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Unravelling at both ends

Written By: - Date published: 11:57 am, November 26th, 2010 - 40 comments
Categories: act, foreshore and seabed, Maori Issues, maori party, national, national/act government, racism - Tags: , , ,

The new deal is nothing like what the Maori Party was set up to win. The sell-out faction says its good enough for now and they’ll try to to better later on. The Harawira faction knows that if they cave now then this will become the enduring settlement and the fight is becoming very public:

Pressure is increasing on the Maori Party to back away from its foreshore and seabed deal with National, with MP Hone Harawira and at least two branches formally calling for the planned law change to be scrapped.

Divisions among some of the party’s most powerful supporters over the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill are also widening, with several iwi groups calling in formal submissions to Parliament for it to be dumped.

They include Ngati Kahungunu – one of the biggest iwi – which has said the bill is “so flawed” it should be scrapped and an expert group of Maori and Pakeha created to find a solution.

The Maori Affairs committee issued more than 500 submissions on the bill yesterday, as it started hearing evidence on the proposed replacement for the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

But with more than 90 per cent of submissions being against the bill, National and the four Maori Party MPs still backing it are facing mounting opposition from both Maori and Pakeha.

It’s obvious that National is getting worried about the impact of ACT’s campaign against the Bill, supported by the Coastal Coalition. First there was Tau Henare getting feisty at Lamington Head:

“Maori Affairs select committee chairman Tau Henare today called Mr Boscawen “lamington head”

referring to an incident when a member of the public threw a cake at the ACT MP during the Mt Albert by-election last year.

Relations between the pair soured last night during the first hearing of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill when Mr Boscawen questioned a submitter about the ability of iwi to have ownership of non-nationalised minerals like iron sands.

“Do you have any confidence in a Maori Affairs select committee that can’t actually see that?”

Mr Henare took exception to that and questioned why Mr Boscawen was on the committee.”

Then there was Allan Peachy having a cry too:

“National MP Allan Peachey is warning the Government that the foreshore and seabed saga is polarising the party’s support, and many core voters feel betrayed and will never vote for National again.”

This, of course, is just what National deserves. Under Bill English and, to a greater extent, Don Brash, National made racist dog-whistling a central part of their electoral platform. They can hardly be surprised when someone else makes a play for that position now and the votes that come with it now that National is trying to act responsibly and is proposing a law that essentially reiterates the existing law.

The Nats and the sell-out faction will still have the numbers to pass the law, especially as Labour is backing it too. But it’ll come at huge cost to them both.


40 comments on “Unravelling at both ends”

  1. John L 1

    I doubt that the current Bill, even it is passed, will be an enduring settlement. Decades of one-sided history from the Waitangi Tribunal have persuaded certain sections of the Maori community that they are owed big time. The analogy I have heard many times is that someone (i.e. the Pahkeha) has stolen your car and now they’re offering you the windscreen wipers back. The beaches, the seabeds, national parks, local authority parks, roads – all the land in the country has been stolen according to this mindset. I think we need an anti-Waitangi Tribunal to spend decades putting the opposing case and focus on the benefits of Pakeha settlement – pax Britannica, secure titles to land, gumboots and hot showers. If New Zealand wasn’t a settlement colony might it not be more like Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia or Afghanistan than the first-world social democracy we enjoy today?
    Ethnic separatists brought down the rapidly modernising and democratising Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, with a legacy of war and ethnic cleansing in Eastern Europe and the Middle East which is still uncompleted. It is very sad to see young people in New Zealand embracing ethnic causes and identity politics with such enthusiasm.

  2. KJT 2

    For an enduring solution we need a consensus solution that the majority of both Maori and Pakeha can live with. ” an expert group of Maori and Pakeha created to find a solution”. Is a start, but a public discussion is needed rather than yet another hasty knee jerk.

    Like Jeanette Fitzsimons I believe this will involve elements of Te Rangiteritanga, Kaitangata and the European idea of the commons.
    The law as Hone suggested should be applied equally to all.

