web analytics

National’s rock and hard place

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 am, April 12th, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, foreshore and seabed, maori party, Mining, national - Tags:

National’s proposed reform of the foreshore and seabed legislation is no ‘elegant solution’. Instead, it is being criticised in the business press as an undemocratic favouring of Maori business interests over Pakeha ones, while iwi are saying that it doesn’t give them what they want.

I’m not endorsing either standpoint because I think the business and corporate iwi elites are pretty much as bad as each other – rent-seeking capitalists all – but I think it’s important we look at where the sides stand and why National is in danger of falling behind two stools as it seeks to do enough to win Maori Party support while not pissing off business too much (and why it’s just silly to think National can magic up an ‘elegant solution’ that eluded everyone else).

The business perspective was articulated in last week’s NBR under the headline Business beware Maori sovereignty landing on a beach near you (needs subscription):

…To suit its own electoral purposes in 2011, National in its present guise as the Crown is prepared to sell down the river New Zealand’s businesses and citizens who are not its Treaty partners…

…Business submitters on the RFSA should be aware of the Trojan horse represented by non-territorial customary rights as rent-seeking and veto-wielding rorts, but the greatest potential evil rests with territorial customary rights…

Coastal Maori tribes would be empowered as unelected bodies to write their own self-interested planning documents (as they would also for non-territorial customary rights) that would be compulsorily included in elected local authority regional policy and planning.

Bound by these Maori plans would be not only local authorities but also the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the Department of Conservation, and the Ministry of Fisheries.

Included would be a right to permit activities the veto-wielding power that underpins legalized extortion in rent-seeking without legal recourse to challenge denial of permission.

Local authorities, the Minister of Conservation, the Director-General of Conservation, and requests for foreshore and seabed use or development consents by business interests could be vetoed or simply consigned to limbo by coastal Maori with customary title without any legal redress proposed in the RFSA.

Indeed, coastal Maori tribes endowed with customary title will be allowed to make things up as they go along:

‘When giving, or refusing to give, consent there would be no obligation on the coastal hapu/iwi to make a decision based on criteria or restrictions set out in the relevant legislation.’

‘As with the ‘right to permit activities’ award, the decision of the coastal hapu/iwi to give or refuse consent could be made according to a Maori world view, on grounds which are not covered by the relevant legislation’ (p. 41).

New Zealand’s businesses can hardly be expected to derive much benefit from National setting up a regime of unelected, unaccountable coastal Maori tribal sovereignty for this is what the RFSA’s customary title really proposes.

In practice, it is likely that the veto power will be welded so as to make iwi de facto landlords. They will stay their veto and allow others to operate on sections of foreshore and seabed over which they have customary title only in return for money. Business isn’t keen on that.

On the other hand, iwi believe they own the foreshore and seabed and they want to be able to use the resources there as owners, not only after going cap in hand to the government or the council for licences on the same basis as any non-Maori organisation would have to.

National’s proposal does not allow iwi to side-step the consenting process, their customary title, as laid out in the Nats discussion document, will not give them any right to mine or undertake aquaculture superior to that of any other organisation (apart from their power to veto everyone else).

That’s why iwi want full, unalienable ownership, or some stronger form of customary title. The latest suggestion from iwi seems to be that iwi’s customary title should be presumed, rather than awarded by court or won by negotiation, and it will be for the Crown to challenge it if it wants. This would need to be a stronger version of customary rights than laid out in the Nats’ discussion document, it would have to include rights for mining and aquaculture. That’s lightyears from what National is proposing.

As it stands, there is such negligible difference between the rights iwi can be awarded under National’s proposals and under the current scheme that Ngati Porou has indicated it will stick with the deal it negotiated with the Crown under the current law – it cannot get anything more from National’s new law.

Of course, the Maori Party has always said that the existing foreshore and seabed law isn’t good enough (is racist, in fact). So, if National’s proposals don’t make any real difference, it’s hard to see how they can be acceptable to the Maori Party or iwi like Ngati Apa.

Now, Chris Finlayson has thrown two more cats among the pigeons.

On The Nation he encouraged iwi to negotiate with him rather than go through the courts. That’s ironic, after all, a week or so ago Finlayson was arguing the importance of the proposed reforms was that they gave back to iwi the right to go to court. And it suggests National might be aiming to leave the definition of ‘customary title’ loose enough to get the Maori Party to vote for it.

If the legal definitions are left loose enough for the Maori Party to support the reforms without losing face it runs the risk for National of court decisions that award customary title that is for all intents and purposes freehold. So, National will want to avoid court cases and negotiate directly.

