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Trouble ahead foreshore

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, June 7th, 2010 - 67 comments
Categories: maori party, national - Tags:

There hasn’t been a lot of focus on this in the media, but it is huge for the government. From Friday’s Waatea News:

National hui rejects Foreshore Act offer

Iwi leaders have rejected the Government’s proposed reform for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

About 100 iwi representatives met in Auckland this afternoon to discuss a plan to be taken to Cabinet next week to replace Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed with a regime where no one is considered to own it.

There would be a process for Maori Maori customary rights to be recognised, including a right to use and develop areas within the confines of existing legislation.

Ngai Tahu chair Mark Solomon says what’s offered falls far short of what iwi are seeking.

‘We did put a proposal and the proposal was the foreshore be vested, not a title, that it be vested equally in the treaty partners on behalf of all New Zealanders, that it be vested as a taonga tuku iho, in other words that it’s inalienable, it can never be sold. The Crown flatly rejected that concept,’ Mr Solomon says.

The Crown has indicated it wants the issue settled by the end of the year, or it is off the table and the existing legislation remains in force.

See further mentions by RNZ and The Herald.

A stable settlement of the foreshore and seabed issue is in the best interests of the country, and something we should all hope for, no matter which flavour of government can bring it about. National’s proposals do offer some concessions, but are still mostly symbolic. And it looks like they are not enough. It’s hard to see them being accepted by Maori after this development. That means the issue remains a ticking time bomb for Key. Either he has to make good his threat to retain the status quo and sever the last thread binding the Maori Party to his punitive government, or he has to back down and offer further concessions and enrage his core Iwi/Kiwi constituency. Either way there’s trouble ahead.

67 comments on “Trouble ahead foreshore ”

  1. You mean that Key is not going to be able to keep both Maori and the rednecks happy?

    • comedy 1.1

      Yes much the same problem as Helen had

      • Lew 1.1.1

        Except the rednecks weren’t part of Helen’s support base. And there were plenty of pink-necks and just plain ordinary folk also disquieted by the iwi/kiwi propaganda, because the government singularly failed to articulate any real alternative. They lost double: both pissing off Māori and the liberals because their FSA was manifestly unjust; and pissing off the rednecks because the electorate still largely bought the line that it was too generous.


        • I dreamed a dream

          I think the FSA did help keep a lot of the pink-necks and ordinary folk onside, just enough to help win Election 2005. Time was not on their side, Labour had to do something quick, and FSA was rushed in. But if they had not passed the FSA, National would have romped home in Election 2005. FSA helped save their Labour’s neck.

          • Lew

            It saved Labour’s neck for three years, at what long-term cost? They shat on a century-long alliance with a loyal and very forgiving segment of the electorate for short-term gain. If you live under the rule of law, you have to be prepared to accept that sometimes the cards aren’t going to fall your way. The prudent and principled course of action would have been to issue a two-line statement such as the following:

            “This government does not interfere in the decisions of the nation’s courts. We have instructed Crown Law to prepare an appeal which will be conducted according to due process.”

            It would have gone to the Privy Council and all parties would have been bound by their decision. After that point, all legal avenues having been exhausted, legislation would have been an entirely reasonable proposition.


  2. Lew 2

    I agree with your assessment, r0b, but the really important question — unasked here — is: what will Labour do?

    They can sit back and say “I told you so” to the māori party, hoping they will fold, or they can make a better offer and hope the māori party will become more inclined to work with them. I can see how either would be a reasonable tactical position in terms of electoral numbers, even though the former course of action would continue the erosion of Labour’s historically liberal and Māori support. But there’s also a real danger the party will do neither, or will attempt to do both and fail at doing either, such as by arguing that the FSA was actually not that bad after all. That would be a tragedy.


    • r0b 2.1

      I agree. This is an opportunity for Labour. Make a better offer, and bugger the red neck backlash (which at this point the Nats can’t lead quite so irresponsibly as when in opposition). Labour’s current support is obviously core and not going anywhere, in my opinion reaching out to the MP would only gain Labour support. If they are bold enough to do it…

      • Anne 2.1.1

        @ rOb
        Bang on, and what’s more I think Labour will be bold enough to do it. They have already publicly acknowledged that they made mistakes over the F&S legislation. That is always a good start… to admit you did something wrong. I have the impression that Labour’s relations with the Maori Party are slowly improving. The fly in the ointment will always be Tariana Turia, but despite that I hope the improvement continues.

      • pollywog 2.1.2

        I would imagine Nga Puhi’s Labour MP’s Kelvin Davis and Shane Jones along with good buddy Parekura Horomia having a quiet korero with Hone Harawira over a few bevvies and some kaimoana as is.

