Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mike Butler: Co-governance shambles for HB

A two-pronged push is under way in Hawke’s Bay to create a race-based local government shambles that includes tribal appointees on both a Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee and a Maori board. The Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee, a co-governance body on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, has existed since April 10, 2012, although legislation to legitimise the panel is still going through Parliament. A Maori board is included in the Local Government Commission’s latest proposal to amalgamate five local bodies in Hawke’s Bay.

Bear in mind a democratic country, government, or political system, is governed by representatives who are elected by the people, and a democratic process is based on the idea that everyone should have equal rights and should be involved in making important decisions.

Both the Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee and the Maori board comprise appointees on a 50/50 Maori-non-Maori basis. The experience with these 50/50 “treaty partnership” bodies is a 100 percent pro-Maori outcome.

The Local Government Commission notes that it is not able to propose the establishment of Maori wards to which Maori roll voters would elect representatives, and is also not able to propose the establishment of an independent Maori board, such as the one in Auckland, which was specifically provided for by the legislation that established the new Auckland Council.(1)

Co-governance proponents airily refer to partnership allegedly promised by the treaty but any look at the Treaty of Waitangi, whether Maori text or official English, shows that the word “partnership” does not appear. Neither is there anything in the three articles, preamble and postscript that anything like partnership was intended.

A synopsis of the bill of the Parliament website says the 50/50 Maori/non-Maori Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee is to give effect to government commitments on natural resource management already made in treaty settlements with two northern Hawke's Bay tribal entities -- Ngati Pahauwera and Maungaharuru-Tangitu Hapu.(2)

The set-up of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee gives a glimpse of what a Maori board would look like.

The Maungaharuru-Tangitu Trust, Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust, Tuhoe Te Uru Taumatua, Ngati Tuwharetoa Hapu Forum Trust, Mana Ahuriri Incorporated, Ngati Hineuru Iwi Incorporated, Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa, Ngati Ruapani ki Waikaremoana: each appoint a member while He Toa Takitini appoints two members.

The nine-member Hawke’s Bay Regional Council must appoint 10 members who must be councillors or others appointed under clause 31(3) of Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002) (Part 2, Clause 11).

There are 105,648 voters enrolled in the Napier-Hastings area with 90,979 on the general roll and 14,669 on the Maori roll. Who do these tribal entities represent?

The Maungaharuru-Tangitu Trust hails from area around Te Pohue on the Taupo road and claims 100 members, the Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust is based in Mohaka up the road to Wairoa and claims 6000 members, Tuhoe Te Uru Taumatua is based in the Urewera region and claims 33,000 members; while Ngati Tuwharetoa Hapu Forum Trust is from Taupo and claims 37,000 members;

But the remaining entities, Mana Ahuriri Incorporated from Napier, Ngati Hineuru Iwi Incorporated from Te Haroto, Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa from Mahia-Wairoa, Ngati Ruapani ki Waikaremoana from south of Lake Waikaremoana, and He Toa Takitini, Hastings and southern Hawke’s Bay; have no details of membership on their websites.

Moreover, although the Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust claims 6000 members it is quite clear that these 6000 members do not reside at Mohaka and quite likely live throughout New Zealand and all around the world.

The result is that 10 newly formed groups out of the 14,669 Maori roll voters in Napier and Hastings have been given the right to appoint their representatives to share power on a 50/50 basis with non-tribal representatives of the other 90,979 enrolled voters in the area.

How could this set-up possibly reflect a democratic system governed by representatives who are elected by the people based on the idea that everyone should have equal rights and should be involved in making important decisions?

Hastings GP David Tipene-Leach has already indicated that He Toa Takitini wants to change the name of Hastings to Heretaunga and Clive to Waipureku.

What will the 105,648 enrolled voters in Hastings and Napier think if these appointees push for a multi-million dollar wish list resembling the Auckland Maori Statutory Board’s $295-million package -- that included compulsory teaching of Maori in all Auckland schools, a naming protocol in Maori, financial literacy programmes to promote Maori engagement in trade delegations, as well as foreign direct investment, innovation and export.

What will Hastings and Napier voters think when “mana whenua” provisions start to appear in regional documents that the Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee oversees under the Resource Management Act 1991.

