Monday, July 30, 2012

Michael Coote: Treaty of Waitangi cargo cult

Like his predecessor in office Helen Clark, prime minister John Key is hoist with his own petard by sweeping Maori tribal claims to Crown assets. Ms Clark, it will be remembered, tried to face down Maori tribal claims to ownership of the foreshore and seabed. Her Labour-led  government passed the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 in order to reassert Crown ownership of our territorial waters and all below out to the twelve nautical mile limit. Her government’s legislation was its response to a Court of Appeal ruling of June 2003.

This ruling held that the Maori Land Court had jurisdiction to decide on Maori customary land title to the foreshore and seabed of the Marlborough Sounds, extending to the limits of New Zealand's territorial sea, under the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993.

Much good the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 did Ms Clark, spawning in the process the Maori  Party and earning no gratitude for all the millions of dollars of taxpayer-funded danegelding expended in building Maori tribes flash modern marae facilities up and down the country.

The experience should have been an important lesson to any subsequent New Zealand government that there is no end to Maori tribal claims under appeasement policies.

These claims have as their objective the maximum possible restoration of all alleged Maori tribal powers, rights, titles, prerogatives and sovereignty dating back from the pre-European period.

Now Mr Key is trying to make headway with his signature policy of partial selldown of state-owned enterprises as newly authorised by the Public Finance (Mixed Ownership Model) Amendment Act 2012.

This latest piece of parliamentary force majeur has the same smell of feckless hubris about it that afflicted the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004.

Maori tribal claims to freshwater ownership rights have the potential to do the sort of damage to Mr Key’s mixed ownership model that their claims to seawater ownership rights did to Ms Clark’s foreshore and seabed law.

On top of an urgent application currently before the Waitangi Tribunal about Maori ownership of water rights, in late June the Supreme Court served up its judgement over Paki v Attorney General.
Lawyer Mai Chen wrote of the court’s decision in Paki v Attorney General to favour Maori tribal claims to own a section of the Waikato River bed at Pouakani that it “opens up the potential for iwi to claim ownership rights to riverbeds.”

Mr Key’s only tactic evident so far is to go into the sort of blunt denial that was heard from Ms Clark over the foreshore and seabed.

The bizarre thing is Mr Key’s own essential role in setting up the ruin of his government’s ability to sell down state-owned assets without the Crown and by extension the New Zealand public being laid open to more legalised looting by Maori.

After all, it was Mr Key, fronted by his attorney general Christopher Finlayson who has just lost the Paki case, who replaced the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 with the outrageous Maori tribal appeasement gambit of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.

Treaty-industry lawyer Mr Finlayson in particular made a speciality of sneering at people who opposed the replacement legislation, but of greater interest was that Maori tribes took the view that they could get more benefit out of “Finlayson’s law” than the Clark-era act it superseded.

Then Mr Key let Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples sneak off secretly to New York to sign New Zealand up to the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) in April 2010 and laughed off the consequences when asked about them.

Suddenly, thanks to DRIP, every part-Maori is officially an UN-authenticated indigene with rights that precede and supervene on those of all other New Zealanders.

In his media release of the time, Mr Sharples stated, “The Declaration is entirely consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi, and our statement of support for the Declaration acknowledges the central role of the Treaty in New Zealand's past, present and future.”

In other words, there can be no finality to Maori tribal claims, which extend into the infinite future, notwithstanding the false assurances and expressions of bravado from Mr Key.

Mr Key, in cahoots with Mr Finlayson, has set off an expectation spiral among Maori tribes who intend to undertake aggressive racially motivated expansion of their rights and assets at the expense of the Crown and by extension all New Zealanders who cannot claim a Maori ancestor somewhere along the line.

If Mr Key is given to feeling some degree of frustration as his precious state-owned asset sell down runs headlong into the Treaty of Waitangi cargo cult and his attorney general loses critical race-based court cases, he need only look into the mirror to find the prime architect of his plight.

First published in the National Business Review, July 13, 2012


Ray S said...

It will quite likely be Key's downfall if he rolls over on the water issue. As you point out, not being able to prove some minute drop of maori blood puts the majority of us at a severe disadvantage. If that's not racist, I dont know what is.
What these maori council greed mongers dont seem to grasp is that by not learning from the past, they are bound in all certainty to repeat history. Perhaps that's just what we need.

Barry said...

You are exactly right. Key is a traitor to NZ.

Tom Johnson said...

Historical revisionism aided and abetted by a politicised education curricula has brainwashed New Zealanders into accepting the Maori grievance claims as fact. The stupidity of successive governments has institutionalised racism in all government institutions and set the foundation for and end to democracy and equal rights. The frightening prospect for New Zealand is Maori Sovereignty which the Key Government has foolishly encouraged by its naive signing of the United Nations Charter on Indigenous Rights. is a potential precursor of ethnic strife in New Zealand which Mai Chen in an article in the New Zealand Herald suggests could bring about violence and terrorism. Makes you wonder about the mentality of our politicians.

Anonymous said...

What is Key's motivation in kowtowing to Maori? He doesn't need the Maori Party. What is his motivation in supporting gay marriage? Most gays vote for Leftist parties. So what is motivating Key into not only selling out most New Zealanders, but in selling out his own constituents? While his constituents don't have a lot of alternatives, his motivation is very hard to understand. It is not as if he is likely prone to taking monetary bribes. And it is not even that he is motivated by power, as he has said that he isn't all that bothered about being PM. He is also savvy enough to be able to line himself up for a top international job if that's what he wants, without selling New Zealand and traditional values down the swanny. It is easy to read the motivations of most politicians, but I just can't work out what's in it for Key, let alone for National, in pursuing these unrestrained and irresponsible policies. Treasonous, even!

Mike said...

We need to look on the bright side. If the Maori claim for water is upheld, at least the battalions of men wearing blue berets up and down this country will enforce a curfew thus keeping the savages off the streets resulting in a huge reduction in burglaries, vandalism etc etc.

jh said...

"Tarian Turia : Tribes Treaty Claims 1.5% of what was taken. Settlements can't be full and final.
Nati apa Treaty Claims. Our young people have taken that settlement through and because I have particular views about settlements I've had to remain [“ “] or I'll put our young people off. But they have worked constructively with our government and they've got about
1.5% of what was taken. TT says “no government cant expect people settlements to be full and final if justice isn't served.”

Anonymous said...

I follow this topic with one eye. I see it as a contest between confusion/disbelief and backlash.
I'm interested to see who will be proved right Dr Hugh Barr or Linda "It's Rubbish!!" Clark.

Graeme said...

If Maori claim to water ownership is successful perhaps Pakeha should be only slighly less ridiculous and claim that Maori should pay a surcharge on the consumption or use of all things introduced into New Zealand since European contact.Things such as pigs,deer,trout,horses,roads,railways,boats,(except whaka),cars,petrol,electricity,consumption of beer,groceries(except kumara),buildings and houses.The list is endless much like Maori claims.

Anonymous said...

A Cargo Cult is exactly what I called it in my submission on the MCA bill, which is still a largely true description, but I now think that Maori are like spoiled children whose every wish has to be agreed to by indulgent parents (sucessive Governments) while the rest of us loose out.
Bill M