        I wonder how they’d go forming a breakaway Labour aligned Maori coalition party and splitting the Maori party vote by getting the iwi leadership group to lobby their respective iwi to vote for a new party ?

        Be interesting if Labour did that and also stood down any candidates in the Maori seats. Sure it’d be a ballsy move but Labour needs to take some risks if it has any hope of getting back into gov’t with a Maori aligned coaltion party.

        And who knows, maybe if Hone split, Te Ururoa Flavell might go with him as well, given his Nga Puhi ties. It’s hard to say whether blood is thicker than water, where blood is iwi ties and water is the Maori Party ?

    • just saying 2.2

      I think the “tragedy” of inaction or inadequate buck-each-way dithering is almost guaranteed, sadly, as it has been with so many already lost opportunities.

      As for “what will Labour do” – that’s one on the main reasons I started reading, and later participating in the Standard. You’re not going to get an answer – I’ve asked, or seen that question asked on almost every issue. But you eventually give up on it. Not “giving away” policy (even a market metaphor there) is, as far as I can see, along with a few slogans, Labour’s strategy for winning the next election.

      I suspect the real answer is “we won’t know till we get the results from key focus groups, closer to the election”.

  3. ianmac 3

    As a casual viewer of Maori TV I keep hearing little pieces which collectivel say the Maori constituency is not a happy chappie. Especially over the Seabed and Foreshore. Hone says guardedly that nearer the election they will consider just what the MP have achieved. If not much especially over S&F they will reconsider their alliance with Nat. The Nats need the MP and the Key saying we don’t need them is rubbish.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Well the obvious reason why Labour is dithering is exactly the same reason why Key cannot give iwi what they are demanding. It’s simply that all us rednecks will not idly standby and see this nation dismembered into a bastard collection of little brown bantustans.

    If that makes me a racist then so be it.

    • Lew 4.1

      What makes you a racist, as you put it, is that you seriously believe that’s what would happen if the savages are given any more authority than you (or we) have grudgingly permitted them to exercise.


  5. Name 5

    I’m often at odds with RedLogix in these comments but on this I’m with him. After fighting long and hard to get the Greens established and into Parliament I’ve left them in disgust at their “Maori are noble savages and innocent environmentalists who have been brutally dispossessed of their birthright and must be compensated and mollycoddled for being unable to cope with the evils of the modern world,” fantasy.

    If declaring that all New Zealanders are equal, and none should be more equal that others makes me a racist, so be it.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      I’m often at odds with RedLogix in these comments

      Oddly enough this doesn’t go both ways… I’ve enjoyed your thoughtful contributions.

      After fighting long and hard to get the Greens established and into Parliament I’ve left them in disgust

      So would it surprise you to know that I’m still a paid up member of the Greens? I’ve the same strong misgivings you have, but I guess in time they may move on to a more nuanced pragmatic policy that isn’t quite so fantasy based.

    • Outofbed 5.2

      After fighting long and hard to get the Greens established and into Parliament I’ve left them in disgust at their “Maori are noble savages and innocent environmentalists who have been brutally dispossessed of their birthright and must be compensated and mollycoddled for being unable to cope with the evils of the modern world,’ fantasy

      Interesting take, as a Green who has also fought long and hard to get the Greens into parliament
      I don’t hold that view at all and I am proud that honoring the treaty is part of the Green Party constitution
      However as it is impossible to find one single Party that you agree with 100% it would seem strange to leave the party on that one issue

  6. Lew 6

    Anyway, I think there’s a lot for the Left to like in Mark Solomon’s suggestion that Māori won’t accept the foreshore and seabed going into public domain unless private landowners do likewise. National simply can’t go there — nationalising such a lot of private resource would simply destroy it as a political party — but Labour can if it plays its cards right and sets the system up so as to minimise disruption, loss of property value, to ensure leasehold rights and clear access provisions, and so on.

    In general I’m not fond of vesting the F&S in the public domain — to me refusing to acknowledge ownership is just PC waffly nonsense. But I could probably abide it if it applied to everyone, and not just to Māori. That’s your “one law for all”, right there.


    • RedLogix 6.1

      I think there’s a lot for the Left to like in Mark Solomon’s suggestion that Māori won’t accept the foreshore and seabed going into public domain unless private landowners do likewise.

      And in that I hope you will give me some credit for being one of the few who have consistently argued here for all land (especially urban residential land) to be leasehold, with the title vested in the TLA.

      • Lew 6.1.1

        Yes, RL, indeed. Though I think that extending it anything like that far is excessive, this is indeed the sort of solution you’ve been arguing for all along. That’s part of the reason I brought it up. But what’s different now is that it’s not honkey socialists telling tangata whenua what would be best for them.

