Friday, October 5, 2012

Mike Butler: Try discussing Maori privilege

Try talking about Maori privilege in polite society. You will be called a racist and reminded of all the poverty, bad housing, educational disadvantage, and general under-performance that Maori have been made famous for. This is a story of separation and privilege that we all must face some day.

In 2003, in a report commissioned by Te Puni Kokiri (the Government’s Maori affairs department), the Institute of Economic Research said that Maori were paying slightly more in tax than they received in transfers --if they paid $2.404 in tax they received $2.312 in social benefits.

In 2004, ACT Party members were howled down for releasing a study that showed Maori received $7-billion in government benefits every year while contributing only $2-billion in tax. That report took into account all social spending found that taxpayer spending on people who identified as Maori. That figure is likely to have increased, not diminished.

And in 2011, Te Puni Kokiri advised Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples that yes indeed welfare payments to Maori exceed the tax contribution that Maori make to the economy.

For NZIER, economist Alex Sundakov said that his conclusion, in 2003, that Maori paid they $2.404 in tax and received $2.312 in social benefits, “challenges the view that Maori are a burden on New Zealand’s taxpayers”. But the fact remained that tax paid by the 71 percent of working age Maori not receiving a benefit in 2003 more or less supported the 29 percent working age Maori on welfare, and goes no further. Roads, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure are paid for out of tax coming from elsewhere. If Te Puni Kokiri assertions of welfare received is greater than tax paid are correct, the situation has deteriorated since then.

How could that be, especially since treaty settlements have created a whole raft of tribal corporations not shy about proclaiming how well they are doing? One reason is that the new tribal corporations operate as charities and pay no or greatly reduced tax.

The Inland Revenue page on Maori organisations says that from April 1, 2003, any organisation that administers a marae situated on a Maori reservation has been able to qualify for an income tax exemption as a charity, as long as it uses its funds to administer and maintain the marae's physical structure and land, or for charitable purposes. The tax exemption is further detailed in Part 1, Section 5 of the Charities Act 2005. Moreover, Maori authorities have had a special tax status for a long time. The rate was 19.5 percent, reduced to 17.5 percent from the 2012 income year.

The New Zealand Maori Council’s strident claim for water rights, and for a special “shares-plus” consideration should government power companies be part-privatised, demonstrated that Maori organisations had the power to delay and possibly overturn government policy. Where does this power come from?

There are four nation-wide networks pushing a separate, preferential deal for Maori. There are the Maori electorates and their MPs, there is Te Puni Kokiri, there is the four-tier bureaucracy with the Maori Council at the top, and there is the growing network of neo-tribal elites created through the treaty settlement process that has been going on since 1989.

In the oldest network, the separate Maori roll, the Maori Party captured four out of seven Maori seats in 2005, and held them in 2008, entering into a confidence and supply agreement with the John Key-led National-led government. With just 2.39 percent share of the party vote in 2008, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples got Key to fly the Maori nationalist flag, sign up to the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, replace the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 with legislation that enables tribes to claim coastal areas, and now push for a treaty-based constitution.

The government’s Maori affairs department is the second network. Political appointees and employees working in Te Puni Kokiri control policy that affects Crown-Maori relationships, the protection and promotion of Maori rights, interests and development opportunities in cultural, natural and other resources. This is possibly the single biggest reason that the government-driven Maori privilege behemoth continues irrespective of any political administration and would seem unstoppable.

The third network is topped by the Maori Council, which established a pattern for extracting lucrative concessions from the government first by seeking an injunction in the High Court, in 1987, citing section 9 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act, which said: “Nothing in the Act shall permit the Crown to act in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi”. The injunction succeeded, so the pattern was repeated for commercial fisheries, radio spectrum, and is currently being used for water rights and soon for the 700MHz spectrum radio spectrum that the government wants to sell for between $500-million and $1-billion.

