Pollyanna Finlayson ignores reality

Written By: - Date published: 10:33 am, April 26th, 2010 - 21 comments
Categories: flip-flop, foreshore and seabed, maori party, national - Tags: , ,

The other day, Chris Finlayson described himself as a Pollyanna – it’s an American term (of derision) for someone who sees everything as positive, ignoring unhappy realities.

I couldn’t help but think of that listening to Morning Report’s coverage this morning of the last Foreshore and Seabed hui.

Finlayson was all bouncy and optimistic, selling his ‘no-one owns it’ ‘solution’ to the F&S issue. Then, there was audio of various Maori speakers. Not a single one agreed with his offer or anything like it.

The Maori position is clear. Maori did not give away the foreshore and seabed in the Treaty. Their customary law ownership was not superseded by the imposition of Crown law, indeed the Treaty specifically recognises that iwi’s ownership of their property remains intact. The Crown recognises that the foreshore and seabed can be owned, and there are lots of private titles. So, Maori should have their title recognised. They should have to go through courts or have some silly ‘no one owns it’ comprise. It’s their land, they never sold it or gave it up, so it remains theirs (and they should be able, as owners, to exploit its aquaculture and mineral potential).

Finlayson simply doesn’t seem to understand the gulf that lies between that position and his, which is in essence the current law with a new kind of title that doesn’t differ significantly from Crown ownership in the current law.

But maybe he doesn’t need to. All he needs is the votes of the Maori Party. And it’s pretty clear they’re going to sell out.

Tariana Turia has her Whanau Ora ministerial portfolio – even thought it has no budget, no plan, no ministry, and no credibility. Pita Sharples has his DRIP – which the Government has made clear it considers a meaningless document. That’s enough to buy their support for a meaningless ‘symbolic’ change to the F&S legislation.

And it’s not Finlayson who stands to lose in a backlash from Maori voters who expected real change, it’ll be the Maori Party.

Hmm, maybe Finlayson has good reason to play the Pollyanna after all.

21 comments on “Pollyanna Finlayson ignores reality”

  1. Roger 1

    Finlayson has every reason to be happy. National only promised to repeal the Foreshore ans Seabed legislation brought in. It was unclear as to what National were going to put in its place and nobody thought to ask whether or not what National would propose would even be any better. Finlayson is positive because he is politely saying thanks for the support Pita and Turia but checkmate, you lose. I will use my powers of prophesy and predict that this will be driven through under urgency and supported by act. By the time the public and the press are aware the issue will be done and dusted. There will be another Hikoi that will change nothing.

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    You’d think the MP will split into two parties- the Harawira MP and the Sharples/Turia MP.

  3. Ianmac 3

    The foreshore is the area below high tide. The approval in principle by Findlayson for hotels or similar to be built on the foreshore pending Consent doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t see such a plan being practical.

    • lprent 3.1

      Not usually. It typically refers to the area past the dunes going out to sea. It is a integrated generally balanced system that you disrupt at your peril.

      The reason why is because the dunes act as a sand store that gets whittled back during winter going to the underwater berm. During summer the dune is replenished by sand moving up onto the beach and blowing back into the dune.

      Removing dunes or trimming them to get a better view is a surefire way to induce coastal erosion, not only where you do it, but usually for quite some distance away.

      • Ianmac 3.1.1

        Well Iprent. I was so sure that the definition of Foreshore was “that area between High tide and low tide.” It does make a difference on many fronts. For example we used to talk of the foreshore meaning the first 20 metres or so above high tide but as I said, I thought that in this context the definition had changed. Agree about the sandhills being important.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    It’s their land, they never sold it or gave it up, so it remains theirs

    I suspect that you’ll find that they didn’t claim ownership of the seabed until they realised that it had a lot of wealth that could be exploited. I’m pretty sure you’ll find that they didn’t claim it in 1840. Ergo, they don’t title to it now.

    • Lew 4.1

      Well, DTB, that’s just unvarnished bollocks. You could read the findings of the Foreshore and Seabed Review Panel which state very clearly the exact opposite of what you’re arguing:

      Immediately prior to this [Ngāti Apa] decision, government policy and legislation relati ng to the foreshore and seabed was based on the understanding that Māori customary title to the foreshore and seabed had been exti nguished. For their part, Māori had asserted their ownership from first contact. Āpihai Te Kawau repeated that position at a conference called by the Governor in 1879:

      “It was only the land that I gave over to the Pākehās. The sea I never gave, and therefore the sea belongs to me. Some of my goods are there. I consider the pipis and fish are my goods. I have always considered them my goods up to the present time.”

