Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mike Butler: Treaty negotiator pay update

A new list published today of amounts paid to treaty negotiators that Winston Peters got from Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson may be compared with a similar list from 2013 to see differences, gaps, with one amount being less than two years ago.

Finlayson provided a breakdown of the amounts paid to Government-appointed Crown negotiators for each year since 2008, in response to a Parliamentary written question from Peters.

Details released by Finlayson showed $7.8m was given to 13 individual negotiators, with several former ministers and MPs paid large sums for work on treaty settlements.

The list, which covers payments from 2008 to provided this year, as reported by Fairfax, included:
Rick Barker $361,277.

Michael Dreaver $2.2m

Sir Douglas Graham $166,135

Ross Philipson $1.6m

Pat Snedden - unspecified large six figure sum

John Wood - ditto

Patsy Reddy - ditto

Paul Swain $611,084.

Fran Wilde $87,000 for 2009 and 2010. (1)
Notice that Sir Douglas Graham was recorded as earning less than the amount posted in 2013. The earnings of Pat Snedden, John Wood, and Dame Patsy Reddy are not disclosed. Jim Bolger, Sir Wira Gardiner, John Isles, Tukoroirangi Morgan, and James Willis are not even on the list despite being reported in 2013.

The 2013 list:
Rick Barker $48,660

Jim Bolger $29,912

Michael Dreaver $1.5m

Sir Wira Gardiner $85,710

Sir Doug Graham $186,901

John Isles $48,056

Tukoroirangi Morgan $439,085

Ross Philipson $1,095,214

Patsy Reddy $568,917

Pat Snedden $679,808

Paul Swain $272,879

Fran Wilde $98,062

James Willis $17,106 (2)
Peters said in a media release posted on the Scoop website:
To begin with, following a request from New Zealand First, the Minister did not submit the complete list of expenditure for government-appointed Crown Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiators, and he needs to explain why not. 
However, more particularly, how does he explain how one negotiator received, over just seven years, over $2,264,000 and in three of those years over $400,000 for each year? 
Another negotiator, over another seven-year period, picked up $1,550,000. The public will want to know just what sort of complexity justifies those extraordinary costs. (3)
Prime Minister John Key said that people acting as conduits on the Government's behalf had been "very successful", and Key said the payments were "money well spent".
I think if you look at the overall cost of settling Treaty claims, it's in the billions, so paying a few people to be special negotiators for us makes sense.(1)
A bit of context is required to show what is going on.

1. The purpose of treaty settlement negotiations is to settle allegations of Crown misbehaviour.

2. Those who allegedly suffered at the hands of a misbehaving Crown are long gone.

3. The claimants around the negotiating table may be related to those long-gone people.

4. Claimants and the negotiator haggle over the amount of financial redress, place names to change, and co-governance deals.

5. Money the common goal of both claimants and negotiators.

1. 'Colossal, unjustified' payments to Treaty negotiators. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/71018444/colossal-unjustified-payments-to-treaty-negotiators
2. Treaty cases earn top dollar for 'top team’ http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8314679/Treaty-cases-earn-top-dollar-for-top-team
3. Treaty Negotiations Minister Needs to Get a Grip. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1508/S00154/treaty-negotiations-minister-needs-to-get-a-grip.htm


Martin O Dealy said...
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Why does this information not surprise me? Why has there been incomplete full disclosure....what is the Government hiding/afraid of? What will happen next? How can such large payments to individuals be justified? What did the individuals produce or do that was so valuable? How can the payers and the recipients ever be held accountable? Can I join the queue and receive payments on a similar scale for dealing with grievances that are as nebulous as difficult or as impossible to substantiate?

Anonymous said...
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This confirms my impression that the Treaty industry benefits a very tiny clique of those privileged few who can milk the system while most Maori see little of the goodies squeezed out of the taxpayer. Are Maori votes worth so much that this iniquitous process is allowed to continue? When will we be one people?

Alan GAWITH said...
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The list of the so-called negotiators as stated contains several retired politicians and a number of other unknown entities many of whom have labeled themselves "consultant" - the magic title that somehow entitles them to charge megabucks for something a kindergarten child could do, i.e., say "yes". It's almost impossible to trust a politician (most couldn't lie straight in bed) so why would a retired politician be any better? Clearly, for example, Douglas Graham (Sir) has been found wanting in that regard being, at best, careless with other people's money.
Unfortunately, we don't know what "negotiations" take place in secret behind closed doors until a settlement of the claim rubber stamped by the inaptly named Waitangi Tribunal has been reached. I'm probably not alone in holding the suspicion that such negotiations are never about merit but quantum only. How else could a multi-million dollar award be made to the descendants of that murderous, plundering, man eating thug, Te Rauparaha!!!

Ed Higg said...
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Michael Dreaver - good law-abiding citizen? The highest paid Treaty negotiator. This from NZ Herald: "Miriama Kamo and Mike Dreaver have pleaded guilty to four charges under the Building Act".

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