The process of treaty settlements since 1989 has created tribal elites, the fourth network. These new elites claim an ancestral connection to groups that existed in 1840 but are new creations that have appeared since 1989. Members of each one of these groups have established personal relationships with people in the Waitangi Tribunal, the Office of Treaty Settlements, as well as with an array of government ministers and politicians.

Many of the 77 such governance entities and claimant groups, listed on the Office of Treaty Settlements website in 2012, have coalesced into the Iwi Leadership Group which expect on-going special deals from the government, as became apparent in demands for rights over the foreshore and seabed, water, and air.

The spending itemised in this paragraph shows that race-based funding in 2011 cost at least $1.324-billion. This comprises $280-million a year to settle historical grievances since $1.4-billion has been set aside over five years from 2011 for this purpose. Budget 2011 showed that $79-million was set aside for treaty negotiations, and $10.519-million kept the Waitangi Tribunal running. Co-governance of the Waikato River alone costs $16-million a year. The budget for Te Puni Kokiri was $208.54-million which included $43-million for Whanau Ora. Devolved social services may cost $730.8-million a year.

Not included are welfare, health, education, superannuation, as well as community development, business assistance, resource management, local governance,and so on, so the total figure would be much higher.

Statistics New Zealand in 2005 defined ethnicity as the ethnic group or groups that people identify with or feel they belong to, and noted that people can belong to more than one ethnic group. But to be on the Maori electoral roll and gain access to education scholarships, evidence of Maori descent is required.

If Statistics New Zealand adopted the electoral roll or Maori scholarship criteria for “Maoriness”, the Maori population would immediately shrink and the woeful welfare, education, and crime rates would merge with the socio-economic data of the rest of the population.

Successive governments have naively handed over power and wealth to a few handfuls of people who remain determined to retain privilege by asserting separateness. As they say at NASA – Houston, we have a problem.


Anonymous said...

"Try talking about Maori privilege in polite society. You will be called a racist and reminded of all the poverty, bad housing, educational disadvantage, and general under-performance that Maori have been made famous for." Actually Mike, increasingly you don't get that response - there is a definite increase in those who are tired of the whole Iwi gravy train. The problem is - people talk about the problem but no one seems to have the courage to make a stand

Mike Butler said...

Anonymous, you might like to visit to sign the Declaration of Equality, where we are taking a stand.

Anonymous said...

Great but frightening article, if the average kiwi was aware of what is really going im sure things would change real fast, how do we get more people to visit this site, or get the truth out there.

Anonymous said...

The average Kiwi is not aware of this. Complicit acceptance of this starts right from when children start at school and the foundation for the grievance industry is laid. To question any aspect of the development of New Zealand and Maori (whichever way they happen to be spelling it this week) is met with ridicule and distaste by teacher who are themselves part of this disturbing cult of half truths and social engineering. I discovered this as a ten year old. Since then I come across numerous people who for lack of a better description fall all over themselves to idolise a culture that is largely invented on the spot and bears no resemblance to what Pre-European Maori represented.
Once you get to Uni it's even worse. As the old saying goes, if you say it often enough and for long enough even lies become truth.
In fact I would advocate that many people presented with this information would simply not be able to comprehend its impact. Such anomalies will never be highlighted in an open forum and for this reason will never be addressed. This is a key strategy for keeping that gravy train rolling along.

Paul Callister said...

'If Statistics New Zealand adopted the electoral roll or Maori scholarship criteria for “Maoriness”, the Maori population would immediately shrink and the woeful welfare, education, and crime rates would merge with the socio-economic data of the rest of the population.'

This point is incorrect. Statistics New Zealand has two measures of Maori, descent and ethnicity. In the 2006 census there were 643,977 pople who recorded Maori ancestry. But a smaller number record Maori ethnicity, 565,329 (ie some people with ancestry do not claim ethnicity). If one uses the filter of recording both ancestry and ethnicity the number is 522,579. The number of Maori would decline dramatically only if the now abandoned electoral roll measure of 'half or more' Maori was used.

