Key’s deceit sees Tuhoe walk away

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, May 28th, 2010 - 46 comments
Categories: treaty settlements - Tags:

Tuhoe are about to walk away from the Treaty talks. More power to them. Key has screwed them over. They’ve been waiting generations. They can afford to wait a little longer until we have a decent PM. Or they can go to the UN, see what that DRIP really means.

This is where ‘take it or leave it’ Key gets us. Dude still thinks he’s on the trading floor.

Same with leaky homes and the foreshore and seabed. Key says ‘this is my final offer, take it or leave it’. He doesn’t seem to get that his job isn’t about striking the best deal for the crown. It’s about delivering justice to people who have been wronged. Not screwing them again.

Soon, Key will be gone. Tuhoe aren’t going anywhere. They’ll win their their lands back in the end.

46 comments on “Key’s deceit sees Tuhoe walk away”

  1. ianmac 1

    Tuhoe have gained much support for their just cause from this but sadly the bulk of the population would probably say that it was just another land grab from those pesky Maori. Therefore Key would see it as non-damaging to National. Indeed some would see it as a brave strong leader protecting us!

    • Bunnykinz 1.1

      I think the problem is that Tuhoe and their supporters just don’t understand New Zealand history the way Key and his supporters understand it. Does anyone remember Key’s infamous “One of the things that’s unique about New Zealand is we are not a country that has come about through civil war or a lot of fighting internally. We’re a country that peacefully came together,’ comment?
      (Sorry, I don’t know how to hyperlink)
      I am assuming these “negotiations” are just another example of a country coming together peacefully?
      Interesting to note Pita Sharples’ response in the final paragraph. Guess that offer of a history lesson never got taken up.

  2. Jim Nald 2

    This latest sad, sorry episode belies National’s sincere resolution of Treaty settlements by their 2014 deadline.

    • Jim Nald 2.1

      It should be added that John Key has been making his Government and the NZ people take Tuhoe closer to 1914 and further from 2014.

      [Btw, I previously used “sincere” with a sense of irony.]

  3. frustrated 3

    If the deal breaker was the return of the Urewera National Park to Tuhoe why not just return it to Tuhoe with a covenant on access and development to make it as per the current situation with the National Park.

    Most voters probably don’t know where the National park is and haven’t/will never visit it anyway.

  4. I get the impression that it is all a bit of a joke for key. He has money so what does he care – the PM gig is quite cool – a bit relaxing but not a keeper. His looseness is showing.

    As for Tuhoe – walking away is good – leave this lightweight to stew in his own juices.

    • Jim Nald 4.1

      And Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson walks away too?

      • marty mars 4.1.1

        Key has shamed him and his whole negotiation team. He probably comes out of this fiasco looking okay, whether he packs a sad or not.

        • Lew

          How do you figure? I would say he comes out looking emasculated, whether he packs a sad or not. (So there’s not much point in him doing so).


  5. Bill 5

    “Key says ‘this is my final offer, take it or leave it’.”

    Problem Zet, is that too many other people…I’d say a sizeable majority…possess a ‘take it or leave it’ mind set. Which means that Johnny Boy’s approach is not an aberration and not simply a result of working on the trading room floor..

    There is an interesting experiment that can be run on groups which highlights the prevalence of that and other such destructive approaches to problems and one another.

    Split a group in two. Tell each that they represent an entire population. Tell each, separately, that their population is going to be wiped out by a viral infection. Tell each…again separately…that the orange you will place in the middle of the room is the cure. But that anything less than 100% of the cure contained within the orange will be utterly ineffective against the virus. And the clock is ticking.

    Now sit back and watch them go.

    Okay. The twist is that you told one group that they needed all of the peel for a cure. The other group were told they needed all of the flesh. Two seconds of communication and cooperation would see everyone happy. But that ‘never’ happens and one or the other or both populations wind up dead depending on how feral, cunning or competitive etc one or the other was prepared to be.

    And it comes from where?

    If it’s simply our nature, then we might as well throw in the towel. Thankfully, it isn’t simply our nature…if it was, I suspect we would be incapable of discerning it, never mind acting differently.

    (sigh) I say it far too often, but here we go again. Market mentalities permeate or invade ever increasing aspects of our lives. And it is relentless in insisting that I must ‘sell high’ and ‘buy low’ or in other words, that I must seek to rip off those around me if I want to flourish or even merely avoid being ripped off by those around me. So in far too many of our interactions with one another we are guided by a wholly inappropriate seeking of advantage and/or fearing of disadvantage. Meanwhile, whatever it is that is that orange in the middle of the room is getting ripped apart.

