Sunday, December 18, 2022

Mike Butler: $681m for Waikato, meter running

The Waikato-Tainui tribe has managed to extract $681-million from the government in treaty settlements since 1995 and the meter is still running. I notice this because I spent years working in a newsroom and remember the day the teleprinter told me that then Justice Minister Geoffrey Palmer of the Fourth Labour Government had enabled the investigation of grievances back to 1840. Subsequently, I researched treaty settlements. (1)

On Friday, Stuff reported that Waikato-Tainui Treaty had just received a further $101.5-million relativity payment and declared that the payment takes the total the iwi has gained including its original $170 million in 1995 to $390 million. (2)

The Stuff report didn’t mention the latest relativity payment of $96.5m to South Island tribe Ngai Tahu which is also entitled to top-ups. (3) It also missed a number of payments to Waikato-Tainui. A more complete list of post-1995 treaty settlement payments to Waikato-Tainui shows:
$170m in 1995,
first relativity top-up of $70m in 2012,
first relativity arbitration claim payment of $12.5m in 2014,
second relativity top-up of $190m in 2017,
second relativity arbitration claim payment of $18m in 2018,
third relativity top-up of $16.6m in 2018,
third relativity arbitration payment of $0.095m in 2019,
fourth relativity top-up of $101.5m in 2022.
forestry rentals of $0.25m in 1997
$102m for the Waikato River confiscation settlement in 2010.
That means Waikato’s total is more like $680.95-million. An identical number of top-ups and arbitration payments means that Ngai Tahu’s total is around $617.7-million (they didn’t have a river confiscation settlement).

In a statement on December 16, 2022, Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little outlined the payments and said that they were made “following their requests for payment”. The list above shows that these two tribes are in the habit of asking for more once they receive a payment.

While the Waikato-Tainui settlement was being negotiated in the early 1990s, the relativity payments were pushed by the tribe’s then principal negotiator, the late Sir Robert Mahuta.

Born an Ormsby but changing his name to that of the tribe of the Maori “king”, Mahuta fathered Nanaia Mahuta (who as Local Government Minister created the Three Waters empire), and Tipa Mahuta (who pulls the levers of tribal control of that empire).

What entitles Waikato-Tainui and Ngai Tahu to top-ups?

The Waikato-Tainui 1995 settlement was negotiated while the National Government under Jim Bolger tried to allay public concerns through the “fiscal envelope” concept which said total treaty settlements would cost at most $1-billion.

Predictably, tribal leaders kicked up a fuss so the idea was dropped by all except negotiator Robert Mahuta, who pushed for the current relativity mechanism by arguing that he was doing the Government a favour by settling early, thereby leading the way for other tribes.

Based on the premise that if the total amount was $1-billion in 1994, and if his tribe was getting $170-million at that time, his argument was that since this was 17 percent of $1-billion, if his tribe got 17 percent of everything over $1-billion in 1994 dollars his tribe would maintain a 17 percent share of the total whatever that would be.

Ngai Tahu got a smaller relativity percentage of 16.1 percent because they settled a little later, in 1998, but they were helping lead the way.

The Government negotiator, Sir Douglas Graham, apparently didn’t cotton on to the fact that he was signing up to 17 percent of a fund which could be infinite.

Both tribes feel the need to justify receiving these mega payments.

Waikato-Tainui chair Tukoroirangi Morgan said the extra $101-million is a small price to pay for the massive land loss and deaths caused by the land wars of the 1860s.

Waikato tribes fought against the government in the 1860s. Loss of life was one consequence. Land confiscation was another consequence, enabled by two Acts of Parliament in 1863, the the Suppression of Rebellion Act and the New Zealand Settlements Act.

For the record, in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty area a total of 619 rebel Maori and 192 British troops, colonists, and pro-government Maori were killed.

Waikato-Tainui had more than 1.2-million acres of land confiscated as a consequence. Of this, 312,564 acres were returned or paid for and 889,606 acres remained confiscated.