Anonymous said...

IMO, we gave John Key far more credit for commonsense than he is due. He's a self confessed 'big picture' guy, so many small concessions to Maori activists and the resultant 'unintended consequences' appear to mean little to him - yet! But appearances are deceiving. Remember that his mother was a Jew - now there's a displaced race if there ever was one! So he has a subconcious empathy with the Maori grievance industry. The word grievance was invented for Jews, alright already. They haven't been happy for 2000 years so Maori grievance has a long way to go

JK's made serious money (outside NZ) so all that's left for him at this stage of his career is big time (Hollywood) fame & recognition. When by cleverness, stealth and to his satisfaction, he has shredded the fabric of the NZ that fostered him, he'll go live in Hawaii, his conscience appeased, and entertain - mark my words!

(Incidentally, Jim Bolger, another hater of 'Ye old England' and Maori grievance empathiser, had the same confusion and misplaced loyalties originating from generations of Irish English conflict. Understandable, but wrong)

Chris Findlayson, Jim Bolger and JK: If you look at the subconscious drivers of each man, that's where you'll find the cause of confused, compulsive and irrational decision making. Future voters (if there is a future) need to be much more selective about their MP's

Anonymous said...

Odette wrote: "Complicit acceptance of this starts right from when children start at school and the foundation for the grievance industry is laid."

Correction: it starts in kindergarten.

Go to any kindergarten and ask to read their Charter. Bang smack in the middle of it you will find references to the bogus "partnership" activists and dupes claim was established by the Treaty of Waitangi.

You will probably notice a copy of the Treaty on the wall somewhere.

On the wall you will also notice large posters often referred to by staff, teaching the children how to count to 10 in Maori.

This is nothing more than an indoctrination in the "one country, two peoples" Treatyist propaganda claim.


Anonymous said...

I suggest that Christopher Finlayson has two main drivers.

Firstly, his empathy with the Treaty Grievance Industry is due to his homosexuality.

The Marxist-Leninist "Structural analysis" narrative of "Race, gender, class, sexual preference" casts society into "Oppressor" and "Oppressed" groups.

Once you have been helped to see that you are part of an "oppressed" group your sympathies will naturally go to other groups you have been told also fall into this category.

The other driver is racial guilt.

Gramscian Marxists in the academy deliberately subject their students to a destructive criticism of Western society and culture intended to induce "cultural pessimism" and persuade intellectuals from the dominant groups to "switch sides."

Finlayson would have bought into the moral preening opportunities on offer for 'saving' the Maori at law school.

Lenin once referred to the liberal dupes of Communism beavering away in their stupidity to advance the socialst agenda (segmenting society into mutually antagonistic groups leading to social breakdown and eventual socialist control) as "useful idiots."

He must have been thinking of Chris Finlayson when he wrote that.

Argus said...

The answer is both obvious and impossible. In NZ we need just two people: the Citizen and the Guest.

Guests of course are simply all non-Citizens.

The Citizen is defined as 'born here or naturalised' and the legislation we need would protect the Rights of the Individual—with no references to colour, racial derivation, creed (or any other artificial distinctions).

As it stands rights apply 'equally' to all, but overriding privileges can be granted to the select by the powerful enough. Not good—but it's what we have.

Obvious, I said, meaning total equality before/within the law; and impossible — simply no way, not in our present systems of government.

1stNationz said...

This is the typical narrow-minded thought and rhetoric we've come to expect from rednecks posing as social commentators. The issue of the current state of Maori welfare seems to get lost in their rendition of the "Maori Welfare State" which apparently "needs" to be brought to everyone's attention. If a business department was performing poorly a manager would allocate time or extra resources to remedy the situation, likewise as Maori social stats suggest the current state of Maori affairs warrants National investment. Do not mistake equality for justice, keep in mind that these transfer payments may include Treaty Settlements which are not paid for by the taxpayer and are in response to some very real historical actions by Pakeha and the Crown. Isn't it typical that in writing their own version of events the pseudo-historians of this site fail to recognise NZs history and why Maori are in the current state they're in; instead they opt to throw stones from the cordons around the Govt ambulances at the bottom of the hill. Do not confuse Justice with Equality for "Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe".
Frederick Douglass

Mike Butler said...