    All foreshore and seabed should be in public hands with no possibility of sale and free access for everyone.

    Anyone, Maori or Pakaha, who currently have ownership rights proved in court or by title should be compensated fairly as land is bought back into common ownership over time.

    • hateatea 2.1

      ‘Like Jeanette Fitzsimons I believe this will involve elements of Te Rangiteritanga, Kaitangata and the European idea of the commons.’

      I sincerely doubt that Jeanette Fitzsimons advocated cannibalism. I suspect that what you intended to say was : Rangatiratanga and Kaitiakitanga

  3. Jeremy Harris 3

    I think ACT have competely abandoned their principles on this one…

    They should be fighting for Maori who can demonstrate continuous customary usage, to have full title and charge whatever the hell they want for access…

    Instead they are chasing the “Winston vote”…

    • Rosy 3.1

      mmm JH I think you’re right. I respected their opposition to Labour’s Act because it was in keeping with their ideology to do so. This is just unprincipled dog-whistling and desperation by ACT.

      • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1

        Could be wrong but I seem to recall that they were quite quiet about it initially, and then some lawyer type suggested that iwi wouldn’t stand a chance in court and then, lo and behold, they became all for settling it through the courts. Which is I think still their main objection; that it would be dastardly and wrong for there to be a negotiated settlement.

    • tea 3.2


      you said ACT and principles in the same sentence…

    • Jeremy Harris 3.3

      Private property rights used to be one of their principles… Sadly seemingly gone, you can’t believe in them till those seeking them are Maori…

  4. tc 4

    Dont ya just love it when kids play with matches….don’t touch that Johnny you’ll get burnt…..I’ll be OK me and my mates in the MP know what we’re doing.

    This issue the nat’s treated like just another lolly they could toss at the electorate to gain votes not caring about the impacts of not actually delivering….like EFA/S59 etc.

    Labours handling of it was hamfisted but the nat’s have elevated that approach to a whole new level.

    • Playing with matches is a good description of what the nats did.

      They created hysteria on one side, went into coalition with a party on the opposite side and are trying to straddle the middle and having to do splits in doing so.

      I thought that Labour’s handling of the matter was an honest attempt to find a middle ground but it looks like there is no middle ground here and all they did was annoy both extremes.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        I thought that Labour’s handling of the matter was an honest attempt to find a middle ground

        I’m predicting the day will arrive when Labour’s S&F Act will be looked back on with fond nostalgia. (But that may be a while off yet.)

      • Jenny 4.1.2

        You are right micky, there is no middle ground in this dispute, because the struggle over the seabed and foreshore is primarily a class struggle.

        A struggle between rich and powerful mining interests, resisted by an indigenous people opposed to the legal sell off of coastal resources to mining and business interests, over their heads.

        This struggle is not unique to New Zealand:

        As global warming opens up more of the Arctic, to mineral exploaration and oil drilling, companies keen to exploit the marine resources in the traditional hunting and fishing grounds of of the local Inuit people of Baffin Island, whose claims and traditional usage are being completely ignored in this new gold rush to exploit marine resources.

        Like the Maori in New Zealand the Inuit had a agreement with the Crown. Known as the Royal Proclamation, which guaranteed Inuit the right to have a treaty signed before any take over of their lands or resources was carried out. Just as in New Zealand in the new rush for marine resources this treaty was completely overruled, and traditional customary usage and title were also ignored.

        In an echo of the Seabed and Foreshore controversy, all the Inuit ask is to be treated like equals

        Seabed and foreshore seizure by big business in the artic

        One thing that struck me in Iqaluit is how non-pushy our Inuit hosts were. Perhaps it is a cultural thing. Or perhaps they have just been beaten down by centuries of colonialism, including domestic colonialism. As Eegeesiak says: “At a policy level, Inuit need to be included as equals in any dialogue about developing our lands and around our waters.”

        Why do these people, who have learnt over hundreds of years to live in harmony with nature and to manage their own resources (as we have not), have to ask to be “included as equals” in discussions about developing their own lands? Surely the snowshoe should be on the other foot?