Morgan also argued that $170-million was still only about 0.3% of the assets Waikato-Tainui lost during the wars of the 1860s, including “some of this country’s most fertile lands”.

He still goes with the $170-million and $101-million figures, not the $681-million probable total, and is conflating the value of developed land in 2022 with undeveloped land in 1840 without any infrastructure.

I found no specific current justification from Ngai Tahu, although they have frequently used the “any compensation is only a fraction of what we lost” argument that includes the same logical flaw as Morgan’s argument.

Since Waikato chief Potatau Te Wherowhero didn’t sign the Treaty of Waitangi, a legitimate question is how and why does Waikato-Tainui qualify for a treaty settlement.

Everyone seems to have forgotten the inconvenient fact that Waikato-Tainui had a settlement in 1946, which included the words “full and final”, in the form of the Waikato-Maniapoto Maori Claims Settlement Act.

This set up the Tainui Maori Trust Board to receive £5000 a year in perpetuity, plus a further £5000 and £1000 a year for 45 years. Payments under this set-up are still going on.

Ngai Tahu also received a full and final settlement. This was the Ngaitahu Claim Settlement Act 1944.

Ngai Tahu had no land wars and no confiscations. Instead, a number of individuals who claimed to represent the Ngai Tahu scattering of Maoris who occupied the South Island at that time sold most of the South Island in 10 deals over 20 years from 1844 for a total of £14,750.

A complaint over the alleged inadequacy of reserves of a sale in 1848 led to settlements in 1868, 1906, 1973, the Ngaitahu Claim Settlement Act 1944 mentioned above, the 1997 $170-million settlement, plus four top-ups.

Seven Ngai Tahu chiefs did sign the treaty in 1840 so would be entitled to compensation for treaty breaches if there had been such breaches. But the ongoing compensations and top-ups is evidence that what ever grievance there was in the beginning it has well and truly been compensated.

So, what is really going on? In 1862, a perceptive missionary named Samuel Ironside observed:
The natives had found out that by assuming a threatening attitude they could obtain any exorbitant demands. (4)
As the threats and exorbitant demands continue, the question is whether the Crown is honourably compensating for past errors made by the Crown, or whether tribal grievances amount to an extortion racket and officials appointed to respond are too weak and naïve to see through it.

1. Treaty Transparency
2.Latest Waikato-Tainui treaty settlement payment
3.Waikato-Tainui and Ngai Tahu receive relativity payments.
4. Taranaki Herald, Volume XVII, Issue 926, 23 October 1869, Page 5


Anonymous said...

greedy maori verses the gullible well meaning pakeha it makes you want to weep, what a rort untill pakeha realise that you cant satisfy maori, that one exorbitant demand will follow with an other demand, this will never stop untill nz is bleed dry

EP said...

Oh you said it Mike. This is ludicrous isn't it. What a bunch of saps we are?
Surely we must work out a policy to draw a line under this Treaty racket - acknowledge it - and finish it - let's get ready for 6 February 2024.

Terry Morrissey said...

Over and above those settlements is all that scammed by the likes of the Mahuta nepoism, corruption, and cronyism. Side deals by dodgy settlement ministers, apartheid organisations like the new improved " its just the new maori way" health ministry under Dr do-little. The future royalties on water of all types will be with us for eternity if the incoming government does not squash it. You can bet that this labour cult still have some more dirty deals up thei sleeve before they disappear into oblivion.

One New Zealand Foundatuion Inc said...