For those who can't quite fathom where 1stNationz is coming from, Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive anti-slavery writing. He stood as a living counter-example to slave-holders' arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Many Northerners also found it hard to believe that such a great orator had been a slave.
Douglass wrote several autobiographies, eloquently describing his experiences in slavery.
Douglass actively supported women's suffrage. Without his approval, he became the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States as the running mate of Victoria Woodhull on the impracticable and small Equal Rights Party ticket. Douglass held multiple public offices.
Douglass was a firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant, famously quoted as saying, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."
A question for 1stNationz -- why are you applying a quote from a black American former slave to a New Zealand context, where the only slavery that existed was by Maori of other Maori?

1stNationz said...

Yes Maori had slaves Mike Butler, some Maori even had stories of genocide and infanticide, but were we the only ones on the planet? Is this "point" you're trying to make of any significance? I guess I would unite my writing with any quote in order to do good. While we're questioning each other's comments did you C&P Frederick Douglass's bio from Wikipedia in an attempt to look smart or in an attempt to make me look stupid? Wiki is generally reliable unless you're a pseudo-scientist like yourself, then its the damn bible lol. Many of the protest movements of NZ in the 60-70s were inspired in no small part by the African-American struggle against racism, (Polynesian Panthers for example)so what relevance could the plight of a Black man in a colonised country have to Maori in NZ? A lot more than your little blog has mate.

Mike Butler said...

1stNationz, your comments illustrate exactly what I said in the intro of the article above.
You called me a redneck and a pseudo-scientist and reminded me of all the disadvantage, and general under-performance that Maori have been made famous for -- and advocated more welfare.
If more welfare was the answer, all social problems in this country should have been solved long ago, as a result of the billions spent for that purpose.
The info about Frederick Douglass was an edited version of the Wikipedia entry, not used to enhance me, but to make you more understandable.
After 40 years of Black Panther inspired protest in NZ, are you happy with the results? (Think billions in treaty settlements based on bogus history, special deals for Maori on resources, co-governance, and rich tribal corporations that pay little tax).
Or do you still want to go on harping that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade?

1stNationz said...

I called you a redneck simply because you make statements like your last one. Uninformed, non-sensical and bias.
Billions in Treaty settlements?? What planet are you on? You do realise the Canterbury Finance bailout to private investors, investing money at their own risk was more than all Treaty settlements combined, i.e. Settlements just gone over fiscal envelope ($1bil). You would know this if you understood anything about Settlements but you do not.
The system you think im harping on about is actually the same system that instituted the Waitangi Tribunal, OTS, CFRT and all the legal aid. This is the so called 'gravy train' riddled with lawyers but these are the result of a process determined by the Crown not Maori, we merely went through a renaissance and demanded (protested) that the Crown do what it was obliged to do; if you think the Crown isn't obliged to do anything at all then why are they settling with Maori right now? because they know the "truth" and are scared of the Maori Illuminati? Face it in attacking settlements you're attacking the same system you're trying to defend. Long story short you think you know what the place of Maori should be but you don't know anything about them or the history of Aotearoa and all its people. So you're really basing this on nothing more than a dislike and distrust of Maori. So back to my first point: Redneck.

Mike Butler said...

Some facts for 1stNationz -- the completed settlements total is now $2.146-billion, including the Tuhoe $170-million settlement. The details are listed on a table here although the Tuhoe settlement is not included because the table was completed before that settlement was signed. The amount paid (ie released when legislation was passed) is $1.58-billion – which is just over the fiscal envelope $1-billion in 1992 dollars or $1.5-billion in 2013 dollars. The South Canterbury Finance bailout total was $1.7-billion.