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It’s now or never – Te Ururoa

Written By: - Date published: 11:40 am, September 7th, 2010 - 33 comments
Categories: foreshore and seabed, maori party - Tags:

It’s a little disturbing to hear Te Ururoa Flavell saying that the Maori Party isn’t really satisfied with National’s new foreshore and seabed bill but will vote for it for now. He seems to think that there will be an opportunity to re-negotiate a new deal in the future. He’s dreaming.

Every party save ACT will vote for this law – Labour says its just their bill with slight alterations and different names, so they have no problems with it except that it’s a waste of Parliament’s time.

So, how, precisely, does the Maori Party imagine the issue will get back on the agenda? Both major parties have every incentive to consider the issue closed. With the Maori Party supporting the law, it will be seen as a full and final settlement.

Either you stand your ground for what you want now, Te Ururoa, or you accept what’s on the table now and let the issue go.

PS. You’ve got to love how National has renamed its foreshore and seabed bill the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill. They’re hoping the name change will mean the rednecks won’t know what’s going on. Well, I guess the same trick worked on the Maori Party.

PPS. What’s up with this Bill being tabled when both Maori Party co-leaders are out of the country? Doesn’t exactly suggest close coordination between Chris Finlayson, Gerry Brownlee, and the co-leaders.

33 comments on “It’s now or never – Te Ururoa ”

  1. just saying 1

    Quote: “So, how, precisely, does the Maori Party imagine the issue will get back on the agenda?”

    In the medium term, as a condition of any future coalition deal I imagine. The matter may be “closed” but if the MP hold the balance of power I imagine some small concessions could be made.

    Maori have made amazing, if gradual, progress on their concerns over time. More than I’m sure most would have predicted. I believe they will continue to do so.

  2. Both major parties have every incentive to consider the issue closed.

    Indeed they do. But what matters is whether Maori consider the matter closed. And that will only happen when they see a fair deal. Until then, they’ll keep raising it, and National and Labour will be forced to keep confronting it, whether they want to or not.

    • Blighty 2.1

      how will the issue get any air time? Both major parties will just say ‘but you voted for this law, you can’t expect us to go through all that again for you now’.

      It only came up this term becaue the Nats used it to wedge the MP from Labour. The Nats will have no incentive to turn over their own law in the future and neither will Labour

      • Tigger 2.1.1

        How do MP voters feel about this? How many chances will they give this lot to achieve their goals before they start waking up and voting Green?

      • Idiot/Savant 2.1.2

        how will the issue get any air time? Both major parties will just say ‘but you voted for this law, you can’t expect us to go through all that again for you now’.

        With the Maori party expected to hold the balance of power in the long term and having a voter base insulated from everyone else’s, I think they can demand the major parties to “go through” whatever they want.

        As for “you voted for it”, there’s nothing wrong with taking what you can get and then asking for more. That’s how progress happens. The fact that people supported the half-way house of civil unions does not forbid them from supporting same-sex marriage when the day comes.

    • Lew 2.2

      What you say is strictly true, I/S, but by backing this they catastrophically weaken their bargaining position on this topic such that any future progress toward justice might need to be undertaken by an agency other than the Māori party. And we can be damned sure it won’t be the Nats or Labour.

      They weaken their brand and risk alienating their base, and (much more importantly) they cement the age-old notion that Māori are a laughing-stock — political amateurs able to be bought off with baubles and hatchets. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, but that perception exists and needs to be put to bed once and for all. This isn’t the way to do so.


      • Maynard J 2.2.1

        You say that they are not amateurs to be bought off with baubles and hatchets, but the very essence of this post is that’s what is happening, and you seemingly agree with that point.

        Of course, the Maori party are not Maori as a whole, but they’re the most visible politcal arm short of tama iti’s buttocks…

        • Lew

          The point is that this — and the initial post-settlement ‘sales’ of land, usually by people not legitimately empowered to sell it, who genuinely had no clue what they were in for — isn’t the whole story. In the rare cases where they’ve enjoyed something approaching parity in terms of negotiative power, Māori have historically done very well indeed. This is why the FSA repeal is such a crucial opportunity.