        Unless the land claims agreements are fully and correctly implemented, the Inuit may, I fear, turn out to have sold their birthright for a mess of potage. I pick up a local newspaper as the Colloquium ends. It is printed both in English and Inuktitut. The lead story is about the federal government’s plans to carry out seismic testing in Lancaster Sound, located between Devon Island and Baffin Island, and forming the eastern portion of the Northwest Passage. The QIA has sought an injunction on the basis that the testing would cause irreparable damage to wildlife and impair the Inuit’s ability to hunt in the area. (The area is a habitat for narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales, as well as for seals, walrus and polar bears. Seabirds flock to Lancaster Sound in the hundreds of thousands.)

        But the real shocker, as far as I’m concerned, is that apparently the Inuit hadn’t even been consulted. Maybe we need another Royal Proclamation to set matters straight. The Queen is, after all, still Queen of Canada!

  5. Craig Glen Eden 5

    That would be the same two extremes that will pull this apart. I think they were once referred to as haters and wreckers maybe that person was right after all.

    • KJT 5.1

      It is much more complicated than two extremes.

      There are many different factions and ideas.

      There are the Maori moneyocracy who see themselves becoming individually rich from ownership rights to mining, fish farming and charging for commercial access to the foreshore and seabed.
      A natural fit with NACT. NACT are happy to have private title so they can grab the wealth from farming and mining.
      The coastal coalition have a point, thinking about this lot. Though they should also be concerned about present restrictions and exclusive use by, mostly, Pakeha landowners and corporates.

      Then there are many, Maori and Pakeha, who want public access to be continued and extended. Who feel their role is more guardians for Tamariki than owners. Who want a veto on any sales. Who want access for food and commercial ventures which do not destroy the environment they use. Who feel that strip mining the foreshore and seabed for short term gain is not something we want.
      This I believe are the majority. A consensus amongst us that is lasting and fair is possible.

      • hateatea 5.1.1

        Something else that seems to have been lost in all of this is that ‘customary title’ or as I prefer to think of it, ahi kā roa (the long burning fires = long, unbroken relationship) belongs with tāngata, whānau and, at a stretch, hapū rather than iwi but governments insistence on only feally with large ‘mandated’ groups, has people talking about particular parts of Te Takutai as if it were theirs whereas, in traditional terms, they have no personal right.

        My family happen to have a very beautiful piece of land on a spectacular part of the coast. We prefer it to be in native bush so that we and careful others may wander from the bush to the sea and return. Of course, as time goes on, people sometimes raise the lure of the money they could have today with never a thought to what our mokopuna and our visitors mokopuna may experience in the future. Sadly, there are always those who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. Fortunately, at the moment more of my whanau are with retention and conservation but that has nothing at all to do with my iwi and so it is with much of the disputed areas.

        Being able to access the moana for kai, for wairua or merely for pleasure is the priority of many ‘owners’. They know that they are merely the tangata tiaki (caretakers) for the mokopuna and the mokopuna of the mokopuna. It is colonisation that has turned us into ‘owners’ That some enjoy that status is one of the consequences of 200 years of colonised educational teachings.

        Now, if only we could focus on the fact that NACT have made no better fist of dealing with what was, originally, just a ruling to allow a claim to be tested in the Māori Land Court, and was over-reacted to by Labour prodded by Don Brash, Bill English et al and take all the hyperbole out of the debate, we could probably find a better way than legislation with prejudice and fear woven through its core.

        captcha: reach
        Will we ever reach a point in this country where people actually stop, listen and think calmly before feeling threatened by the indigeneous people of this country actually trying to hang on to what little remains to them from that enjoyed by their tīpuna.

        Sorry, a bit rantish but I am feeling a little raw at the moment

        • KJT

          Pakeha have the tradition of the commons. Which is similar to that of Tangata tiaki. Unfortunately the “commons” in Britain were enclosed and stolen by the wealthy a long time ago.
          But here is the root of a mutually acceptable solution to the foreshore and seabed.

          May have to hurry though, before NACT and the MP sell all the port lands and other land occupied commercially to private title.

          • marty mars

            I don’t know about your ‘commons’ idea – the net result for maori is the same, isn’t it? The only viable solution IMO is for title to be vested with maori, for the good of everyone. The mutually acceptable solution requires a compromise from non-maori – and when that happens we can get on with building a country built on foundations of truth and fairness and equality rather than the current model.

            • KJT

              No. the net result for Maori is not the same if all owners including Maori are compensated.

              Many Maori do not want to be charged to lay a towel on the beach or gather kai either.

              • There is no reason they should be charged – haven’t tangata whenua explicity stated that many times.

                • KJT

                  Marty. I know that many Maori would not charge. I’ve had more hassles with getting to the beach over Pakeha owned land. But there is an element who see ownership of the foreshore and seabed as a way of getting them selves individually rich. Exploitation rather than guardianship.

                  They, along with NACT, support Western exclusive style ownership because they want to shut the rest of us out from making pesky objections to mining, fish farming and destruction for short term profit.
                  I am still waiting for the settlement money to get to the Maori kids in the school I was teaching at a year ago.

                  I believe the majority or any ethnicity want pretty much the same thing. A fair acknowledgment of Maori rights including to earn money sustainably from the F and S. Public access to all the F and S including that now under private title. Continuation of use for recreation and food. Not for sale.

                  I am presenting a possible way of doing it which could be acceptable to everyone.

                  If you are going to partially remove Maori rights with public access then the law should apply equally and Pakeha title to the foreshore and seabed should be removed also.

                  • Sure there are capitalist’s within maoridom – just like within every group, I think they are a small number, but it is fair to say that their voices are growing – I oppose them.

                    I cannot accept that, lowering the status of maori by creating ‘commons’, supports tino rangatiratanga. It is a lowering because it ignores the indigenous rights of maori and the process that aquired all of the land. I understand the need to compromise but IMO it is not maori that need to do that.

                    • KJT

                      Why does it lower the Status of Maori by putting all the foreshore and seabed into a form of title which honours Maori customary forms of land tenure?

                      And it gets us all on the same side who want to treat the land as a treasure for the future.

                    • hateatea

                      Tika tō whakaaro, Marty.

                      I know it is hard for some people to get their heads around but being reasonable and acknowledging that the country cannot pay ‘full value’ compensation for wrongs done since 1840 means that iwi have already compromised, far more than any other sector of New Zealand society.

                      It would have been wonderful if treaty settlements meant the end of the Crown perpetrating wrongs on their treaty partners bit, in my experience, the day after the celebrations the Crown returned to breaching again.

                      Pre 1975 grievances may well have been ‘settled’ but the Crown seems hell bent on creating new grievances in the name of all the citizens of New Zealand but only for the benefit of a minority and that isn’t tāngata whenua

                      captcha: implementing

                    • Why should maori give up their right to self determination – to appease the masses and keep everyone happy? What next – where else will the lines be blurred and eroded.

                      It reduces maori status because aboriginal title is superceeded by common title.

                  • hateatea

                    ‘If you are going to partially remove Maori rights with public access then the law should apply equally and Pakeha title to the foreshore and seabed should be removed also.’

                    Oh, I can really see that happening. Not!

                    It is the same with the ‘wander at will’ that was imposed on Ngāi Tahu high country stations because of the idea that people have the right to go wherever they like when the land belongs to someone else but not if it belongs to them. Not only that but they are brown. We mustn’t let the natives tell us what to do!

                    captcha: affects

                    • KJT

                      I think that is what needs to happen. The law should treat all equally.

                      Jeanette suggested commons because that is the nearest European concept of land tenure to traditional Maori customary land tenure. Aboriginal title is another European concept.

                      An enduring resolution has to be one that most are OK with. That is also a Maori concept. Consensus.

                    • KJT

                      Personally I think that “the right to roam” should apply everywhere as it does in the UK and Danemark.

                      Federated Farmers would have a fit, but they are happy to pollute and use others streams, waterways, roads and access-ways when it suits them.

                    • The right to roam – if there is respect for maori and knowledge about where they are and what the area means – then maybe, if mana whenua agree. But if it is just to look at the pretty view with zero respect (like what happens now) then I oppose this.

      • pollywog 5.1.2

        There are the Maori moneyocracy who see themselves becoming individually rich from …

        “Phenomenal forecasts of overhead costs for this financial year which, with the current rate of executive spending, will increase the current actual of $1.7 million to nearly $2.5m, if not more.

        “Executive spending, to a degree where it’s costing our organisation millions of dollars for governance alone, must be stopped immediately.

        “The executive has lost perspective on their role and responsibilities as trustees of a charitable organisation such as ours.”

        Mrs Martin’s report states that in the past seven months the board has spent $546,000 in fees for executive members, $314,000 in travel expenses and $467,000 in legal fees.

        Tainui chairman Tuku Morgan did not respond to phone calls.

        The tribe has an asset portfolio of $644 million and more than 60,000 beneficiaries.

        It holds charitable tax status, and, therefore, does not pay tax on its income because the funds are used to benefit its tribal members.


        nice “work” if you can get it and Tuku sure knows how to get it.

        From culturally appropriate journo to MP to iwi rep. just point his snout to the trough and watch him swill around like he was born to do it…

        is he really who young Maori should aspire to be like ?

        • KJT

          Just thinking what I could have done with 20k of that, to help the prospects and aspirations of the kids I was Teaching at a mostly Maori secondary school. Better still if we had the money and time to catch them and give them a chance early at primary school.

        • KJT

          The price of underpants must have really gone up.

          Can’t really single them out when there are even more expensive Pakeha troughers.
          Just that I for some reason expected Maori to be better.

          Especially after all the rhetoric about using settlements to look after the future of all Maori.

          • Colonial Viper

            Are the details of the Board’s expenses public documents?

            • hateatea

              I wouldn’t have thought so. That said, there is sufficient information in the Waikato Times report to give a fairly good indication of where the costs lie. Tainui will have had large legal costs pertaining to their Employment Court issue with their previous Chief Executive. Tuku’s honoraria, if as reported, compares more than favourably with that of Ngāi Tahu’s Mark Solomon.

              The most important thing to remember is that it is Tainui’s money and Tainui’s business, not the greater New Zealand public’s, a fact which will probably not stop all the rednecks of the country having their say

              • Kia ora hateatea

                That is a very good point – why is this even public business? Tainui can sort out their issues – it is their right to do so. For some people to think that maori cannot look after themselves just demonstrates their belief that maori are like children, needing to have their hand held so they don’t make some mistakes – totally patronising attitude from these people that highlights their low self-esteem and bigotry.

  6. Red Rosa 6

    Well said RL. The Nats fired this up on the F&S, and now they can deal with the results. Labour can sit back with a clear conscience, and watch the ‘haters and wreckers’ take on their so-called coalition partners.

    The Coastal Coalition cannot be summarily dismissed as rednecks. The articles on their site show a serious examination of the constitutional issues involved, and the F&S Act comes out looking good.

  7. Jenny 7

    A Primer on the foreshore and seabed Marine Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill

    …the Prime Minister’s statement that the Bill will be a full and final settlement of the issue is simply inaccurate because rather than removing the injustice it actually compounds it.

    Moana Jackson


  8. Jenny 8

    I think this post just about says it all

    An open letter to the Maori Party from Dayle Takitimu

  9. Jenny 9

    This is all very good news for the possibility of a Labour led coalition.

    Labour immediately need to enter serious negotiations with the Maori Party to see what it would take for them to pledge their confidence and supply votes to a Labour government after the next election.

    capcha – “true”

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      The moment is now to use that time honoured Right tactic. Divide and rule. Make it completely untenable for NAT to keep the faith with its core redneck constituencies, making it a leadership issue for John Key to firefight.

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  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago