Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Mike Hosking: The Waitangi Tribunal has been taken over by activism

It is widely accepted by those who follow such matters that the Waitangi Tribunal has become wildly activist.

It is now, without question, a brilliant example of a decent idea gone horribly awry.

As Anthony Albanese struggles to drum up support for his voice vote, which will almost certainly fail, he has looked here. In fact, many people have looked to New Zealand and our attempts over what now is many decades to rectify past wrongs.

Ironically, history increasingly shows the Government's that have made the most progress have been National ones.

Chris Finlayson of late and Doug Graham before him made major inroads into settlements, whereas the current Labour Government, like so much of what they do, amounts to little.

Speaking of little - Andrew Little, who is in charge of treaty matters, admits as much.

Anyway, the tribunal in their latest report tells the Crown off for not funding Māori adequately so they can make their claims.

What makes the tribunal so activist is this sort of statement and the thinking behind it is par for the course. What is adequate?

And given the system is invented, you have always needed a quid pro quo approach. What is a just settlement? Is it money, is it an apology, is it land or is it all three?

Every case is individual.

But somewhere along the way it's spiralled out of control. It's become an industry as individual lawyers have made millions. The tribunal seems intent on being here forever dealing with historic claims despite, if you remember, under Jim Bolger's Government there was an attempt to put a timeline on it all.

That logic, by the way, still applies given its not far off 50-years-old. Surely at some point the historic claims should be registered and settled. Just how long do you need to want to rectify something you argue went wrong over 180 years ago?

How many lawyers, how much research, how much funding?

The path to ratification has been open since the mid 70's and we are still scrapping over funding for claims. Surely boundaries have to be drawn and timelines have to be put in place?

Part of the reason the voice vote will fail in Australia is not because it's not the right thing to do, but because Albanese hasn’t explained properly what he is trying to do.

But also, if you look over here at a model of how to do it, it would put the frighteners up you.

Good intention is one thing.

A runaway train is another.

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.


Anonymous said...

Yes - but is any politician courageous enough to correct this?

The WT has NZ in a vice-like grip.

Robert Arthur said...

A couple of years or so ago a private observation of a Waitangi Tribunal proceeding did the rounds of sites such as BV. The standard of "evidence" and degree of leading of witness' etc was considered deplorable. But none of this is now reported in the msm. Media and reporters are too afriad of cancellation. At the time Michael Basset commented that in his day the proeedings had been to a high standard of conventioanl court practice.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. It’s creating and perpetuating grievances rather than settling them. The whole country- including most Maori- would be better off if it was closed or had it’s terms of reference changed to reconciliation instead of division.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore it’s premise is fake : the freeman document enshrined and principles drawn out of thin air. Please please get rid of it.