Thursday, August 29, 2013

Michael Coote: Heritage hides development favours

Auckland Council is the gift that keeps on giving, at least if you’re one of the local Maori tribes expecting to cash in on its Unitary Plan (UP). A memo to councillors and local board chairs dated July 31, 2013, from Dr Roger Blakeley, chief planning officer of Auckland Council, makes plain the privileged access Maori are being given within the decision-making process for finalising the UP.

“Throughout engagement on the draft Unitary Plan, mana whenua have repeatedly requested ‘face-to-face’ (kanohi ki te kanohi) engagement with decision-makers,” Dr Blakeley writes.

“At the governance hui held on 16 May 2013, which the mayor and deputy mayor attended, mana whenua expressed a specific desire to be further involved in decision-making on feedback submitted to the draft UP.”

“Accordingly, the mayor and deputy mayor have invited representatives of the 19 iwi authorities to present directly to a workshop held by the Auckland Plan Committee on Monday 5 August 2013.”

The memo summoned all councillors and local board chairs to attend the daylong gabfest to hear successive twenty minute presentations by these self-appointed Maori authorities.

Auckland’s elected officials were instructed to turn up because, “Mana whenua attendance shows the value that iwi place on their relationship with council.”

“The reciprocal attendance of councillors and local board chairs will reinforce to mana whenua the extent to which council values our relationship with iwi.”

The memo announced that this extraordinary meeting was to be followed up by another on Friday, August 9, for councillors and local board chairs to hear more presentations from Auckland Council’s own bureaucrats on the Maori policy to be embedded into the UP.

It’s clear from the memo that Auckland Council’s planners, mayor, and deputy mayor have been in cahoots orchestrating a situation in which Maori tribes of the Auckland region are enjoying far superior access, input, and influence concerning the UP than other Auckland community groups are receiving.

It also appears that other entities have been involved in cooking up a Maori-supremacist, neo-apartheid legal and political environment in Auckland, with the memo noting that, “The UP process to date has been well-received by mana whenua.”

“[Auckland Council] officers have been working with mana whenua since December 2011, and this joint effort is reflected in Treaty of Waitangi provisions which have received positive feedback from professional bodies and central government, as well as mana whenua.”

Translated, this means that Auckland’s residents and ratepayers are being sold down the river to appease Maori, with interfering outsiders and self-interested elites involved in this betrayal.

The memo goes on to expose various aspects of the Maori tribal wishlist regarding how the already racially-biased draft UP is to be twisted even further in their favour.

The desired grab bag includes demands for special rights to develop Maori land and Treaty settlement land.

One specific memo provision states, “Extension of 'exception' objectives to Treaty settlement land and Maori purpose zone (ie. recommendation that development is encouraged outside the rural urban boundary and in rural/coastal zones; within natural heritage overlays; does not have to be ‘in character’ with surrounding areas; provision for alternative infrastructure).”

Such privilege in development rights is racism pure and simple, and rendered even more sinister in the context of Maori land rule Notification in the draft UP that states, “Discretionary activities in the Maori land overlay will be considered without public or limited notification, or the need to obtain written approval from affected parties, unless special circumstances exist in accordance with s. 95A(4) of the RMA that make notification desirable.”

These matters relate to Maori developing their own land without regard to the rest if the community.

However, the draft UP, under the guise of protecting Maori cultural heritage, is proposing to give Auckland’s Maori tribes sweeping claims, powers and authority over land and natural resources belonging to other people and entities.

The centrality of the Maori cultural heritage theme to mana whenua Maori is reiterated in the memo.

This cossetted heritage, like the discriminatory provisions sought for developing Maori tribal lands, has potentially huge economic value.

Despite receiving fat Treaty settlements that bring collective wealth and eminence within Auckland’s economy, Auckland’s Maori tribes are demanding exclusive institutionalized privileges so that they can manipulate outcomes of Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) consenting processes in their own favour.

Mana whenua tribes will be enabled to arbitrage to their advantage between their Treaty-funded business ventures and their tribal status in RMA consenting processes.

The memo proposes:
  • Support for consultation provisions
  • Involvement in decision-making - joint management and transfer of powers
  • Water quality and allocation 
  • Resourcing for mana whenua participation

It further states that, “The full Mana Whenua and Treaty of Waitangi Feedback Report will be placed on the M drive later this week.”

Now that would make compelling reading.

First published in the NBR.


Anonymous said...

Michael wrote...

" this means that Auckland’s residents and ratepayers are being sold down the river to appease Maori, with interfering outsiders and self-interested elites involved in this betrayal."

If you substitute "NZ's" for "Auckland's" its still true.

The 'Kumara Republic' is now a reality.

This cant go well.

Barry said...

Michael, you are right!

Barry said...

Anonymous, you too are right!