An excelleent article Mike. Here is a copy of one of the Deeds of Sale betweenthe Waikato and the Crown.
1864. 15 September.Upper Waikato District.This Deed written on this fifteenth day of September in the Year of our Lord 1864 is a full and final sale conveyance and surrender by us the Chiefs and People of the Tribes Ngatimahanga, Ngatitamainu and Ngatihourua whose names are hereunto subscribed And Witnesseth that on behalf of ourselves our relatives and descendants we have by signing this Deed under the shining sun of this day parted with and for ever Horotiu and Waipa. transferred unto Victoria Queen of England Her Heirs the Kings and Queens who may succeed Her and Her and their Assigns for ever in consideration of the Sum of One Thousand Pounds (£1000.00) to us paid by Henry Hanson Turton Special Commissioner on behalf of the Queen Victoria (and we hereby acknowledge the receipt of the said monies) all that piece of our Land situated between the Rivers Horotiu and Waipa the boundaries whereof are set forth at the foot of this Deed and a plan of which Land is annexed thereto with its trees minerals waters rivers lakes streams and all appertaining to the said Land or beneath the surface of the said Land and all our right title page 584 claim and interest whatsoever thereon To hold to Queen Victoria Her Heirs and Assigns as a lasting possession absolutely for ever and ever. And in testimony of our consent to all the conditions of this Deed we have hereunto subscribed our names and marks. And in testimony of the consent of the Queen of England on her part to all the conditions of this Deed the name of Henry Hanson Turton Special Commissioner is Boun hereunto subscribed. These are the boundaries of the Land commencing at Ngaruawahia, situated at the junction of the Rivers Horotiu and Waipa: starting thence it goes along the Horotiu River, until you reach its source. This is one Boundary Then returning to Ngaruawahia it passes up the River Waipa until its source be reached—This is the second boundary All our pieces of land within these two Boundaries, that is, the Land of Ngatimahanga, of Ngatitamainu, of Ngatihourua are surrendered to the Queen within the terms of this sale.

Full copy of sale can be obtained from,

Mudbayripper said...

I wish someone could explain to me how it's possible to pay retribution to dead people.
No one on the planet actually owns land, water, rivers, mountains etc.
We all occupy land through varies forms of agreement. Pre European tribal arrangements usually required force and constant awareness that there were no agreements to occupy. Post European civilization changed all that
Trading of land for money and goods became well understood by maori. My understanding is that most of the country was sold in good faith, sometimes land was sold multiple times as different tribal leaders claimed ownership.
Article 2 of the treaty goes a long way to bring order to land sales.
My readings of the land wars during the 1860s needs to be put into context with the intertribal wars preceeding the signing of the treaty in 1840. Particularly the Waikato invasion of Taranaki. The history is over many years and is complex.
Verbal accounts given to the Waitangi tribunal over the last 45 odd years have so obviously been employed to extort taxpayers hard earned money. Remember these claims are not payed for by the British crown, its your next door neighbor paying the piper.
We New Zealanders are indeed a naive, gullible, vulnerable collection of well meaning masochists.

Matthew said...

According to another blog on this website the Maori folk pay 1.2 billion dollars tax per year on their tobacco,alcohol and gambling habits alone.The government takes a lot and gives back a little.

Anonymous said...

History often repeats itself.

The French Revolution was triggered by the refusal of the 3rd Estate (= the Commons) to accept the stiff taxation to be levied upon it ( since the 2 other Estates - clergy and nobility - were broke). The decline of the Ancien Regime ensued.

At some point, the endless and increasing demands on the same single tax base may have the same effect.

A lesson for NZ.

Anonymous said...

For a cohort that didn't sign the Treaty and actively fought against the Crown you would think that there would be little grounds for complaint or compensation? But no - and just like the Ngati Mutunga, who 'established their mana' at the expense of the lives of the Moriori, we also paid out them (and, of course, also the Moriori). One surely has to wonder, just when are we going to say - ENOUGH?

And Matthew, the tax on their booze, fags and gambling is a veritable drop in the bucket to the grossly disproportionate costs paid in the health and welfare of Maori; not to mention those same disproportionate costs in addressing their criminal activities and dysfunctional families. And never mind how little proportionately they pay in direct personal tax, how much tax do their billion dollar corporations pay?

Anonymous said...

The Tainui tribes never signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

Nor did Tuhoe.

Nor did the Tuwharetoa Confederation.

Yet all have received “Treaty settlements.”

