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The illusion of consultation

Written By: - Date published: 9:40 am, August 4th, 2012 - 22 comments
Categories: Maori Issues, national, Privatisation, water - Tags: , , , ,

The Nats are in a hurry:

We’re not waiting, Govt tells tribunal

Mr English said he had asked the tribunal to deliver its findings by August 24 because the Government would need to make decisions by the first week of September if it were to proceed with the partial float of Mighty River Power this year.

He said the Government would make its decision then whether it had the tribunal’s findings or not, “on the basis of all the information available to us at that time, including the Waitangi Tribunal’s memorandum of July 30″. …

[Maori Council lawyer Felix Geiringer] asked why Mr English was now referring to a two-year programme for state asset sales when the Treasury and the Crown had previously said it was expected to be done over four to five years.

A two-year programme for sales all of a sudden. Two years. Gosh, can anyone think of a reason why the Nats would be in such a hurry to get this done within two years? What a mystery.

With this self imposed deadline the Nats don’t have any time to waste on niceties like proper consultation with Maori. Their cheerleaders in the media are lining up with the nudge nudge wink wink support to charge on regardless.

Anyone in any doubt as to how this will play out might be informed by some recent history – the issue of Maori seats on the Auckland “Supercity” Council. I’m going to quote stuff in some detail as a reminder:

The hikoi was sparked over the dumping of the Maori seats from the Auckland super city proposal – in contrast to a Royal Commission recommendation. Mr Key was asked on TV One’s Breakfast show what he thought about the protest and the disruption it would cause.

“Obviously people have a right to protest and we respect that,” he said. “(But) I can’t help but wonder if they are a little bit ahead of themselves.” The right forum to raise concerns was through the parliamentary process, he said. The select committee soon to start looking at legislation setting up the council would consider the issues raised by the protest, Mr Key said. It would look at the governance structure, how councillors were elected and issues around Maori representation.

“I don’t think the hikoi of itself will make any difference really…we are going to go through the select committee process, that’s not a white wash we are actually going to listen to what happens there. We are trying to work on getting an outcome that works for everyone.”

Soothing words. Keep calm and the government will listen. Due process and respect. Much like what we’re hearing now. And here’s how it turned out:

Ngati Whatua spokesman Ngarimu Blair has criticised the Government for not allowing democracy to run its course. He said Maori had followed the democratic process – going through a Royal Commission which recommended Maori seats, then going through the select committee where Mr Blair claimed 90 per cent of submitters had supported Maori seats. Yet the Government had made a decision on Maori seats before the select committee process was finished.

“We have participated in the democratic process and done everything we were asked to. We are disappointed that the crown didn’t hold up its end. All that we can ask is that they at least follow their own processes.” But he said Ngati Whatua were glad they at least knew the Government’s views now rather than continue a “masquerade” of consultation.

Consultation with Maori, National style. And with the emphasis on tight timetables and rush rush rush there is every indication that “consultation” over water rights is headed down the same path.

22 comments on “The illusion of consultation”

  1. mike e 1

    this is the same argument national lost over the airwaves.
    so they know they can make themselves look good at the expense of the country

  2. “Consultation” over water rights can continue (it’s being happening for some time through the Land and Water Forum) separate to the MOM Bill, it’s a wider issue.

    If there are found to be any valid claims for compensation for water in relation to the power SOEs the Government has to pay anyway, regardless of whether some shares are sold or not.

    • mike e 2.1

      Not necessarily the power companies should be paying to use the water .

    • Pushing the sales ahead before this decision is done undermines the rationale for the sales even further – that being that apparently the government thought they could make a decent parcel off the power companies- but the government will have to sell shares much cheaper if there’s no guarantee power companies won’t have to pay additional fees for water usage.

      The government is not the one liable for those fees if Maori have a legitimate claim to them, it’s whoever uses the water, ie. the power companies, which makes the equation for selling them look even more stupid.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        As it was never about the sales being a good idea I doubt if the parties selling us out care.

  3. AmaKiwi 3

    The illusion of democracy.
     
    We live in a parliamentary dictatorship.  We can never win playing on their field by their rules.  Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King knew that, which is why they organized the people.  We must do the same.
     
    Penny Bright had a brilliant idea for disrupting the sale of Mighty River Power by getting consumers to switch from using Mercury to one of the two remaining state owned companies (Genesis and Meridian).  THIS WILL WORK!

    • tc 3.1

      Doubt it. The retail side makes peanuts compared to generation and Gerry/Stevie/Bill etc will just dip into consumers/taxpayers pockets to shore up any required shortfall.

      All you do is shift your business to another retailer, owned by a generator….see where this is going ?

      • AmaKiwi 3.1.1

        As someone with 40 years experience in share markets, I assure you no investor is interested in taking a chance on a company which is hated by its consumers.
         
        I invite you to propose a better tactic, but it must be around organizing people. Their system depends on the consumers being obedient. As a sign held up by a teenager protesting Nike’s use of sweatshop labor read: “Nike, we made you. We can break you.”

  4. The Land and Water Forum…

    Who participates in the Land and Water Forum?

    The Land and Water Forum brings together a range of industry groups, electricity generators, environmental and recreational NGOs, iwi, scientists, and other organisations with a stake in freshwater and land management. They are joined by central and local government observers in developing a common direction for freshwater management in New Zealand and provide advice to the Government.