    Time we developed other ways. Ways that don’t reward and therefore reinforce destructive aspects of our behaviours.

    Which is a long way of saying that the problem is much bigger than just John Key.

  6. Puddleglum 6

    Bill, exactly. The recent Listener reporting of the university survey of New Zealanders’ attitudes towards ‘egalitarianism’ supports the idea that we are becoming increasingly accepting and supporting of these ‘market mentalities’. Key is the PM we ‘deserve’, to that extent.

    At the end of the day, you are what you do. Imposed structures like the ‘free market’ eventually weed out other ways of doing.

    I’ve often speculated that Adam Smith’s famous, mythical, ‘baker’ probably didn’t, in reality, act principally from his own self-interest, because the particular ‘market’ he was engaged in was indistinguishable from the social/community structures within which it operated. He was probably the only baker in town but I guarantee he wouldn’t have therefore acted like a monopolist, in conventional market theory terms. His life – or those of his family – wouldn’t have been worth living if he had done so.

    anti spam word: cs – is that a word?

    • rainman 6.1

      In other words, our economic system selects for sociopaths.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1


      • Bill 6.1.2

        It’s not that it selects for socio-paths per se that’s the problem here as much as it encourages socio-pathic traits on all of us by dint of the advantages and gross disadvantages that accrue from particular behaviours.

  7. gingercrush 7

    I still think John Key wanted to do the deal. Problem is not many other cabinet ministers wanted that to happen. National’s cabinet is rather conservative and outside Key, Te Heu Heu, Finlayson and maybe Joyce, Groser, Power and Bennett

    It has the hallmarks of McCully. I imagine every other cabinet minister were against the idea. Then there would have been pressure from the party and pressure from the backbench. Act would have put the pressure on as well. Therefore, John Key didn’t have the support to stop it and chose to lose that particular battle. Especially when John Key is fighting two other contentious issues within National. Those being the Foreshore and Seabed and the ETS.

    In that sense John Key isn’t as dominant as Helen Clark around the cabinet. I doubt Clark lost many battles. Much of the party were beholden to Clark but probably more important, having seen what a fractious cabinet does to your party, Clark had no desire to have what happened to Lange. Even today the Lange period haunts Labour. Hence, why the opposition has this seeming too-easy situation where there doesn’t appear to be many fractions. Only its a mirage and if and when Goff goes its going to get nasty.

    • Lew 7.1

      GC, this is contradicted by Tamati Kruger and Chris Finlayson, who say Cabinet had all but signed it off. I agree with the assessment that McCully and Joyce knocked it on the head.

      Also agree that Key is probably not as strong a force within Cabinet as Clark, but my view is that he has a much stronger sense of his own executive authority. Clark would win her cabinets over or require them to comply; Key simply acts on his own authority, does so in public, and expects them to fall into line. The first half of this was what we saw when he claimed Tariana was “fine”. But she didn’t (couldn’t) fall into line.

      The big scandal here isn’t so much that the government didn’t return Te Urewera. This is just the same-old same-old of settler-dominated NZ politics. The scandal is twofold: a failed negotiation due to broken faith and insult, worsening the overall relationship with tangata whenua and giving them further cause for grievance; and the public undermining of a senior cabinet minister with a very difficult job, and an extremely hard-working and patient crown negotiating team with an even harder job. How OTS can look other iwi leaders in the eye now and tell them that they have any authority to negotiate is beyond me.


      • gingercrush 7.1.1

        Yes I didn’t make my post very clear (well they’re never clear). I was meant to say initially Cabinet signed it off but then McCully interfered and then likely went somewhere along the lines I stated. Though you’re probably right about Joyce.

      • ak 7.1.2

        Threefold even, Lew. I think blatantly and deliberately lying about Turia’s reaction will have the greatest ongoing impact. Coming smack on top of the other mana-trampling you outline, not the sort of lady to forget something like that, if past relations with Hels are anything to go by…..

        • Lew

          It’s true, ak. Tariana might be half the woman she once was physically, but I don’t think she’s gone soft yet.


  8. clandestino 8

    I don’t understand…do elements on the left really want a national park in private hands, whatever their colour? Sure there’s the sympathy for historic injustice, the pushing of deserved compensation and so forth. But isn’t it a worry that 10-20 years down the track when an iwi trust wants to develop land, many, including myself, will mourn the loss of what would have otherwise been left to nature? It’s not about greedy Maori but rational decisions that any of us would make given the opportunity to secure our kids future. The only solution for me is no ownership with democratic government administration and a monetary settlement for Tuhoe with rights to develop energy, tourism, or stakes in SOE activities in the area (similar to what Ngai Tahu got). It’s probably not a popular view but I can’t help but feeling any ownership of national parks is the top of a slippery slope.

