Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sarah Taylor: Race-based plan in HB merger

A race-based Regional Planning Committee imposed upon the Hawke's Bay Regional Council by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has been included in the proposed five-council Hawke's Bay amalgamation without scrutiny or debate.

Residents of Hawke’s Bay have a postal vote starting August 24, 2015, to decide whether or not the Hastings, Napier, Wairoa, Central Hawke’s Bay councils, and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, should merge as a single council with a regional planning committee, a Maori Board, and a natural resources board.

Inclusion of the regional planning committee and a Maori board in the final proposal for amalgamation in Hawke’s Bay would bring race-based representation to local government in the region by stealth, when this style of representation is heavily opposed elsewhere in New Zealand.

The regional planning committee, which is supposed to be made up of 10 iwi appointees and 10 councillors, is up and running despite the regional council having only nine councillors and despite the fact that the bill legalising this committee has not been passed. The iwi appointees are full voting committee members.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Planning Committee Bill, to create co-governance stipulated in local tribal group Ngati Pahauwera's Deed of Settlement, is a radical bill which delivers, under the guise of "cultural redress", permanent co-management over natural resources in Hawke's Bay to nine local treaty settlement groups.

Ngati Pahauwera's treaty settlement also suggests that co-governance may also be extended to land zoning and use. This happened in Auckland, with building consents, with applicants required to pay 19 tribal groups as part of the process.

Regional councillor Christine Scott said: "This is no sub-committee. It is a full committee of council with decision-making powers. It is the only decision maker on all matters pertaining to resource management plans. While its decisions are in the form of recommendations to council, council cannot amend them".

Councillor Scott is able to talk with authority over the powers of the committee, because the committee was established in 2012 ahead of the legislation.

Legislation would entrench the committee so that ratepayers have no democratic mechanism for controlling iwi/hapu appointees and no mechanism to discharge the committee except by unanimous agreement of those iwi/hapu.

Tribal appointees do not have to stand for office, nor can ratepayers vote them out of office. This is not only profoundly undemocratic but threatens to disrupt the management of the region's natural resources as iwi/hapu unite in collective self-interest.

These groups represent just nine small treaty settlement groups and not the 34,662 people with some Maori ancestry who live in Hawke's Bay. However there is nothing preventing the committee being stacked through the democratically elected seats, as iwi/hapu members also vote on the general ratepayer roll.

Alarming are the conflict of interest provisions in the bill's schedule which states "a member of the planning committee is not precluded from … voting on a matter merely because - the economic, social , cultural and spiritual value of an iwi or hapu.. are advanced by … participation by the member".

Yet members of the post-settlement governance entities who put their people on the committee are solely concerned with the interests of their beneficiaries with no mandate to consider the broader interests of Hawke's Bay residents.

For instance, Ngati Kahungunu, represented by claimant group He Toa Takitini, wants "tangata whenua" interests in water incorporated into the regional plan while saying Ngati Kahungunu have never relinquished their rights and interests in water.

Unbelievably, the regional council made a submission on behalf of local ratepayers in favour of the bill. Why weren't we notified or consulted?

This bill that establishes special legal entitlements based on race drives an artificial wedge between citizens with Maori ancestry and those without.

Furthermore, New Zealand is a founding member of the United Nations whose charter forbids discrimination on the grounds of race. Did our elected representatives, our councillors and MPs, consider that when voting in favour of this profoundly undemocratic bill.

Opposition to this race-based committee is a good reason to vote “no” to amalgamation. This would give the Treaty Negotiations Minister a message that he should drop this pernicious bill.


Jigsaw said...

Welcome to the new New Zealand. What you describe is a disgusting travesty of democracy but you will not hear a peep from either of the main political parties who think the whole thing just fine. Time to fight this!

Anonymous said...

There should be screeds of objections to this astonishing situation.
Time for all good kiwis to rise up and confront this shocking anti democratic imposition.

Barry said...

More NZ official racism!

Hone said...

Nowhere will there be a definition of what/who the people are who are described as maori.
Given that the race of these people is very mixed, it really amounts to a culture/tribal driven preference, not a race based one if the definition of the race is not provided in the legislation. Why not? Because to do so would expose the stupidity of using race as a way to divide people, when we are all mixed-race.And if it is tribal-based, why not give preferential treatment to other tribal groups such as catholics, over-50's bike riders or who-ever? Why not? because that would be plain stupid too.It is hard to imagine such stupidity exists in a modern society, almost as stupid as Greeks living beyond their means then blaming everyone else for their being broke.We just have to get used to the fact that NZ is still living in the tribal/colonial backwardness of the past.

James said...

Another nail in the coffin

Anonymous said...

National is so keen on "doing deals", it is hurling us back into the dark ages. Feudalism rules and we will be the serfs. As far as a legacy goes, Key's flag won't fly very high compared to the long lasting damage he and Finlayson are doing to our egalitarian way of life.

Anonymous said...

Findlayson is outwardly creating a situation where the only outcome is racial conflict it isoverdue time that he is politically kneycapped.

Anonymous said...

John Key will go down in NZ History as a traitor to New Zealand way of life.t

Torqueingheads said...

With an average vote against of around 85% to every proposed permanent, unelected, unaccountable Maori ward in the country, it beggars belief these politicians just don't get it. I believe Finlayson and Key are well meaning people, but completely out of touch and oblivious to the racial tension these debacles will cause.

Peter Pearson said...

Key and Findlayson are NOT well-meaning people. They are devious, under-handed and cunning. They know exactly what they are doing and the divisions that they are creating are deliberate. Not only will N.Z.'s current population be irretrieveably divided, uncontrolled immigration will further exajerbate the division of the population. The rapid decline of our economy under Key and co. will make matters much worse. The comments by Anonymous says it all.

Dave said...

Long after Key retires to his beach house in Hawaii and Finlayson has a high paid desk job at the UN we in Godzone will be left with the legacy of all the race based legislation and separatism that they and it must be said most of their Parliamentary mates have forced upon us. The real blame lays at the feet of ordinary Kiwis whom a great majority oppose this type of legislation but have just let it happen. Why ... because we have been brainwashed in all our educational institutions and media that the lie being perpetrated is real, and secondly we as a whole don't have the fortitude to do anything about it, as the old saying goes 'you reap what you sow' . NZ needs a dynamic charismatic new leader and party support who will stand up and tell the truth, until then its lets all hold hands and sleep walk over the cliff like lemmings.