The Prime Minister’s denials are becoming a flood.
Last week in Parliament she was forced to distance herself and Labour from the highly toxic He Puapua report as if it was not of her making, simply an aspirational expression of Maori plans for future development - one commissioned by others who were supposedly only floating ideas. In response to repeated questioning from the Leader of the Opposition, she claimed that it would be going nowhere during this parliamentary term.
No matter that the ideas included in the report sounded very much like they had the backing of not only Iwi throughout the country who had been engaged with senior government officials on this and other topics at hui in recent months, but also those at the highest level in this administration.
Are we to believe that those talks were not sanctioned by this government and it was all a waste of time. If that is not the case then the PM has some work to do convincing voters that she is not a liar that would put Baron Munchausen in the shade.
I suspect that this whole fiasco is the result of being forced to own up when the reality of the government’s clandestine operations are exposed ahead of time.
It all looks too much like what appears to be the case explaining the origins of the Corona virus. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way but now that the truth is emerging, those involved in the creation of the monster are running for cover as fast as their little legs will carry them.
Unfortunately for the Prime Minister, no amount of distancing herself and her colleagues from the prematurely disclosed revelations will save her from the Frankenstein that is laying waste to her own and her party’s credibility. They will all undoubtedly reap what they have sown.
It will not be enough to pretend that it never happened and what we are reading is a figment of our imagination. It is in front of us in black and white.
We are able to see clearly what is meant by the term “power sharing” with our Treaty Partners - at least that is the interpretation we are asked to accept as the definitive term promoted in the He Puapua doctrine.
The really sad thing about this whole sorry saga is that much of the aspirations expressed by Maori in this report would be shared by a majority of pakeha as reasonable concerns for the environment and natural resources that we all depend on.
But because of the deceitful way it has been handled, much of the potential opportunities for a shared future based on some of the report’s suggestions will become collateral damage of the push back from those who can only see it as a attempt to promote something that lacks legitimacy. And unfortunately those negative views of the report are likely to become mainstream.
I suppose the best we can expect from this botched coup attempt is that it is back to the drawing boards. But the damage to the good will that existed will be hard to overlook. The repairs will take time.
I hope l am wrong, but history suggests otherwise.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.