        Still not crazy about the scheme, though. Under existing public domain proposals, Māori sacrifice their due process and common law rights, while nobody else sacrifices anything. The only thing this proposal really has going for it is that it hurts all those with a coastal ownership claim or right equally.


        • uke

          “Under existing public domain proposals, Māori sacrifice their due process and common law rights, while nobody else sacrifices anything.”

          The historian Graham Butterworth has made the comment that, in some respects, many Pakeha could claim customary rights to the F & S. They too, for many generations, have fished, gathered saweed for gardens, and driftwood for fires. The beach has been an adhoc “commons”. In part, these non-economic customs have been allowed to develop under the radar because the commons has not been over-exploited, except in respect to certain valuable shellfish and crustaceans.

          If, post-peak oil, the job economy declines, which I expect it will, subsistence domains like the beach will be increasingly valued. That is the long view I think we need to take in this nation. Who “controls” the F&S could, at some future time, decide who survives and who starves.

          • Lew

            This argument, because it suggests that everyone’s claims proceed together by the same mechanism, is largely spurious and expropriative, based on false equivalence because it presumes some variation on “terra nullius”. The fact is that, unless tangata whenua had abandoned their customary lands and resources, establishing a competing claim to customary title would be impossible (because such title already existed and would prevent the establishment of a competing title by another group). That was what the Ngāti Apa case was about: the mechanism and jurisdiction by which the merit of such claims could be demonstrated.

            It could be a fair claim to make once the pre-existing dispute over the ownership of those resources has been resolved. It seems likely that some parts of the F&S had become a de-facto common, but whether, and to what extent, that was the case for a given area needs to be determined first. There’s also the problem that some areas had become abandoned, or partly abandoned, due to raupatu or other forms of alienation. Essentially, until the status of the tangata whenua claims to the F&S have been resolved, later claims can’t really be decided with any legitimacy.


            • uke

              “Essentially, until the status of the tangata whenua claims to the F&S have been resolved, later claims can’t really be decided with any legitimacy.”

              So would you envisage that, if ownership of the F&S was decided in the favour of specific iwi, Pakeha would be forbidden from picking up driftwood from off the beach without permission, until that right had been legally established?

              • Lew

                No, for a couple of reasons. First, because iwi have expressly stated that no such restrictions would be enforced. Second, that customary title or rights to these resources are essentially being constructed to suit the purpose — or inferred from historical and cultural practice — and are subject to public scrutiny and the political process. To have legitimacy and durability, they need to be broadly acceptable to both iwi and non-iwi stakeholders, and they need to accord generally with prior exercise of customary rights. Restrictions such as you suggest would be manifestly unacceptable — not only to Pākehā, but to Māori from outside the mana whenua group as well, and would very likely not accord with historical exercise of customary rights. This is not to rule out localised or temporary exercise of restrictions, of course — such as rāhui on a certain species, or restrictions on access at a certain time or place for a given purpose. But the boundaries of these rights can be easily sketched out, as they’re effectively exercised by local government and crown agencies already.

                This need to keep both sides generally happy is the huge advantage of the process being a political, rather than a legal process. It means electoral approval of some sort must be gained for whatever policy ends up occurring. Of course, electoral approval isn’t the only factor, and of course it doesn’t mean everyone has to be 100% happy with a proposal for it to stand — but it’s not like a legal process in which the team with the better lawyers wins.


                • uke

                  Such a slowly-moving-forward-in-agreement approach sounds ideal.

                  But if it is to be a truly political process, I think some broader consultation needs to occur with “non-iwi” – this would certainly have to include perspectives such as the Butterworth view. There seems to have been very little exploration by media or academics of what Pakeha actually think about the issue, beyond broad poll results and the defacto and presumed “voices of the people”. Regional Councils, for example, might engage in such a process.

                  • Lew

                    I think there’d be huge value in this, both to get a clear read on the situations, and because I suspect many Pākehā haven’t really thought too hard about it, but tend to respond with sound-bites and knee-jerke reactions. This isn’t a criticism, but more a consequence of the sort of impunity of having the question off the table, and the extent to which the issue has been propagandised over the past six years.

                    Pākehā are no more — and according to the conventional wisdom, rather less — of a homogeneous block than Māori, and the diversity of views which exists needs to be taken into account. If the current legislative approach to the FSA fails, a future government could do much worse than a citizen’s assembly along the lines of that proposed by the Greens for electoral finance reform. This seems like just the sort of broad and deep intergenerational topic for which citizen’s assemblies are best-suited.


                • uke

                  Actually, perhaps this is what the Labour Party should look at as a policy: a broad-based consultation on the future of the F &S – a national stocktake of views – with the aim of constituting an acceptable solution.

  7. RedLogix 7

    If I could see any evidence that the ‘savages’ ( as you so cutely put a nasty word into my mouth) offered something better then I might be open to convinving. But after a decade of close contact with various hapu I drew the conclusion that while Maori society has undeniable strengths and attractions, expecially vis-a-vis the pale underbelly of the petty snobbery and meanneness so endemic in white culture, it also has it’s own fatally entrenched inequalities and dysfunctions.

    Besides the settlers also brought a Westminster democratic/liberal tradition that, for all it’s shortcomings, still compares well with tribalism as a political system.

    I’ve said this before; both the brown and the white canoeists who arrived here brought with them two cultures that had marvellously complementary strengths and weaknessess. If only we had chosen to meld the good bits together, instead of bickering over the flaws.

    But in the bigger picture there’s little point in arguing with you Lew. You’ve won the argument, but lost the war. New Zealand is pretty much a dead concept, sold off to the lowest bidder by the neolibs 30 years ago. White settler culture is fast vanishing, but just hasn’t quite realised it yet and is still making reflexive little grimaces and whimpers as global capitalists pick over our carcass. Frankly Lew, I’m beginning to think we missed our chance. Within a generation or two this country will be occupied by tens of millions of Asians and our tired, futile debate will be an irrelevant little joke of history.

    If brown and white New Zealanders had properly joined together in a mutual task of nation building in the 80’s, if white NZ hadn’t prostituted it’s values in the name of a fatally flawed economic theory, and if brown NZ had taken ownership of the endogenous causes of it’s peoples very real social dysfunctions, instead of shifting the blame onto others…then NZ would be a whole society, quite different to the shallow feckless mess it is today.

    • pollywog 7.1

      captcha : announcement

      Some of us have melded the good bits of both cultures together RL, the fruits of which are borne in our children and will bear abundantly more in their children.

      2 more generations of assimilating your eurocentric perspective into a Pasifikan consciousness and she’ll be right…don’t worry, have faith, be happy

      Just remember, resistance on your part is futile and the most important thing is people, people, people 😉

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        2 more generations of assimilating your eurocentric perspective into a Pasifikan consciousness and she’ll be right don’t worry, have faith, be happy

        Well that’s really what I’ve been saying all along, that this word ‘assimilation’, so despised by intellectuals, is in reality exactly what is happening on the ground anyway.

        And it’s very much a two-way street. As a sixth generation ‘eurocentric’ I’ve been modified by the Polynesian world too. When I travel to the UK/Europe it’s obvious how far I’ve diverged from that heritage.

        What will kill us is simply this; united we will stand and divided we will fall. (Sorry that’s a dreadful old cliche, but it’s essential truth still holds.)

        • pollywog

          captcha : informing

          And thats the crux of the problem isn’t it ?

          That there still resides a resentment of the colonial assimilation policies in Pasifikan ‘savages’ and that there still resides in Eurocentrists, a colonial attitude towards assimilation of Pasifikans into their ‘civilized’ world.

          So its more a case of divided, as separate cultures, we stand, but united, as a country, we will fall. Unless we breed that attitude out of both sides, we’re doomed to rinse and recycle the past.

          Euro colonials need to understand they failed and will never succeed in assimilating us, and we need to forgive you for trying, then take cultural ownership of our hearts, minds, territories and destiny again.

          Like i keep saying, its not about race, its about culture and evolution.

          • RedLogix

            Euro colonials need to understand they failed and will never succeed in assimilating us,

            Consider all the very numerous families with mixed Pacifica/Pakeha and now even Asian heritage. Are you making the explicitly racist claim that only the Pacifica part of that family counts? Is that what you are implying?

            The reality is that Pacifica/Pakeha peoples are the most inter-married in the world; the idea that there is some pure source of either culture to be found anywhere in the modern world is a total fantasy. We are all assimilated to some degree or another.

            • pollywog

              Are you making the explicitly racist claim that only the Pacifica part of that family counts? Is that what you are implying?

              I’m implying that the Pasifika part counts for more, by virtue of us being geographically situated in indigenous Pasifika territory and that our cultural rights needs to be restored and recognized as the dominant ones going forward because of it.

              thats not racist, thats explicitly righteous. I would expect the same applies in Europe.

              • RedLogix

                Well I guess that’s your agenda out in the open then. I can only suppose you’re proud of yourself even.

                • pollywog

                  You might think its cool going into someone elses home and laying down YOUR house rules, but you really shouldn’t expect your hosts to appreciate the effort.

                  They’ll probably think you’re being obnoxiously, arrogant and rude.

                  BTW i’ll come right out and unequivocally state my proud and noble agenda, shall I ? To breed next level, super human Pasifikan hybrids that will takeover the known universe.



                  • RedLogix

                    To breed next level, super human Pasifikan hybrids that will takeover the known universe.

                    Some sort of Taro Patch Taniwha then? Sounds cool.

                    Hey quit fracking around here and get breeding …. the RWC is only months away!!

                    • pollywog

                      hah…fuck rugby, sport and arts. We got that shit covered.

                      It’s all about academia and politics now !!!

                      be afraid, be very afraid…


                  • RedLogix

                    Well yes you need to breed some brains in…otherwise how else do you break the upper limit of four darkies in the Crusaders?

                    (Yeah, yeah I get the ironically racist ‘Reverse Brown Supremist’ shctick….)

    • Lew 7.2

      RL, when you talk about 21st Century Māori as unreformed stone age heathens, as you consistently do, even in this comment with the suggestion that they intend to revert Aotearoa to a tribalist Year Zero, then it’s only airs and graces preventing you from using the ‘s’ word yourself. You construct strange equivalences when it suits your argument, and split hairs for the same effect. What the whole line of argument in your first three paragraphs above suggests is that you just don’t think the brownies are culturally or politically evolved enough to be entrusted with the running of a country.

      As for the Asian-hate and discussions below about the desirability of assimilation, as well — here’s the thing: assimilation is ok only if it takes place on terms agreeable to both the assimilated and the assimilatees. The conception of “New Zealand” you describe is a settler majority, into which the brown and the yellow and others must fit; biculturalism (or multiculturalism) on your terms or not at all. It’s “one people, as long as you’re pretty much like me”. Across the Tasman, lacking the airs and graces we have here, they called it the “White Australia” policy. Such a narrowsighted mid-20th Century attitude, and yet you bridle at another on the left of your generation and substantively similar views being termed “yesterday’s man”.

      A partnership can only be a partnership if both partners are permitted to exert authority over its direction. Tangata whenua and Tangata Tiriti — that includes the Asians, and the Polynesians, and even the worst of the white South Africans fleeing the effects of their kind’s oppression of their own indigenes — in partnership, that’s the endgame; not Rwanda under a long white cloud.


      • Lew 7.2.1

        Well, that ended up being rather more shouty than I intended. Sorry about that, RL.


      • pollywog 7.2.2

        Awww Lew…they don’t learn none too fast if you spell it out for them…

        …but i s’pose sometimes you just gotta

      • RedLogix 7.2.3

        21st Century Māori as unreformed stone age heathens

        Come on Lew…. my argument is about the relative merits of the two political culture’s. It’s grossly unfair to suggest that I’m using this to make any kind of racial statement about Maori as individuals. If we cannot discuss politics without making this kind of absurd conflation then there really isn’t any point.

        At this point I usually get two kinds of response; the first being along the lines that as a white I’m disbarred from having any real knowledge of Maori culture and most especially it’s completely immune to any criticism from me.

        Alternatively the discussion gets washed down the black hole of cultural relativism. If you want to tell us that the NZ would be a perfectly dinky little country run under a brown plutocracy of tribal leaders, a model with no tradition of electoral accountability, then be our guest. Love to see you sell that one.

        as well — here’s the thing: assimilation is ok only if it takes place on terms agreeable to both the assimilated and the assimilatees.

        As I said, intellectuals love being snooty about that nasty old racist word ‘assimilation’. Well the people don’t care for our pointy head arguments; they just go right ahead, have kids and assimilate each other all the same. Notions of whose assimilating who and on what terms pretty much get hammered out one on one, generation on generation. Nothing to do with us chattering types.

        Tangata whenua and Tangata Tiriti — that includes the Asians, and the Polynesians, and even the worst of the white South Africans fleeing the effects of their kind’s oppression of their own indigenes — in partnership, that’s the endgame;

        So we go round the full circle and meet at the same final point? A point that any thinking person would have known we would always arrive at. Because in the long run it’s either social cohesion or genocide. And we both emphatically agree on which one we pick.

        not Rwanda under a long white cloud.

        Wish I had your optimism Lew. While I can respect your capacity for making a strong argument, sometimes the long view of experience and age counts for something too.

        • Lew

          The trouble is that you’re arguing either/or — cohesion or genocide; brown tribal plutocracy or glorious liberal democracy. That was the case at landfall. Things have changed since. The fact that you’re still thinking in such terms suggests that you believe the natives to be insufficiently advanced to adopt the white man’s superior ways (patently absurd, given that the history of Māori involvement in NZ politics is the history of constant adaptation to the shifting goalposts of the settler culture). Either that, or you believe the settlers genuinely have nothing to gain from such conflict. Your previous comment rules this out, so I’m drawn unavoidably to the former conclusion.

          But the reality lies between. There has been conflict, but not genocide. There is some measure of cohesion, but it is not perfect. Māori ways have deeply informed how the country is run, its legal and political and civic institutions and practices, and fundamentally influenced the perspective and focus of the Europeans working within them. By the same token, Māori themselves, and their institutions and practices and values, have been changed. This is not your great-…-grandparents’ country.

          As for assimilation — Ranginui Walker’s famous remark that the troubles of the nation would be laid to rest in its bedrooms is, I think, something we can both agree on. But that’s not the sort of assimilation I’m talking about. It’s the provision, by the society, of the means and opportunity for outsiders or minorities to participate fully and meaningfully in that society on their own terms — rather than on terms set and enforced by the (in this case, settler) majority. Not requiring them to “be like us”, but providing space for them to be like them, as part of a wider “us”. This isn’t just right in principle, it’s good long-term sense as well. If your fears are well-founded and whitey is about to become one of those minorities, we would be extremely wise to create and entrench such toleration as we might like to enjoy when the boot is on the other foot. Do unto others, etc.


          • RedLogix

            The fact that you’re still thinking in such terms suggests that you believe the natives to be insufficiently advanced to adopt the white man’s superior ways

            I simply hold that liberal democracy (glorious or otherwise) is a better political system than tribal plutocracy. That’s not a statement about race, it’s a political one. Quit trying to pretend I’m conflating them.

            Now I’m nowhere near as obdurate at you like to paint me. I’m open to persuasion that our wonderfully adaptive, deeply informed Maori have evolved a superior political system, one that’s so much better than the one we have already have, that they keep hidden from the rest of us benighted whitey’s lest we all swoon with amazement. You keep making scornful noises about the political traditions Pakeha’s bought with us, and by implication insinuating that the Maori have an alternative tradition you think is better…but you never explain what you think that might mean in practise. Well blind leaps of faith have a habit of turning out less well than hoped.

            Instead what I keep on hearing is Maori extremists demanding ‘their land and sovereignty back’ so as they can run things according to their old traditions and cultures. Maybe I’m listening in all the wrong places Lew, but I’m not hearing anyone making a clear case for something we can all buy into.

            • Lew

              It’s not that you’re listening in the wrong places — it’s that you’re only hearing the bits which confirm your prejudices. From what you’ve relayed, it seems you take people who speak in figurative terms, and who bluster a lot when they talk in public, at their literal word when they’re saying inflammatory things, and then you tend to ignore the many examples of people actively working within the system we have — eurocentrism and all. This is your prerogative, of course — everyone’s got to weigh what evidence they find as they find it. But I think your perspective is wrong. Look at the progression from Nga Tamatoa to the māori party, and you’ll see an inexorable trend toward using the existing legal and democratic structures to progress an agenda, rather than simply fighting them. It’s not about overthrowing the state: it’s about making the state work for them.

              Tribal plutocracy isn’t on offer. Nobody wants it. Nobody thinks it’s a good idea. Nobody has suggested it. Nobody credible, in any case. It’s a straw man. References to traditions and so on aren’t a threat to the unitary state, they’re references another set of civic institutions to work within it; institutions which already exist but are hamstrung by the fact they’re gatekept by (mostly) Pākehā working within (mostly) Pākehā institutions who don’t understand or acknowledge them.

              Māori are deeply invested in liberal democracy; a liberal democracy with Māori adaptations, such as mana whenua representation, the necessity to acknowledge and adhere to Treaty principles, a Treaty settlement process established in law to safeguard the original agreements of settlement. I’m not arguing that Māori have a “better” way; I’m arguing that nowadays, the way we have is largely the way they want to do things as well.


  8. gingercrush 8

    I’m hopeful National and Maori can still come up with something agreeable. Its in both of their interests. For removing whether foreshore and seabed should be vested or in the public domain etc aside. The rights Maori would have under National’s proposal is far-reaching and more than Labour were willing to do. It includes the right to go to court or negotiate with the crown. The possibility of veto rights and access to some minerals etc etc.

    Clearly, the “public domain” option isn’t going to work. And National have obvious problems with the foreshore being vested equally. Six months is a long time so there is at least hope that something can be done.

  9. r0b 9

    This is turning into a really interesting discussion, and I thank everyone involved for stating and hearing forthright views without taking offence.

    RL, I’m good old fashioned pessimist, but I’m not as pessimistic as you! I don’t think we’ve lost “New Zealand” yet, though I do see its future as a stool with three legs (Pakeha, Maori / Pacifica, Asian) not just two. I don’t think there is anything to fear in that.

    What will kill us is simply this; united we will stand and divided we will fall.

    Exactly. And it is clear that the historical grievances that divide us must be dealt with – in a way that doesn’t create new divisions to be sure – before we can be united.

  10. Alexandra 10

    The removal of the right to go to court was the single issue that led to the formation of the Maori Party. The MP has potentially achieved that objective. Unfortunately however, the goal posts have moved, partly due to the naivety of the maori party and the message given around the scope of the negotiation process. Instead the negotiation process has morphed into efforts to pass real ownership to Maori by direct negotiation with the crown. I don’t see that happening under National or Labour, simply because there is no desire or need too. If maori seek redress via the courts, the merits of claims will be considered on a case by case basis. Its unlikely that iwi will achieve anything resembling the grand prize being advocated at present. If there is nothing more to gain, im sure iwi leaders will come to agree to the proposal on the table rather than allow the status quo to remain.

    I agree there is an opportunity for labour to do some serious damage control and an olive branch on the F & S Act will be a great start, but I cant see them trumping the Nats offer for the reasons given above. For starters though labour MP’s might try getting over their own baggage and stop blaming Turia for the parties failings in relation to Maori. It appears the Maori party has provided labour with an excuse to distance itself from the challenges of Maori politics. Labour needs to make a concerted effort to reconnect with maori on its own account, irrespective of any influence of the Maori Party. That needs to happen now for maori to have confidence that a left alternative is a sincere and genuine one.

  11. Anne 11

    “For starters though labour MP’s might try getting over their own baggage and stop blaming Turia for the parties failings in relation to Maori. It appears the Maori party has provided labour with an excuse to distance itself from the challenges of Maori politics.”

    Sorry Alexandra but that is not correct. Who has said the Labour Party is blaming Turia for it’s supposed failings in relation to Maori. It’s the other way around. Turia has consistently blamed Labour for those failings. I have been told she proved a difficult customer from the start. Labour found her untrustworthy. She would say one thing then go off and do another.

    And can you point to the evidence which shows Labour “distancing itself from the challenges of Maori politics”? My impression is the exact opposite. They – and Labour’s Maori MPs in particular – are doing everything they can to remain fully engaged at every level.

    Anti-spam: difficult 😀

    • Alexandra 11.1

      Ann, I agree the maori in labour are doing mostly a good job at engaging with the maori party. But should it be their sole responsibility to repair the relationship, or to walk the path of maori politics alone when they dont have the authority to make decisions accordingly?
      Im not sure why you are so defensive perhaps, you believe your impressions have more validity than mine?? I could equally demand of you “evidence” which justifies your impressions, but thats not reasonable because I am aware your view is widely shared and commonly known. That said, so are my views which are shared by some maori and pakeha within labour. Labour may require the support of the maori party after the next election and the finger pointing of blame is counter productive. Your points illustrate that blame is futile and will not delivery a useful outcome. Im fully aware of Turias contribution to the split and her deep dislike for labour, but the reality is she was not responsible for the inactment of racist law.

  12. ianmac 12

    Under the existing Act (Labour) there is the provision for negotiation with the Crown for gaining Customary Rights, in spite of what Ginger says. I believe up on the East Coast, such an agreement was reached but the iwi are waiting to see if The Natioal Maori Party agreement, if reached, would trump their existing deal.

    I think that the Labour solution as above is a constructive compromise and Labour can continue to hold that line and retain their credibility.

    • gingercrush 12.1

      Yes and under Labour’s law those customary rights are so small for the majority of Maori they may as well be meaningless. And other than seeking very restricted customary rights that is all Maori can do under Labour’s deal.

      And Anne your shit and other lefties shit about Turia is frankly getting old. Labour have treated the Maori Party like crap. That’s a fact.

      And as for the person saying people won’t vote Maori party anymore. We can all play the, “so my friends or people I know told me they don’t like National/Labour/Greens/Maori Party/Act etc” game. Only its crap. Just because you know of people that have changed their mind doesn’t mean the rest of New Zealand is like that. As for Maori voters I predict the same as 2008. Most of the electorate votes go to the Maori Party candidate except in Tainui and Horomia’s seat while the party vote goes to Labour. Maori are rather stupid to do otherwise.

  13. coolas 13

    ‘Equal Treaty Partners on behalf of all New Zealanders’ sounds spot on to me.

    But National/Act obviously see this as a concession to Maori and Key’s U-turn on the Tuhoe settlement indicated that his political masters don’t want anymore concessions.

    Seems the status quo is Nacts most comfortable position and I wouldn’t be surprised if that has already been decided. Makes sense. The Maori Party breaks the coalition agreement. Key calls an early election.


  14. Anne 14

    Hi Alexandra.
    I think we could go round in circles on this one but no, I’m not trying to be defensive of Labour.
    Indeed I’m usually one of the first to criticise them when they do something wrong. But I do think it’s unfair to accuse them of walking away from their historical responsibilities towards Maori. You’re right though, they made a dog’s breakfast of the F&S legislation – or at least the way they handled it – and many of us suspected as much at the time. I hope, indeed I believe they have learnt their lesson, and will never allow themselves to be spooked by the red-necks again.

    • Jim Nald 14.1

      “spooked by the red-necks” – indeed. well put. i remember well Nats’ iwi-kiwi campaign.

  15. I dreamed a dream 15

    Sadly, this issue is going to be WIN-WIN for the Nats:

    – WIN for Nats… If the Maori accept the Nats’ offer, the Nats’ polling won’t suffer and may well improve, and Key will have the Maori Party as a coalition partner for Election 2011.

    – WIN for Nats… If the Maori do reject the Nats’ offer, as seems to be the case now, then Key will do a Tuhoe on the Maori and tell them to get lost, thereby substantially boosting the poll ratings for the Nats heading into Election 2011.

    I think this F&S issue is something that will not benefit Labour no matter how they play it. Key’s got us snookered. Labour will need other issues.

  16. agree whole heartedly with mickey savages comment

  17. kriswgtn 17

    I know of alot of MP voters who wont be voting MP next year.Some have even gone as far to say that Sharples has sold his own people out..and that they would be voting Labour/Greens but def not MP or Nats

    Labour need to woo MP back and by adopting the ..
    ‘Equal Treaty Partners on behalf of all New Zealanders’,they might have a chance

    MP was set up because of the FS act and as Tuhoe said they will wait until they get a better Govt…

  18. Jenny 18

    The FSA allows the government to over rule any indigenous oversight on the exploitation of the F&S arising from legal challenges based on customary usage or title.

    At the time this law was enacted, the government was in pursuit of Bi-lateral Free Trade Agreements, which in common with the earlier discredited Multi-lateral Agreement on Investments, demanded that ‘all’ possible restrictions on limiting investment be removed.

    This removal of limits to investment as demanded by foreign investors included any restrictions springing from traditional indigenous or customary title.

    In fact this drive to strip indigenous people of customary traditional ‘usage’ rights did not start in New Zealand, but in Canada when Native Indian citing customary usage raised legal challenges to logging and oil exploration.

    (This is why the world wide protest campaign that eventually sank the MAI, championed by the left around the globe, including here in New Zealand, was originally launched from Canada.)

    After the collapse of the MAI, government’s around the world still committed to the neo-liberal Free Trade agenda tried to continue the drive to free trade with Bi-lateral Agreements.

    The New Zealand Labour Government was in the forefront of this movement, striking a world first with a Free Trade Agreement with the repressive Communist rulers of China. Coincidentally Clark’s government were signing this agreement in Peking at the very height of that repugnant regime’s murderous crackdown on the indigenous people of Tibet.

    The Labour Government’s desire to trample over any legal arguments around customary title to be heard in the courts, inevitably led to the international level. So as well as showing contempt for the people of Tibet, Labour also opposed the United Nations Declarations of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    On passing the F&S Act the Labour Government gave prospecting rights for the whole coast of the North Island to an Australian multi-national.

    The National Government has carried on the same policy granting oil prospecting rights to the Raukumara basin.

    The bottom line for the Maori Party must be the demand for a veto on this sort of exploitation of the Seabed and Foreshore.

    The right of veto for tangata whenua over exploitation of the marine environment would be in line with the Maori concept of kaitiaki, or gaurdianship.

    In my opinion, anything less than the attainment of kaitiaki granted by a veto power would be a breach of the Maori Party’s coalition agreement with National.

    The question is, does Labour still oppose Maori having an effective veto over the exploitation of the Seabed and Foreshore?

    Maybe someone would like to answer this question for me?

    anti-spam asked

  19. just saying 19

    Thanks Jenny, I wasn’t aware of the trade context. It really makes the whole thing more shameful to me.

    Problem is IMHO, the last Labour government was telling itsef (and the public) there were no alternatives that wouldn’t beggar the country. Neoliberalism vs third world here-we-come

    Maori were sold out, and they weren’t the only ones.

    Apparently we can’t afford justice and a fair go for all our citizens in 21st century NZ, and it’s all the usual suspects chucked off the life-boat first. For the tangata whenua to still be in this position in their own land, their negative stats are hardly surprising.

  20. Anne 20

    “The question is, does Labour still oppose Maori having an effective veto over the exploitation of the Seabed and Foreshore?”

    It’s the $64,000 question and it goes to the heart of the issue. I don’t know the answer, and it isn’t likely anyone else does yet either. I expect Labour is waiting to see how it all plays out between Nact and the Maori Party.

    Thanks too for the back-ground Jenny. Very interesting.

  21. gobsmacked 21


    Key talks tough at post-Cabinet news conference. Says existing legislation (FSA) will remain if ‘public domain’ is rejected.

    Very interesting.

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