Finlayson is also leaving open the possibility that iwi will be able to win ownership of minerals under the foreshore and seabed as part of their customary rights. That would be a major change. Just as the Crown owns all gold in the ground no matter who digs it up and charges the extractor a royalty, iwi would own whatever minerals are under their foreshore and seabed and be able to prevent others mining or charge a royalty. A gold mine (or, more accurately, a phosphates mine) for iwi but something more that will displease non-Maori business who want a crack at those resources themselves. The devil will be in the detail when it comes to mineral rights.

There is no simple solution here. That’s why Labour didn’t find one and why National’s ‘solution’ is essentially a rehash of Labour’s one. It’s also why National is remaining fuzzy on the key points like mineral rights.

Will National give iwi the rights to minerals and aquaculture that they want and alienate business in the process?

Or will they stick to the position they’ve offered? And if they do, will the Maori Party come on board and abandon the cause it was founded to fight?

Either the Nats will have to seriously annoy one of two key allies or the Maori party will have to desert its base.

Interesting times.

23 comments on “National’s rock and hard place ”

  1. ianmac 1

    A minor point but Finlayson’s response to a question was that Iwi would for example, be able to set up a hotel as long as it was within Consent process. But this is the Seabed and Foreshore, not dry land. Spurious?

  2. How can National’s solution effectively be a rehash of Labour’s, if only National’s gives the veto rights you write about?

    • Bright Red 2.1

      The intersting thing about the veto power is it doesn’t give iwi what they want and it is seriously bad news for non-Maori business.

      From the persepctive of ‘does this give iwi what they set up the Maori Party to get’ – you would have to say there is not enough difference from what Labour passed.

  3. Zaphod Beeblebrox 3

    How can you build something on land/foreshore that no-body owns? If there is no ownership who would be the applicant for resource consent? Who pays the rates, who pays for the rubbish collection and council services?

  4. tc 4

    It seems to be part of the strategy to make it look like all is fixed and yet nothing is fixed all at the same time so where’s there’s confusion and an ability to negotiate they can spin as a win-win and mop up the red neck votes in the process.

    Unless labour get some very clear messages (short understandable ones not Goff speak) and keep the theme running through till next election……the nat’s will defacto look like solving an issue when they’ve done nothing of the sort.

  5. Jim Nald 5

    re tc: “solving an issue when they’ve done nothing of the sort”

    That reminds me a friend, a staunch National voter, who was trying to work through the policy madness and saying National could be setting up a booby trap for when Labour gets in.

    To which I replied, National can then resurrect their iwi/kiwi billboards and revive that campaign!

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Maybe this is smart politics by National.

    Firstly, although some conservative National supporters may not be happy with the arrangement, where else have they got to go? They would perceive Labour to be more liberal towards Maori than National. Hence, if this was an important issue to these voters they would probably tend to move further right (towards ACT) rather than left towards Labour. Hence, weakening of National support on this score is likely to strengthen its natural ally.
    Secondly, National may well pick up support from more liberal and Maori voters who see National as doing the best they can to rectify a perceived injustice against Maori.
    Thirdly, Labour doesn’t have the moral capital to try and benefit from this. For instance, if they complain the bill doesn’t go far enough, their own record with respect to the FS act will trip them up every time. Also, Labour is in no position to mount an IWI/KIWI type of campain without further alienating themselves from Maori.

    Thus, I don’t really see how National can lose from this.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      National can lose from this if they start to lose those ‘right wingers’.

      The iwi/kiwi mob aren’t huge and I think you are right that they won’t go to labour. If they go to ACT, and that shows up in the polls, then centrists and liberals will think pretty hard about what that means about what the next NACT govt will look like. Esp if the maori party make signals that they may not necessarily support the National Party after the next election. There are also various promises that were made that were specific to this term. National’s right wing will want that spelt out just as much as their opponents will. though for different reasons.

      National got centrist voters by being Labour lite and promising to keep Roger Douglas sidelined. They need to hold on to the centrists to retain power. It’s not about them gaining more centrists and liberals. The right wingers in the KB comments are all outraged and feel betrayed that Key hasn’t gone far enough in breaking his election promises. They are deluded.

      Another point to bear in mnd is that once the F&S act is done, the mP gains quite a bit of strategic freedom to differentiate themselves from their current colleagues in government.

    • Bright Red 6.2

      “Firstly, although some conservative National supporters may not be happy with the arrangement, where else have they got to go?”