      For reference, Te Kawau isn’t some two-bit nobody, or a separatist upstart: he’s the bloke who persuaded the settlers to move the capital to Auckland and who granted the land on which the central city and inner suburbs now occupies for that purpose.

      Iwi didn’t claim ownership of the F&S since an old court ruling stated they could not and the costs of challenging that ruling were prohibitive for a long time. That ruling was overturned by the court of appeal in the Ngāti Apa case which started this whole ball rolling. It came as a surprise to everyone except the appellants. The whole point of the appeal ruling was to reaffirm the principle (which always held for dry land) that any parts of the F&S not expressly alienated were to be deemed by default to be held in customary title and thus under jurisdiction of the Māori Land Court.

      So Marty’s dead right on the matter of fact: it is their land and in a loose sense they’re entitled either to its return or to some sort of satisfactory compensation. The analysis is a different matter (succinctly: what they’re prepared to settle for is for Māori to decide, not to be dictated by a third party who wants them to go down in a blaze of Quixotic glory). But where the cutover point between “selling out” and “taking the modern PC liberal hand-wringers for all they’re worth” is a fair point for debate.


      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 4.1.1

        Isn’t the answer that it never got given to the Crown in the first place? To be honest I’m not sure how hapu saw it- though I’m pretty sure they would not be happy if neighbouring iwi starting taking shells from your patch.

        • Lew

          ZB, yes, that’s exactly it. In that regard the fact that the Crown and its institutions (of which the MLC is one) are gatekeeping the status of these areas is already a substantial concession, albeit a necessary one.


        • Lew

          Oh, another thing — those advocating for black-and-white absolute ownership of land and resources might be surprised how far from the simplistic “it’s mine, so piss off” attitude customary usage was. It’s easy enough for Te Kawau, paramount chief of a powerful iwi, to talk about “my goods”, but at the more mundane level there were many complex overlapping locational and seasonal resource entitlement customs — certain hapÅ« could do certain things at certain times, others other things at other times, and so on. I’m pretty sure this is covered in the Muriwhenua claim.


  5. Lew 5

    Test. Think I’m suffering from spamtrapment.


    [lprent: You are indeed. I’ll have a look and see if I can see why.
    Nothing from my side. Odd. ]

  6. gingercrush 6

    And again you talk bullshit on Whanau Ora, Declaration of Indigenous Rights and more bullshit in regards to the Foreshore and Seabed. I’m not going to bother saying anymore because I’ve said the things on other threads you’ve made.

    • Luxated 6.1

      Then why say anything at all?

      Troll, much?

    • Neil 6.2

      gc, the Standard/Labour are spending a great deal of time and energy pushing this line. It is certainly delusional and not exactly liberal or left-wing but they see the MP as the enemy and with Goff being relaxed about working with Peters again there is little point engaging with it.

      It’s all very weird.

      [lprent: The Labour party and The Standard are not synonymous. Take that line and I’ll take great pleasure in banning your arse because I take it as a symptom of a wingnut trolling. It is disrespectful of our varied crew of authors. It is a spin line that bears no relationship to the facts. I’d suggest you read the about and policy without delay. ]

      • Ianmac 6.2.1

        Neil. Why don’t you read blogs like say the Standard? They do have very interesting and varied points of view though unfortunately those who have opposing views often just slag them off. Pity. Anyway. Try reading the Standard why don’t you?

        • Neil

          hi, i do read them but in this particlar issue of race realtions I find the Standard/Labour point of view more like Winston Peters than the Maori Party.

          which is not surprsing since Labour continues to sing the praises of Peters.

          And Goff will not legislate for Maori seats in Aucland.

          Add that to their opposition to the UNDRIP, Goff’s Nationhood speech, the FSA which Labour still thinks was a good idea and I can see why the MP might want to work with people they know they can’t trust rather than people you never know whether you can or not.

          • lprent

            which is not surprsing since Labour continues to sing the praises of Peters.

            Oh yeah, where? The only thing that Labour and much of the left did was not to become little minions of the lynch mob like the mindless posers of the right (like yourself). That was because they tend to think about things rather than chant ridiculous slogans like most of the right did. You’d think that wingnuts can only learn by some kind of rote learning.

            • Ace

              Peters has higher standard of expectation which is more than I can say about the current lips PM Key and the Maori Party.

              I say bring back Winston Peters, after all, it took all Nationals, ACT and Maori Party to get him off the Beehive.

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