    • Lew 8.1

      A good question, and more considerately put than usual. There’s considerable diversity (and inconsistency) of views on this point.

      My view is that the Treaty process and its integrity, and the resolution of historical grievances as a matter of principle trumps an ideological aversion to any private ownership — but, that having been said, I think the Crown must try their damnedest to caveat and retain and guarantee the status of these resources to the extent possible. That — not denying the claims — is their primary negotiative object, in my view. Full, alienable, unrestricted fee-simple title should not be on the table. Nor is it, anywhere. Nor was it in Te Urewera. But that doesn’t rule out other ownership by tangata whenua.


      • clandestino 8.1.1

        Sure there’s something in the compromise of integrity by the crown, but I think we should be cautious to over react to what I think was the central concern of the labour party as well during the foreshore and seabed issue. I get uneasy when the word ‘racist’ is thrown around too often.
        I can’t see it as an ideological aversion to private ownership, it’s a question of trust – in more than one sense. You can place all the caveats on you want, but then the transaction could be worthless. To me, material compensation is the priority in helping Maori achieve an equal footing. Take Ngai Tahu and Kaikoura – they have exclusive whale watching business rights. It’s been a boon for them…this is good. Was anything like this in the Urewera deal?

        • Lew

          Land is material; but it’s also more than that. With respect, what you think is a priority for settlements is less important than what they think (while not suggesting that there is a consistent and homogeneous “they”).

          I see what you’re saying about Labour’s concern regarding the FSA, but you need to remember that much of the left — and much of Labour — did and does consider that act and the position taken by that government to be explicitly, undeniably racist, and a betrayal of Labour’s long and fruitful relationship with tangata whenua. I am very much among those.


          • Pascal's bookie

            Me too. My position on it is purely egotistical though.

            My claim to be of here is either via the treaty, or I’m here via oath breaking and illegal warfare. The latter is an unfortunate fact, but we have the incredible opportunity to restore it to the former, solely through the good will of the victims of the oath breaking and illegal warfare.

            We are being offered a mulligan to partially correct some pretty awful wrongs, and while that will come at a cost, I think it’s well worth paying it.

            • Lew

              I don’t think that’s egotistical. It’s what lies beneath all the other stuff.


    • Alexandra 8.2

      I dont think the usual arguments re public v private apply in this case, for two reasons. Firstly the great importance of the land to Tuhoe, and the need for redress. Returning land occupied and never ceded to the crown by its occupants is simply the right thing to do. Secondly, if title is granted the land will collectively be owned and managed by tuhoe nation for future generations. I see the collective ownership of the land by Tuhoe as not dissimilar to its collective ownership under the auspices of the crown, just with different players.

      • marty mars 8.2.1

        I agree – I think the ‘private’ argument is a red herring. At some point the wrong has to be righted and when it is we will all be better off.

  9. ianmac 9

    Perhaps put the Te Urewera in Public ownership as that is what the Nats want for the seabed and foreshore.

    • Lew 9.1

      They already turned down co-management and a gift-and-gift-back scheme as per Taranaki. Right at the start of negotiations, as I recall.


  10. Zaphod Beeblebrox 10

    Have National put a dead line on treaty claims? If so, this appears a very cunning move by Tuhoe. As the deadline approaches, it may be the crown who will be under pressure to push forward a settlement. It would be pretty difficult to argue Tuhoe don’t deserve something simply because an artificial time limit has expired.

    • Lew 10.1

      Yes, that’s the 2014 referred to in Jim Nald’s comment above. An absurdly ambitious deadline, even supposing everything was going to go smoothly.


  11. BLiP 11

    I guess the National Ltd focus groups win again. For now.

    • Lew 11.1

      Don’t you think the focus groups “winning” would have meant TÅ«hoe agreeing to a much-devalued settlement and having it declared full and final, giving up any other claims? As I see it, they’ve just held onto their bargaining chips, and it’s just as Zet says: they’re patient; much more patient than governments which are potentially replaced three times a decade.


      • BLiP 11.1.1

        No, not really. IMNSHO, this government is only interested in winning in 2011 and expediency is its motto. From within the confines of my tinfoil-lined cave, the timing of the “cannibals” comment just after the angst expressed at the National Ltdâ„¢ conference about them “bloody maaaries” seems a bit cute .

        Mr Kruger told the broadcaster that he understood an agreement in principle had been scheduled to be discussed at Cabinet yesterday but on Sunday night it was removed from the agenda, following a National Party conference where Mr Key tried to damp down members concerns that Maori were gaining a lot through deals with his government.