Provisions such as these in Auckland added a $5500 tribal fee to building consents concerning 3661 sites of "value to mana whenua" spread throughout the Auckland isthmus.

There is no means of telling the quality of the appointees on the planning committee or the Maori board if it ever gets off the ground because they are appointees and are only responsible to the person or entity that appointed them.

For instance, Mana Ahuriri has a trustee who as a fisheries guardian faced charges of making a false or misleading statement to fisheries officers.(3)

The Local Government Commission pointed out "because the committee is the result of the treaty settlement process, any future changes to its role and responsibilities will have to be agreed between all the parties to the settlement."(4)

This means that even though the closing date for submissions on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee bill is January 31, the only changes that may be made are by agreement by the Crown and the 10 tribal entities involved, and after all, the committee has been up and running for nearly three years.

Even though a submission may be futile, put one in anyway, and phone your MP.

And because the Maori board is part of the Local Government Commission’s amalgamation proposal, if you live in Hawke’s Bay, the shambles that a Maori board will bring is sufficient reason to vote against amalgamation.

1. Position Paper: Hawke’s Bay Reorganisation, Local Government Commission, November 2014.
2. Hawke’s Bay Regional Planning Committee Bill 2014,
3. Maori fishing guardian faces charges,
4. Position Paper: Hawke’s Bay Reorganisation, Local Government Commission, November 2014.


Unknown said...

It’s not only a shambles Mike, it’s a tragedy
and one which having been arranged in a secret settlement deal with Chris Finlayson cannot now be undone by the majority.
What we now need in this country is a revolution to install Democracy
that is one person = one equal vote.

Bill Mockridge

Anonymous said...

The Treaty’s simple black letter clauses were never intended to create a “living document” or to be a blueprint for an ongoing racial partnership. As Alan Everton reminds us, “the Treaty was a treaty of cession, and like all such was concerned with rights and territory, with defining what rights and territory were held or ceded by the contracting parties.”

Article I ceded sovereignty to the Crown “absolutely and without reservation.” If the use of “tino rangatiratanga” in Article II of the Maori Treaty text is capable of being stretched to mean that chiefly authority was to be preserved under the Crown’s governance, surely the relevant clause would have mentioned only “chiefs.”

In fact, Article II guarantees “Te tino rangatiratanga/full authority over their lands and other property [the correct translation in 1840]” not only to the chiefs, but to “ki nga tangata katoa of Niu Tirani” that is, “to all the people of New Zealand.” From the moment the Treaty was signed, “all the people of New Zealand” also meant non-Maori.

The missionaries who drafted the Maori language Treaty text (fluent Maori speakers all) would have been well aware of the Maori words “Hoa” which means variously “companion, friend, partner” and “Whakahoa” which translates as “companionship, friendship, partnership.”

Had the Crown’s objective been to create a racial partnership, we would expect this to have been fully explored in Article I using the word “Whakahoa.” The “tino rangatiratanga” of Article II was in fact a word coined by the missionaries to denote property ownership.

Correctly construed, Article II contains the same undertaking in both English and Maori: a guarantee of property rights to ”all the people of New Zealand” under the sovereign power acknowledged in Article I as henceforth prevailing.

Any right to “manage their own affairs” which Maori in either an individual or collective capacity might enjoy stemming from Article II is the same right accorded to all New Zealand citizens: the right to ownership and control of personal property.

Should doubt remain that the Treaty did not form a “partnership,” Article III grants to the “Natives [not just to the chiefs] all the rights and privileges of British subjects.” Clearly, individual Maori could not enjoy all the rights of the English, yet continue to be subject to chiefly rule as well.

In 1922, Sir Apirana Ngata summarised the effect of the Treaty of Waitangi with considerable clarity, finality, and certainty: “Article I of the Treaty transfers all chiefly authority to the Queen forever, and the embodiment of that authority is now the New Zealand Parliament. For that reason, all demands for absolute Maori authorities are nothing more than wishful thinking.”

There can be no possibility that the Treaty of Waitangi formed a sovereignty partnership. Having signed the Treaty, the chiefs became not partners, but subjects of the Crown, as did all other Maori. As subjects of the Crown – that is, New Zealand citizens – all those descended in part from the tangata whenua are today entitled to the same rights as non-Maori citizens: no less, and certainly no more.