Saturday, February 22, 2014
Mike Butler: Ngapuhi dollar amount declines
The dollar amount for any Ngapuhi settlement is declining after a prediction yesterday from Labour MP Shane Jones that the government offer would be $250-million -- when the total demanded by claimants on Waitangi Day was up to $600-million.(1) From the Far North, Jones is of Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto descent, as well as having Croatian, Welsh and English ancestry. Both Te Aupouri and Ngai Takoto have signed deeds of settlement. Jones even worked out for Ngapuhi the amount they would lose each year by not settling.
Without the Waitangi Tribunal's tortured arguments, the Ngapuhi claim for such a vast sum of taxpayers money cannot be justified. Note also that this claim is being negotiated before the Waitangi Tribunal has completed its inquiry into Ngapuhi claims. The government has made a decision without regarding the inquiry.
Why can Ngapuhi claims not be justified. The story of the settlement of Auckland is of land sales before 1840, an investigation of those sales soon after 1840, more land sales to 1865, and even more land sales from 1866 to 1873, and beyond, according to the tribunal’s 1996 paper on the Auckland claims district, District 1. This area includes the tip of the North Island from Waikato heads excluding the Coromandel Peninsula.(2)
Issues cited in that report were the creation of the Native Land Court to resolve conflicting claims resulting from the multiple ownership of land, the system in which land ownership was confirmed to 10 owners who regarded the land as their own and sold it instead of behaving as trustees, the role of Maori assessors, reserves, and surveys.
There was also the 1845 armed conflict led by Hone Heke, the first to sign the treaty, that included the burning of Kororareka (Russell), and four battles over one year resulting in 176 deaths and no confiscations. That was at a time when Maori heavily outnumbered settlers. One would think that taking up arms against the government would be a breach of the treaty.
That’s it. By 1996, there were no other issues. Anything else that comes up is likely to be alleged instances of using alleged sacred land in a non-sacred way, public works takings that targeted Maori land, rates on Maori land, and of course the gob-smacking claim that Ngapuhi never ceded sovereignty despite overwhelming written eye-witness evidence that they did.
Another hoary old justification cited either by Jones or Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson (impossible to tell from the way this Northern Advocate story was written) is: "When you look at all the negative statistics - poor health, education, employment, crime - Northland and Ngapuhi are at the forefront and (the settlement) will help to overcome all those negatives and help Ngapuhi move forward positively.”
The "improve negative social indicators" argument has proved to be wrong because negative Maori social indicators have become more negative as treaty settlements have progressed.(3)
And, as Rodney Hide pointed out in a column in the National Business Review, $500-million (if that is the amount Ngapuhi settle for, which is looking highly unlikely) that’s not even a week’s spending on social welfare. So how could a one-off payment of some amount less than a week’s social welfare spending would “lift all of Northland”?(4)
Hide also pointed out that it’s not the joblessness that creates all the poor health, education, employment, and crime in Northland. Joblessness is just another feature of the blight
“Newspapers, TV and radio isolate the one feature of deprivation they wrongly perceive as under government control and declare that the blight’s cause. They then cry for something to be done about it. Provide the jobs, and the blight will clear”, he wrote.
But “it’s industriousness and entrepreneurship that make for jobs – not government. And Northland suffers a general absence of both”.
The problem is the high concentration of violent, drug-addled, criminals, who don’t work, don’t have stable relationships, and don’t look after their kids, and the offer of a job won’t fix their rotten lives, he wrote.
1. Iwi could earn $13m a year – Jones, Radio NZ, February 21, 2014. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/236844/iwi-could-earn-$13m-a-year-jones
2. Rangahaua Whanui District 1 Auckland, Daamen, Hamer, Rigby, http://www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/waitangi-tribunal/documents/rangahaua-research-reports/auckland-part-1/view
3. Never-ending settlements. http://www.nzcpr.com/never-ending-settlement-predictions-confirmed/#more-9487
4. Treaty deal won't bring prosperity to Northland, National Business Review, http://m.nbr.co.nz/article/treaty-deal-wont-bring-prosperity-northland-dc-151826
at 4:48 PM