Saturday, July 16, 2011
Mike Butler: Rivers of money to greedy iwi
The Waikato-Tainui settlement attracted attention last year as enabling legislation went through Parliament, partly because the tribe regarded the river as it's ancestor. I have seen no comment on the total cost to the taxpayer of the five settlements regarding the Waikato River.
A close inspection of the deeds reveals that only half of the allocated cash goes towards any actual remedial work done to clean up the river. For $190-million paid to the tribes over 27 years, the only discernible effort required in return is that five people, one from each tribe, who are neither bankrupt nor dead, should attend no fewer than two meetings a year of the Waikato River Authority. A sum of $210-million to the Waikato River Clean-Up Trust is expected to fund rehabilitation initiatives for the Waikato River.
Additional benefits to Waikato Tanui include the right of first refusal to buy the Huntly power station, and a similar right to a mining licence for the bed of the Waikato River. Some 38 properties of significance were vested in the Waikato Raupatu River Trust.
The deeds are big on poetic assertions on the spiritual meaning of the rivers to the various tribes, statutory acknowledgements by the Crown, as well as gobbledegook vision statements of the sort that appear in local authority plans. Details of the funding are:
Waikato-Tainui receive a total of $102.8-million, including a $20-million Sir Robert Mahuta endowment, a $10-million river initiatives fund, a $40-million river initiatives fund, $3-million co-management funding, and $1-million co-management funding a year for 27 years (totaling $27-million), and a $2.8-million ex-gratia payment.
Te Arawa receive a total of $29-million including a $3-million initial payment with $7-million after three months, and $1-million co-management funding a year for 19 years (totaling $19-million).
Ngâti Raukawa receive a total of $240-million including $21-million given 20 business days for the Waikato River Clean-up Trust, and $7-million a year for 27 years (totaling $189-million). Three million was given on settlement to the Raukawa Settlement Trust followed by $7m three months later, and $1-million a year for 20 years (totalling $20-million).
Ngâti Tuwharetoa appeared quite frugal with a Crown pledge to contribute towards costs incurred.
Maniapoto received a total of $29-million for the Waipa River (a tributary of the Waikato) co-governance and management. That included $3-million co-management funding paid to the Maniopoto Maori Trust Board, $7-million three months later, and $1-million co-management funding a year for 19 years (totalling $19-million).
How much will it cost to clean up the 425km long river (including the stretch south of Lake Taupo)? The river has sustained pollution from nitrogen fertilizer leachate, dairy effluent spreading, silting as a result of the removal of natural vegetation, arsenic from the Wairakei geothermal power station, as well as slightly modified human waste pumped into the river from several towns.
Attorney General Chris Finlayson and Finance Minister Bill English, of the National Party-led government that is struggling with a ballooning deficit, signed these inexplicably generous agreements. River clean-up is at most half of this deal, which looks more like a continuing river of taxpayer money to greedy iwi.
Waikato-Tainui River Deed of Settlement, http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/DocumentLibrary/WaikatoTainuiConformedDOS.pdf
Te Arawa Waikato River Co-Management Deed, http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/DocumentLibrary/TeArawaWaikatoRiverCo-ManagementDeed.pdf
Raukawa Deed in relation to a Co-management Framework for the Waikato River, http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/DocumentLibrary/RaukawaCo-managementDeed.pdf
Ngati Tuwharetoa Deed in relation to Co-Governance and Co-Management Arrangements for the Waikato River, http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/DocumentLibrary/NgatiTuwharetoaDeedMAY2010.pdf
Maniapoto Co-Governance Deed, http://nz01.terabyte.co.nz/ots/DocumentLibrary/ManiapotoCo-Governancedeed.pdf
at 8:27 PM