Written By: - Date published: 9:40 am, August 4th, 2012 - 22 comments
Categories: Maori Issues, national, Privatisation, water - Tags: consultation, hikoi, not yours to sell, privatisation, waitangi tribunal
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.