    The Land and Water Forum is the trading name for the Land and Water Trust. A Small Group, with representatives from 21 organisations, meets on a monthly basis and reports to the Plenary, which has a membership of 62 organisations. The Small Group is joined by active observers from local and central government. The Land and Water Forum members are assisted in their work by a Secretariat.
    The Forum’s Process

    The first phase of the Forum’s work lasted from August 2009 to August 2010 and resulted in the report A Fresh Start for Freshwater, which identifies a set of outcomes and goals for freshwater management and recommends a number of policy changes to achieve those. Public meetings to discuss the Forum’s Report were held around the country at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.

    The government issued a response to the Forum’s recommendations in September 2011, and asked that it carries on its consensus-building work and come up with recommendations on the methods, tools and governance processes required for setting and managing limits on water quality and quantity.

    The Land and Water Forum will report to Government in the course of 2012, first on a general framework for setting limits, including the governance arrangements which would ensure the successful involvement of all stakeholders and in particular of iwi, and second on the methods and strategies required to achieve and manage those limits, through better land use management and improved allocation mechanisms.

    http://www.landandwater.org.nz/Site/About_Us/default.aspx

    …seems to be more than an illusio and seems to be consulting.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      That forum is about allocating the use of freshwater. Not whether or not National can sell off the water resource to foreigners as an intrinsic part of its asset sales.

    • bbfloyd 4.2

      looks more like an exercise in pr than any meaningful actions…. You can’t possibly be that thick to think this is genuine a consultative action from the asset stripper party….. they are simply using this as a decoy…. hence the ongoing timetable being recommended by the chief corporate raiders…

      As you well know, by the time they have come out with their next set of “guidelines” it will have become yet another pointless exercise in misdirection….which can then be quietly shelved, and forgotten about….

      Again…. you aren’t so thick to believe this is a sincere attempt to do right by the people….so the obvious conclusion is that you are, once more, attempting to make excuses for united futures complicity in the theft of the countries asset base…..

      I look forward to singing campfire songs with the huge crowd sitting around the bonfire as the effigies of the “bad hair” tribe burn…..

  5. MrSmith 5

    This issue is hurting the Nat’s, they will be trying to get it to court ASAP, the courts final decision win or lose will either enforce there mandate (well thats’ how they will betray it) or it will give them a reason to scrap the sales, so saving face, saying, look at us we listened to the people.

    This interesting thing will be to see if the public get in behind and support the Maori, to the same degree that people oppose these sales.

  6. Matthew 6

    Sounds like the way they treated the select committee process on the MOM asset sales.

    It is time the Attorney-General becomes an apolitical appointment in this country, so the Government can be reminded of their actual obligation to take this process seriously.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Consultation with Maori, National style.

    Didn’t need the Māori in that sentence. National only ever consults it’s navel fluff (otherwise known as Treasury) as was shown by the asset sales select committee process.

  8. AmaKiwi 8

    When our parliamentary masters (of BOTH parties) repeatedly ignore what the majority of the people want, they condition us to internalize helplessness.
     
    Yes, we are largely helpless against parliamentary actions, but we are NOT helpless to influence social and political changes.
     
    National party “individualism” is blind to the degree to which we ALL depend on each other.  The least wealthy amongst us can thoroughly screw up the system by refusing to collect our garbage or clean the bedpans of our elderly or operate our trucks and buses and trains, etc.
     
    It is time to take back control from this government and from the Labour Party caucus.  The country belongs to all of us, not them.  We are all entitled to an equal say.
     
     

  9. Lloyd 9

    Since the National-Banks government is in such a hurry to sell off the people’s power companies they are pressing the Waitangi Tribunal to hurry their decision. Surely the same could apply to the government. Can’t we ask that the government hurry up the next election so that we can vote them out?

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Damn good link. Describes modern representative democracy well.

      Wolin believes that the democracy of the United States is sanitized of political participation and refers to it as managed democracy. Managed democracy is “a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control”.[10] Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state through the continuous employment of public relations techniques

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        You know, I’m pretty sure this one was a reply to 8.2 last night…

        • blue leopard 9.1.1.1

          DTB

          Yeah, I thought it was a pretty good description of what we are facing.

          Another link, although directed at American issues, is becoming, sadly, easy to draw parallels here :( ( I may post on this the “postcards” thread too)

          http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/democracy_in_america_is_a_useful_fiction_20100124/

          “And there is, of course, the culminating moment of national elections when the attention of the nation is required to make a choice of personalities rather than a choice between alternatives. What is absent is the political, the commitment to finding where the common good lies amidst the welter of well-financed, highly organized, single-minded interests rabidly seeking governmental favors and overwhelming the practices of representative government and public administration by a sea of cash.”

  10. As has been pointed out elsewhere, National’s asset sales programme is it’s make-or-break moment. After several back-downs, it can’t afford to look weak in the public eye, so it will pay lip-service to “consultation” (which is a farce, as has been shown) and then proceed anyway.

    But I propose an alternative scenario. It may not please everyone, but it retains state ownership (in a form) as well as generating the income that National desires; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/investing-in-someone-elses-future/

    And in a funny way, it could save Key’s arse from a humilkiating electoral defeat…

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