civil servants and others involved have to consider their careers. Quite apart from the present climate, they never know who future boss’ may be. And the legal profession do not want to lose clients or potential clients, or to eliminate lucrative future work created by anomalies

Fiona said...

This is something that has always bothered me. What happens when people of Maori descent claim that the Govt was negligent in the way and to whom it paid its settlements, so the whole process starts all over again.