Brownlee makes Nats more enemies

Written By: - Date published: 12:16 pm, June 30th, 2010 - 17 comments
Categories: Conservation, foreshore and seabed, Mining - Tags: , ,

Every night before they go to sleep, good little Labour and Green spin doctors pray for another headline involving Gerry Brownlee. The guy is something of a modern marvel – has there ever been a senior minister with such an utter tin ear for public opinion? He’s had 50,000 people march against his mining plans and, now, he’s made a Treaty breach over the one area of foreshore and seabed that was settled.

Ngati Porou reached a foreshore and seabed agreement with the Crown under the existing Act (yup, it’s possible. In fact, they reckon it’s better than anything they get from the Nats). The area covered wraps around Ngati Porou land on the East Cape and gives the iwi an array of rights and powers.

Then, Gerry Brownlee, without consulting with the iwi, went and gave Brazilian oil company Petrobras rights to drill in the same area. Ngati Porou are calling this a breach of the Treaty and it probably violates their foreshore and seabed agreement too. On the weekend, 200 people up and down the coast protested on the beaches over this violation of their rights and the environmental risks poised by the drilling.

Brownlee initially apologised for his ‘oversight’ in failing to consult with iwi (guess it’s easy to forget the country’s only foreshore and seabed agreement covers the area you are opening for drilling). But now he’s reversed his stance.

Now, he’s saying that the iwi are the ones who owe him an apology. He put out some dodgy chronology to claim he had attempted to consult with them. Kind of makes you wonder why he thought he hadn’t consulted just a week ago.

Anyway, he says, he doesn’t have to consult over oil because it’s a nationalised resource (the one time the Nats like nationalisation). That misses the point, of course. The all too justified fear that Ngati Porou and others have of deep-water drilling is not about the oil being extracted, it’s a fear of spills that devastate the environment and the fisheries on which economies defend.

Ngati Porou have rights to that environment and those fisheries under the Treaty and their foreshore and seabed deal – (property rights, righties). They should have a say over any activity that puts those rights in serious jeopardy. Instead of dealing in good faith, Brownlee has gone on the attack and decided to make an enemy of Ngati Porou, and pissed off the Maori Party at the same time.

It’s typical of his arrogant, thoughtless approach that’s premised on the notion that he’s a minister who can do whatever the hell he wants and anyone who gets in his way will get a bashing. It blows up in his face every time but he’s too dumb to learn.

Gerry, you’re a godsend.

17 comments on “Brownlee makes Nats more enemies”

  1. Lew 1

    It’s egregious bullshit like this which will result in “full and final” settlements being re-re-relitigated.

    That’s a problem for Māori, because it feeds the “bloody horis are never satisfied” meme; and as you note, it’s also bad for the government, particularly one which reckons they can have it all done and dusted by 2014. But ultimately it’s bad for the whole country. By all means, punish Brownlee and the government for their failures. But this gives no cause for glee.


  2. Sean 2

    This displays Gerry Brownlee’s natural grasp on the legal position of Ngati Porou, with the insight the public has come to expect from the National Party’s former Maori Affairs spokesperson.

  3. ianmac 3

    One of Brownlie’s excuses was that the prospecting was outside the waters deemed to be part of the “seabed.”
    At the very least it would have been courteous to consult and I do not believe for a moment that Brownlie triede to consult with iwi and they wouldn’t/couldn’t respond. Really?

  4. Bill 4

    “Every night before they go to sleep, good little Labour and Green spin doctors pray for another headline involving Gerry Brownlee.”

    Oh well, at least we know why the parliamentary ‘left’ are presenting as so bloody hopeless…their spin doctors are on their knees with hands clasped tight praying that blind luck covers their collectively incompetent arse.

    Way to go. Pray for a headline. I know you didn’t mean that sentence to be taken seriously. But you know what? It’s sadly believable.

    • uke 4.1

      Know what you’re saying Bill.

      Maybe it’s more a matter of praying for behaviour from the NACTS that is so “obviously” f**ked up that even the MSM can’t ignore or minimise it.

      • Lew 4.1.1

        That’s much the same thing.

        It’s the opposition’s job to make the government’s behavious seem so outrageous that the media has no choice but to cover it. How they do so is up to them, but praying and gloating leaves an awful lot to be desired as a PR strategy.


    • just saying 4.2

      Great minds Bill.
      But you expressed it more eloquently than I would have.

      It’s more than ‘sadly believable’ though. It’s virtually Labour’s mantra regarding the next election, when, you know, some principled opposition and alternative policy would be nice.

      Just saying…..

    • Every night before they go to sleep, good little Labour and Green spin doctors pray for another headline involving Gerry Brownlee

      i thought exactly the same thing Bill.
      i guess prayer couldn’t be any less effective. then again, it doesn’t really matter what Gerry and his colleagues do, none of it is capitalized on by Labour or Green spin doctors. Gerry could torch a native forest full of kiwi for a drunken orgy bbq and the next day you’d get L & G press releases about Finland’s broadband.

  5. Craig Glen Eden 5

    So other than raising it what is the opposition suppose to do. If the media are not interested in covering it they simply don’t. Take a look at the latest bullshit with John Banks, are the media beating his credit card use up? No, why not?
    How come its terrible for Brown but OK for Banks yet Banks has been told by his own council staff that what he did was wrong. What the hell?
    So this situation has nothing to do with a poor opposition because Labour and the Greens are not involved and yet we have a classic case of Banks being a total hypocrite but its OK. The media are bias and thats not even taking into accounts personal vendettas of a Garner nature.

    What about Brownlee’s spending habits, how come he has not been asked by the media when are you going to give the tax payers their money back.

  6. Jenny 6

    from Sunday 27/6/10

    About 60 protesters were at Kaiti Beach in Gisborne today, where fires were lit and slogans, including “No to Petrobras”, were written in the sand, Radio New Zealand reported.
    Protest organiser Manu Caddie said East Coast residents were concerned about the environmental risks of the oil drilling operation.

    Yet in line with the initial thrust of the Labour Government’s original S&F Act, which was to make exploitation of the marine environment by vested interest easier by removing any legal challenge based on indigenous rights. Some on this site continue to argue that politicians, rather than local communities and iwi are to be more trusted with the final decision making power of exploitation of the marine environment. Even going as far as spreading a slur that if iwi were ever given a veto power, they would use the veto as a money making racket.

    Noting the weak response of Local Body Politicians, protest organiser Manu Caddie may disagree:

    He said there had been no consultation with residents or local iwi about the permit and the Gisborne District Council’s response had been “muted”.

  7. samiam 7

    hahah – Labour has spin doctors? This post must be a parody.

  8. Hey, it’s complicated… 🙂

    The Opotiki and Gisborne District Councils have been sitting on the fence – for some reason they think there might be lots of jobs in it for locals – but that is very unlikely given the qualifications and years of experience required just to sweep a broom on a rig or refinery.

    We’re not experts in drilling and exploration but we know that the experts make mistakes and we’re worried about the impact business as usual or an accident could have on sealife in the first instance, and residents of the region in the second.

    I guess some locals will find it less offensive if the local economy will benefit but personally I don’t think we should let it happen regardless – let’s find more sustainable energy options and get over oil and gas.

  9. insider 9

    This “protest” looked to me like a very clumsy effort to try and push some dodgy agenda probably involving cash to the protesters.

    The Government doesn’t have to consult on everything that is ever done as part of its administration of the country. And as Brownlee pointed out, this is non intrusive work going on outside NZ territorial waters. What;s there to consult on?

  10. Pepeketua 10

    I have another clanger for you…

    Apparently at the Youth Parliament today, when faced with questions from the bright young folk about the Government’s intentions on removing protection of Schedule Four public conservation lands to free them up for mining, his response was “If you don’t like mining, you should give up your walkmans.”

    oh dear.

    has the man not heard of Ipods yet? ; )

    And can he please stop misrepresenting the argument? this is not about ‘not liking mining’, it’s about saying that mining in National Parks and other precious and protected public conservation areas is not right, and should not be considered, as they were deliberately set aside to protect them from mining interests in 1997, and were to be left as places where “…nature should rule the roost.” (Nick Smith, 1997). They are for our grandchildren, their grandchildren and all future New Zealanders.

    And can he please set a better example of leadership to our young people? Surely his years as a woodwork teacher could have prepared him for this?

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