      • Richard 2.2.2

        Sure, the individuals associated with the Maori Party might suffer some credibility problems with accepting this deal, but that has nothing to do with Maori in general.

        Think of this as like the history of the Irish Republican movement. Sure the British government offered various “full and final” settlements and deals on the subject of Irish self-determination. Some were accepted, and some weren’t. However, until the Irish got a deal that they liked the issue didn’t go away. It might die down for a few years (or a generation or so), but until the Irish got something just the issue wouldn’t go away.

        Same thing applies here. The government can crow all that they like that a particular solution is “full and final”; but until such time as the majority of Maori believe that justice has been done there will always be another negotiation. And even if the majority of Maori now believe that the settlement is “just”, that doesn’t mean that they (or their descendants) cannot have a re-think in later years.

        These negotiations are part of a much longer game than the current government is prepared to think about.

  3. toad 3

    Every party save ACT will vote for this law…

    I don’t think so, Eddie:

    Mrs Turei said she was very disappointed that the Maori Party would support this unfair law.

    “Repealing the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 was a founding principle of the Maori Party, and yet they have ended up supporting a bill which essentially repeats the same injustices.

    “I sympathise with the Maori Party who have found themselves backed into a corner on this issue, but their commitment should be to their people first and foremost and I am incredibly disappointed that they have chosen to support this bill.”

  4. Lanthanide 4

    “Labour says its just their bill with slight alterations and different names, so they have no problems with it except that it’s a waste of Parliament’s time”

    Actually they’re concerned that it appears to be exactly the same as their existing law, BUT that the Maori Party seem to somehow think it is different.

  5. Actually they’re concerned that it appears to be exactly the same as their existing law, BUT that the Maori Party seem to somehow think it is different.

    Tone and consent are everything. Despite the F&S Act being pretty much what we would have got if the government had sat down and negotiated, it was bad because those negotiations didn’t happen; it was imposed on Maori. The new bill is almost exactly the same (give or take a bit here and there), but it has been developed in consultation with Maori, after an inquiry condemned the original. Iwi seem happy with it, and the Maori Party think its largely OK. And that makes all the difference in the world.

    • Blighty 5.1

      The MP doesn’t think it’s OK, they just have to vote for it or admit they’ve been screwed over.

      Iwi were moving ahead with the old law anyway and are concerned about the deadlines this one introduces.

      “Tone and consent are everything. ” – in other words, style trumps substance.

      • Pascal's bookie 5.1.1

        “style trumps substance.”

        I think it’s more like ‘process is substantive’

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 5.2

      So intent triumphs over content? Doesn’t that sound like an after the event rationalisation to you?

  6. The MP doesn’t think it’s OK, they just have to vote for it or admit they’ve been screwed over.

    And they’ll take whatever gains they can get, and come back for more later.

    “Tone and consent are everything. ” – in other words, style trumps substance.

    Laws are like sausages etc.

  7. toad 7

    It will be interesting to see whether Hone Harawira votes for it. I understand he is very unhappy with it.

  8. gobsmacked 8

    Election result:

    National plus ACT: 61

    Labour plus Greens: 57

    Maori Party: 5

    Hey presto! It’s back on the table.

    • Ron 8.1

      The problem there , Gob, is that Labour can’t make any promises about repealing the law in order to make a relationship with the MP.
      It seems to me that if the Left try to be principled about this, the shit hits the racist fan. If the Right pay lip service to the priniciples they’re statesmanlike and effective at working in parnership.

      The MP sold their souls over this issue – it’s the one issue they said was a line in the sand. It turns out power is more importanmt to them than principle. They’ll get away with it because the media won’t hound them about it. If they stand up and say – “we’re going with Labour bcause the Tories screwed us” it will become the same hot potatoe that led to the law in the fist place.