      Winston. Peters.

      captcha: literally

      • tsmithfield 6.2.1

        Yeh, you could be right on that one.

        Having said that, though, if NZ First is seeking to rebuild its base around red-necks then NZ First will probably end up as another right-wing ally for National as well. Perish the thought though.

        • tsmithfield 6.2.1.1

          Another thing, BR, do you think either of the major parties will want to cut a deal with Winston?
          Aferall, he has been the kiss of death to political parties in recent times.

          • felix 6.2.1.1.1

            do you think either of the major parties will want to cut a deal with Winston?

            If it meant the difference between govt. and opposition? Both of them would. In a heartbeat. No matter what they say.

            • tsmithfield 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Perhaps.

              On the other hand, JK has already taken a stance of not being prepared to deal with WP.
              If he takes the same stance next election, he will probably be believed by voters (given it is consistent with his previous position). This could have the effect of pulling the rug out from under WP’s feet. Right-wing leaning voters will probably decide not to go with NZ First because they would see the only option for NZ First would be a coalition with Labour. This being the case, it could “rescue” National votes potentially lost to NZ First, and at the same time, make it very difficult for NZ First to reach the 5% barrier.

              • felix

                I think you just like the clack clack sound the keys make when you type.

              • tsmithfield

                So, the problem with my logic is? Your problem is when you run out of logical responses you start mindless slanging.

                If National took the approach I am suggesting, then it would make it virtually impossible for Labour to go into a coalition relationship with NZ First. This is because the memory of the previous Labour NZ First fiasco will still be alive and well with most people, including potential Labour voters. Thus, a move by Key to distance National from NZ First would almost certainly be mirrored by Labour. If this is the case, then I doubt NZ First will have much of a future.

              • felix

                Nah, I just get bored with pointless speculation very quickly.

                Everything you’ve suggested makes perfect sense as long as each of your predictions is accepted as a certainty. Sorry, but that just ignores too many variables to make it interesting.

  7. tc 7

    Yup agree, it’s brilliant politics with the MP not needing to see beyond it as they’d be more then happy with using this as proof of their right to exist politically….job done.

    F&S was way too intellectual and backfired electorally from day 1 for labour…..a sword they’ll continue to be jabbed with by nat’s/MP.

    JK will smile and wave his arm of on this issue…….new game, new players with a rather tired opposition looking out of ideas.

  8. Adrian 8

    Remember Winston, even with all the bullshit swirling around him at the last election was only 3 people in 1000 away from Parliament. Add in this debacle, a couple of great televised debates where he makes Key look bewildered ( not a big ask ), sticking to his 3 messages ad infinitum and you have a repeat of the Peter Dunne ” commonsense ” momentum and ” keep the bastards honest ” Winnie is looking at 10% with a scary coterie of coat-tailers. God, he could get that 3 in a 1000 two days after the Epsomites get their revised rates bill.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Update to air border order strengthens crew requirements
    Additional measures coming into effect on Monday will boost our defence against COVID-19 entering New Zealand through the air border, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “As part of our precautionary approach and strategy of constant review, we’re tightening the requirements around international aircrew,” Chris Hipkins said. The COVID-19 Public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • A true picture of Māori business activity
    A better picture of the contribution Māori businesses make to the economy will be possible with changes to the way information is collected about companies and trading enterprises. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced a new option for Māori enterprises who are part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF funding for Taranaki projects
    The South Taranaki museum, a New Plymouth distillery and a Pasifika building firm will benefit from a Government investment totalling more than $1 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The $1.05m in grants and loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help the recipients expand and create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fijian Language Week 2020 inspires courage and strength during COVID-19 pandemic
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the theme for the 2020 Fijian Language Week reflects the strong belief by Fijians that their language and culture inspires courage and strength that is strongly needed in times of emergencies, or through a significant challenge like the global COVID-19 pandemic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Trades training builds on iwi aspirations
    An investment of $2.025 million from the Māori Trades and Training Fund will support Māori to learn new skills while making a positive difference for their communities, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “K3 Development Limited Partnership will receive $2,025,000 for its Takitimu Tuanui apprenticeship programme, which will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Conservation Minister plants two millionth tree in Raglan restoration
    A long-term conservation project led by the Whaingaroa Harbour Care group in the western Waikato reaches a significant milestone this week, with the planting of the two millionth tree by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Planting the two millionth tree crowns 25 years of commitment and partnership involving Whaingaroa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago