- Date published:
7:38 am, December 14th, 2020 - 25 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, labour, Maori Issues, nz first, supercity, treaty settlements, uncategorized, winston peters - Tags: Ihumātao, treaty issues, Treaty of waitangi
With the removal of the NZ First handbrake from Government there is the expectation that this Government will achieve all sorts of good things. Radio New Zealand reported this morning on what will hopefully be the first of many.
There has been a major breakthrough towards resolving the standoff over Ihumātao, with an initial deal expected to go to Cabinet today.
RNZ understands the deal is for Fletcher Building to sell the land to the government, the first step in reaching a resolution; with agreement from Fletchers and Kīingitanga, on behalf of mana whenua.
While this would remove Fletchers from the equation, more work to then decide how the government and mana whenua reach a final agreement about the land would likely still have to be done.
Attempts by Labour ministers to get a Cabinet-mandated resolution were repeatedly blocked last term by coalition partner New Zealand First, which was voted out of Parliament at the election.
I wonder if we might see a come back from Winston Peters over the issue. Jane Patterson described his views on the issue during the last Government in this way:
New Zealand First, and its leader and former deputy prime minister Winston Peters, vowed throughout to block any taxpayer money being spent on resolving the dispute and warned of the “domino” effect it would have on sparking potential Treaty of Waitangi rows over land elsewhere. His party was in coalition with Labour, and consensus on decisions around the Cabinet had to be reached before any action could be taken.
During the election campaign he delivered a speech from Orewa calling the protesters “malcontents who got so much unjustified publicity, sticking mainly in the throat of traditional Māori”.
Peters said his party had said no to Labour “three times” and refused a request from its coalition partner to invoke the “agree to disagree” clause.
“For us, it was a matter of deep principle. For us, it was fundamental to whether we maintained confidence in Labour. So we told Labour that. And staved off any action before the election.”
I suspect we will see some Orewa type grandstanding either from him or from National in coming days. But New Zealand has moved on a great deal since Don Brash tried the same back in 2004. We all have a deepening connection with Te Ao Māori and as time goes by the breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi are more clearly understood.
And on a personal note can I express support for local iwi Te Kawerau ā Maki who have been criticised, unfairly in my view. I thought they had negotiated a very good deal in the circumstances and had fought to protect the land for an extended period of time.
I previously said this:
TKAM has been at the forefront of efforts to protect the Ihumātao area. In 2012 the tribe opposed private efforts to move the metropolitan urban limit and allow development of the area. It claimed that the whole area was waahi tapu.
It opposed the approval of a special housing area by Council and the Government in 2013. It protested against the lack of consultation but to no avail.
The tribe then negotiated with Fletchers about the development of the land and obtained significant concessions. The major concessions that were negotiated include:
- Affordable housing for whanau
- Employment and training opportunities
- Protection and enhancement of their natural and cultural heritage,
- Return of confiscated ancestral land to the ownership of mana whenua, to be preserved in perpetuity for the welfare of whanau.
These comments are taken from submissions made by Te Warena Taua to Auckland Council on August 27, 2015 in response to a SOUL presented petition urging Council to stop the development. At that meeting Cathy Casey moved a resolution that Council revokes its recommendation that the area be established as a special housing area. The resolution was lost five to twelve.
I can understand TKAM’s desire to get on with things. It has completed its treaty settlement. The tribe’s elders want to get on and complete the projects that they have set themselves to. It is a small tribe and its human and financial resources are limited.
And they have performed remarkably well. Having fought the Government the Council and Fletchers for the past eight years they have come up with a compromise that they can live with.
But a longer term view causes a completely different perspective to be reached. The land was confiscated by the Crown in 1863 under the pretext that Waikato Tainui were in rebellion but as conceded by the Crown in the treaty settlement this was not the case. The Crown has settled claims on two occasions and former Labour Prime Minister Peter Fraser said after the first one that he had no doubts about the “inherent justice of the claims of the Maori people”.
But this claim has been settled. And part of the settlement involved the transfer of a 3 hectare block of land in the general Ihumatao area to Waikato Tainui.
It will be interesting to see the details of the deal that has been reached. And it is good that without the NZ First handbrake this Government is showing a willingness to do what is right.