      I think taiana and pita will spin this to their voters as a small price to pay for the “advances ” they’ve made and they’ll survive. Pisses me off.

    • Blighty 8.2

      like Ron says.

      If either major party agreed to yet another revision of the F&S law, one which grants much stronger rights for iwi, they would be making themselves a one-term government.

      Labour would be inviting a racist backlash and National will simply never give the MP what it wants and won’t want to go through this issue twice in two terms for fear of stoking a new right party in the gap soon to be left by ACT.

      the MP can demand what it wants but it needs one of the majors to be willing to deal.

      • Lanthanide 8.2.1

        What if, instead of gob’s numbers, the MP had 10 seats? I think that might change things a little.

        • Bright Red

          what if they got 30?

          yeah, numbers give you power but while the MP is a minor party it can’t expect to get the F&S back on the agenda once it has voted for a settlement.

          • ron

            “…but while the MP is a minor party it can’t expect to get the F&S back on the agenda once it has voted for a settlement.”
            ….and who’s gonna vote for the pricks now? certainly not the liberal left who supported them last time. A Brown Tory party we don’t need.

            • Lew

              The ‘liberal left’, who are predominantly white middle-class educated folk, didn’t vote for them in either of the previous elections. They were elected by voters on the Māori roll who abandoned Labour because of the FSA.


  9. ron 9

    well some of the liberal left voted for them – and won’t asgain I shouldn’t think. Yes we know that their voter base was driven bt anger over the FSA. My point is that in order to styick iot to labopur the MP leadership went with the Tories, supported an appalling right wing agenda and got nothing. So – will anybody vote for them again?

    • Lew 9.1

      Well, no. Very few of the ‘liberal left’ are on the Māori roll. Very few people outside the Māori roll voted for them (since doing so was a waste of a vote).

      The final question is a good one, though — yet to be seen. And the answer is, it depends whether the māori party’s much-vaunted consultation and community engagement systems, by which they keep in touch with their support base, are genuine and transparent, or whether they’re a sham. If they’re actually doing what the flaxroots — even grudgingly — want here (as the endorsement of the ILG indicates they are), then they should be fine. If they’re not, there should be hell to pay. At present there’s evidence both ways.


  10. KJT 10

    All foreshore and seabed should be in public ownership. This could be done over time with compensation for anyone who can prove ownership rights in court. Some could be Grandfathered for the life of the current owner.
    More of a worry than customary ownership are the people who have fee simple title to foreshore and/or seabed such as port companies, who if Hide gets his way, will be sold ASAP.


  11. John Laurie 11

    All foreshore and seabed should be in public ownership. In the common sense meaning of the words there’s not a seabed or foreshore in the country where local hapus have maintained exclusive possession – how could there be when the whole country has believed for 100 years that beaches belonged to everyone. Who trusts our Courts to come to the right decision here, though? All New Zealanders includes an increasing proportion of Maori, who have benefited and continue to benefit from Crown-owned reserves as well as revenues going to the Crown. Foreshores were essential transport corridors when the Crown took them over. What each small local group lost in foreshores on their doorstep they gained in access to the rest of the country. The Labour Party should oppose this legislation. Labour used to believe in public ownership – what’s happened to them?

    • Lew 11.1

      Well, no. ‘Exclusive’ never meant nobody else got to use it — just meant nobody else had a claim to its possession. Customary usage by Māori historically included very broad and generous provisions for common usage, but that didn’t diminish possession.


  12. John Laurie 12

    Broad and generous provisions for common usage by the next door hapu Lew? The one down the road? Half the time there was a state of war between them. Why was the Auckland isthmus and the whole North Shore deserted for nearly 20 years from 1821 to 1839? This is why the Government assumed ownership of the foreshores and seabeds – to provide access for everyone along these transport routes – part of the Pax Britannica. Wouldn’t New Zealand be another Papua New Guinea or Ethiopia today without its immigrant majority?

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