        This piece of “Iwi/Kiwi” seems a calculated attempt to shift general focus away from the inequity of the Budget/Highwatergate and to soothe furrowed brows over the short term.

        On the other hand, Occam’s Razor probably applies and its simply that John Key has brought the tools of a money-changer rather than the skills of leadership to the Treaty settlement process.

        I agree, though, the Tühoe have done the right thing, and good on them.

        (how do you get that macron over the U?)

        • Lew

          Oh, I completely agree with you about it being a carefully-timed and measured response. What I don’t agree about is that the government has really gained anything. They’d have gained much more from having successfully closed a deal — though not necessarily this deal — with TÅ«hoe.

          I agree Key has approached this as a trader, but I also think that’s an important skill-set. Rather than repeat myself, you can read my spiel here.

          As for the Å« — depending on your OS and such, there are ways to make it so; google how to set up the nz-māori langauge and keyboard map. But if you’re too lazy, just c&p it from somewhere else 🙂


          • BLiP

            They’d have gained much more from having successfully closed a deal — though not necessarily this deal — with TÅ«hoe.

            Absolutely, and not only National Ltd but Aotearoa as a whole. However, with this lot, its about the short term, its about fixing today’s problem tomorrow regardless of next week. Just another example of National Ltd’s total unsuitability for government.

  12. coolas 12

    Key may rue the day. Tamati Kruger has mentioned recourse to the United Nations, presumably under the Indigenous Rights Treaty provisions. And as Tuhoe didn’t sign Tiriti o Waitangi, their case is unimpeded.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    There is also a certain court case lurking in the background in time for the next election. Things could get testy.

  14. B Ormsby 14

    From Tuhoe’s perspective the government isn’t ‘giving back’ the land to Tuhoe, because Tuhoe never gave it up. The government is acknowledging that it already belongs to Tuhoe.

    The idea that if the land is ‘returned’ to Tuhoe, they might develop it or do something with it that other New Zealanders disagree with is irrelevant. Tuhoe have the right to do whatever they want. And despite that, Tuhoe would do a better job of looking after it than anyone else, because they are and see themselves as kaitiaki.

    Only greedy wealth obsessed people would think that someone will destroy their land in order to make money. Tuhoe will continue to do what they have done for centuries, which is live from and care for Te Urewera.

  15. Alexandra 15

    “The government is acknowledging that it already belongs to Tuhoe”

    Im curious about this comment. How and when in recent times has this acknowledgment been made and how is it expressed?

  16. B Ormsby 16

    I mean that if the treaty settlement went through, it would be an acknowledgement by the government that Te Urewera belongs to Tuhoe. Tuhoe already know that it’s theirs, it’s central government that doesn’t acknowledge the fact.

  17. millsy 17

    If the left wants to get ahead in this country, then they need to stop supporting the privatisation of a prime peice of the National Park estate via transfer to an iwi elite.

    In 1997-98, I went to the Urewera Mountains, and I was awed by their beautifulness.

    Handing them back to Tuhoe would destory New Zealanders birthright to access them, as Tuhoe would lock them up, except to fee paying tourists.

  18. Alexandra 18

    Progressive left thinking also includes redressing past wrongs. The privatisation argument ignores that privatisation is a pakeha construct and that fee simple maori land remains collectively owned and managed by the tribe, not as you suggest by some elite group. The principles of maori land ownership need not be inconsistant with left ideals, unless you subscribe to state ownership of all land and resources in Aotearoa. Tuhoe have a birthright to the land by virtue of having occupied it for over 7 centuries! Public fears re access should be soothed by the promise made by Tuhoe to allow access at the recent failed negotiations.

  19. millsy 19


    The fact remains that the best way to ensure the Urewera National Park is freely availble to access by all is for it to be forever in crown ownership.

    I am of the understanding the Tuhoe were seeking to foot the the bill to maintain the park. Given the financial status of that tribe, I cannot belive that it would be able to do so without locking up the park unless people pay exorbitant prices.

    Frankly, I do not care for Tuhoe’s greivances. They just want to get their mitts on a prime peice of our conservation estate so they can lock people out, like they have done with a long list of conservation land.

    Tuhoe must realise that it is OUR park, too as much as it is theirs.

    Kruger can pi** off.

  20. millsy 20

    As for the lot of the Tuhoe people, perhaps Roger and Richard should have thought of that before flogging the forests off.

    The leaders of the Black Power, Mongerel Mob and the Tribesmen must be down on their knees every night thanking the 4th Labour government for handing them 2 generations of new recruits.

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