Monday, May 9, 2016

Mike Butler: The Waikato River taniwha tax

A taniwha tax, indigenous to New Zealand, describes payments to tribal groups to make demands disappear. A closer look at the Waikato River Five Year Report 2015 shows that 44 percent of clean-up funding went as payments to five tribes that claim deep connection to the river.

This report details $22-million worth of funding to 170 clean-up projects and also contains the Report Card that gave the catchment a C+ rating, as reported in Waikato River clean-up awaitedl

Page 5 of the report says iwi received $9,860,000 out of a total of $22,435,000 for the first four years. Waikato-Tainui received $7,644,000, Te Arawa $676,000, Raukawa $733,000, Tuwharetoa $290,000, and Maniapoto $517,000. (1)

To be fair, the purpose of every payment to each tribe is described. A total of $1.25-million of these payments went to "plans" either fisheries or management.

This river of cash to corporate iwi is on top of $212.8-million “redress” payment to the tribes by way of the Waikato River “raupatu” settlements that started with the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu (Waikato River) Settlement in 2010. (2)

That claim included allegations that the Crown allowed pollution of the river while the tribe had no control over it. The settlement has been wrapped inside high-sounding utterances about cleaning up the river, so many may think its money well spent.

The Waikato-Tainui Raupatu (Waikato River) Settlement included:
• a $20-million Sir Robert Mahuta Endowment for Waikato Endowed Colleges Trust settled on the Waikato Raupatu River Trust,

• a $50-million Rivers Initiative Fund also settled on Waikato Raupatu River Trust “to restore and protect the relationship” of Waikato-Tainui with the Waikato River,

• $1-million a year for 30 years’ co-management funding to Waikato Raupatu River Trust.

• $2.8m ex gratia payment to Waikato Raupatu River Trust for costs.
Te Arawa received $10-million plus $1-million a year for co-management for 19 years, Raukawa received $31-million plus $1-million a year for 20 years, and Maniapoto received $10-million plus $1-million a year for 20 years. Tuwharetoa received a pledge from the Crown to pay costs.

The 44 percent taniwha tax figure above describes the tribal share of Waikato River Authority funding of $210-million over 30 years, which is separate from the $212.8-million river settlement to five tribes. The tax rate would be much higher if redress payments were included.

The Waikato River Five Year Report shows that $120,086 from the Waikato River Authority went to to Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa for cultural history and capacity building. This is a South Island tribe and the purpose of the funding has no demonstrable effect on cleaning the river.

Around 20 percent of funding, or $4,566,448, went to Waikato councils. This is as it should be because councils, along with farmers, and businesses, will end up doing the work and making the changes to clean up the river. The projects and plans are listed.

At 442km, the Waikato River is New Zealand’s longest river and represents about a fifth of all water from the main North Island rivers. It encompasses a catchment of 11-thousand square kilometres.

Along the course of the Waikato River it encounters geothermal fields and power stations. There are eight hydro-electric power stations creating a series of dams and reservoirs along what were formerly steep and turbulent sections of the river.

There are complex habitats associated with wetlands and lakes along the lower river floodplain, with some having international significance.

There is a big difference between the clear water with a blue tinge that roars down the Huka Falls near Taupo and the sluggish green water that slides past Hamilton. The scale of the task to lift the river’s rating from a C+ should not be underestimated.

If the taniwha tax rate of 44 percent means $92.4-million of river funding to 2040 would go to local tribes and not improving the river, the Waikato River clean-up will be slow, expensive, and inefficient.


1. Waikato River Five Year Report 2015. p5

2. Waikato-Tainui River Claim Deed of Settlement Summary


Brian said...

The Waikato...”A River of an eternal cash flow”.
Mike Butler must be congratulated in managing to secure such detailed information on this monstrous freeway of money which constitutes the Waikato River Settlement of these ever ongoing Maori Claims. It must have been an arm bending exercise getting this information from all those Government departments.
Needless to say the publishing of such details in our general media will be much harder, probably beyond any citizen in this country. Just how many of us would actually take the time or trouble to investigate this surfeit of our tax being spread around to alleviate the claims by Maori.
It seems ironic that in 2015 it was the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta which laid done the principles of our democracy and was re-confirmed in 1216 that led to over centuries to the demise of the Feudal State (at least in Britain).
Yet here we are promoting an ethnic elite, merely so one of our political parties in Parliament can “govern”. We have moved a long way in this country under the guise of cultural separatism and from the democratic idea of voting. Especially under our MMP system of political appointments of List MP’s; with the establishment of theLocal Government Commission into the further amalgamation of Local Government. Despite the very obvious fact that in general, people are against this appointment system in their local elections.
The recent retirement of the New Plymouth Mayor, with the rather strange coverage of this event focussing as it did mainly on the incidents of hate against the Mayor; and his demand for separate Maori representation. Rather, the media should have placed before the public the real reason behind the Mayor’s resignation. That of his demand for the appointment of Maori to Councils, and in doing so, bypassing the principal of being democratically elected to office by the vote.
It is quite obvious from Mike’s detailed analysis of the Waikato “Clean up” that in this country, we are seeing the establishment of a Iwi “Feudal System” that places one ethnic group above all others. I for one see no Taniwha tax being levied on Maori or Maori land, to “clean up” the river!

Unknown said...

Have a look at the Redskins (change the name) Campaign: the pressure groups and their contradictory polls. Makes you wonder?

Unknown said...

The taniwha tax - described as payments made in order to make demands go away - is this not the situation commonly called "blackmail"? And is blackmail not unlawful? Obviously not in this country. Our democracy is a delusion.

Shirley said...

So, how much more are the taxpayers going to be fleeced by giving again and again to the Maoris. There is so much inequality in NZ you will find that most New Zealanders have had enough. Time and time again there is money dished out and no one is accountable as to how it is spent.