Under the legal doctrine of privity of contract, only the parties to an agreement are bound by it or can claim its protection in the event of a breach.

So even a first year law student could have told each of these groups to talk to the hand when they came sniffing around for a Treaty settlement.

When the Tuhoe settlement was in the home stretch, I emailed ‘Fudgie Boy’’ Finlayson, pointing these matters out.

I got an email back from him, justifying the Tuhoe settlement on the basis that “the Crown accepts that is has a Treaty obligation to Maori.”

My response was that the Treaty was NOT with a collective Maori’ —who had no nation state in 1840 — but with tribes, a majority of whom signed it, some of whom didn’t.

Finlayson did not respond to the suggestion that given this historical reality, my initial point stood, and he had not addressed it.

The wars of the 1860s were not ‘Maori Wars’ as many dub them today. Nor were they ‘Land Wars.’

These misnomers have been coined and propagated to suggest that the Crown waged an unjust war on a collective ‘Maori’ to ‘steal’ their land.

These were actually‘Sovereignty Wars’ fought by the Crown against the Kingite tribes who’d never signed the Treaty in the first place and a handful of other tribes who HAD signed the Treaty [rebels] and had repudiated this undertaking to mob up with the Kingites.

The purpose of these wars was to bring aggressive challengers to the Crown’s authority and rebels against it to heel.

Tainui had set up a ‘king’ as a rival sovereign to the Crown, hoping to rally other tribes to enlist under the ‘king’s’ banner and to ‘drive the Pakeha into the sea.’

They had sent warriors to meddle in the Taranaki War in the hope of igniting a general uprising throughout the North Island against the Crown.

When Governor Grey got wind of a Kingite plot to set Auckland on fire by Tainui who’d taken up residence there for that purpose, with the intention of then attacking from the Waikato and driving out the settlers, he warned Tainui to stand down, or be put down,

if the Crown was forced into fighting a war it didn’t want, Tainui would be dealt to and punished with land confiscations.

Tainui continued to bring it.

It got brung.

Tainui lost, and like the man said, land was confiscated: (1) to defray the cost of an expensive war the Crown hadn’t wanted to fight in the first place; and (2) to put military settlers into a buffet zone between Auckland and the balance of the Waikato against a resurgence of hostilities from Tainui.

As we have seen, no Treaty breach there. Tainui were simoly dealt with by the victorious Crown entirely as it was entitled to deal with the vanquished, to whom it had no obligations at all.

The Crown later accepted the confiscations had been excessive — something it never had to do — and offered compensation by way of the Waikato-Maniapoto Settlement Claims Act 1946. the preamble of which reads: “The purpose of this Act is to effect a full and final settlement of all outstanding claims arising from the raupatu [law of the ckub] confiscations .,.”

So if Tainui were not entitled, as non-signatories, to a Treaty settlement, and had already had a settlement agreed to by both parties as “full and final” on what basis were they give another settlement which became of relatively clauses will NEVER be full and final?

I think Kiwi taxpayers got gypped!

Anonymous said...

I recall various statements about a date to draw a line under all settlements. I think the year mentioned was 2019 and I think Fudge Finlayson had something to do with it.
I wish some political leader would announce policy along the lines of a full settlement date including the end of the treaty as a vehicle for claims and legal action. Replace it with a well-consulted constitution that Maori don't have first say on (as in reporting back from He Puapua and the content was so disturbing even to Willie Jackson he has buried it meantime).
The other point well-made above is that the Crown didn't agree with Maori as a people they agreed with some tribes of Maori. Maori and Pakeha have since become a nation which is now being extorted by Corporate Maori organisations for the absolute greed of a few. Also as above, it's us poor suckers paying all this which could be used towards our desperate public services. The average person of Maori descent would benefit far more from better Health and Education services than benefit from ever seeing a dollar from Treaty settlements.
I am totally fazed when I try to think why Chris Finlayson has done what he has done. There is no accounting for some people unfortunately.