Sunday, February 21, 2010

Iwi Leadership Group - good article by Martin Kay

Why has this country still not endorsed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

The Declaration was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 13, 2007 with 143 states voting in favor, 11 abstaining, and four – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S. – voting against it. Australia has since adopted the Declaration.

Ngai Tahu has been pursuing an advocacy programme through the UN for the past five years to address this issue.

There is an interesting media release from 13 May 2009, well worth a read.

And what a powerful article in the Dom today (Saturday 20-2-10) about the Iwi Leadership Group. I encourage you to go and read the whole article it is very good indeed.

As Martin Kay puts it
"But there is mounting unease among many, including Maori, that crucial decisions about the shape of the new law are being left in the hands of a small but extremely powerful and influential Iwi Leadership Group that is operating behind closed doors."
Who are they?
"The group is headed by Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon and has about half a dozen members, including Tainui chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan, Ngati Porou chairman Api Mahuika, Whanau a Apanui chairman Rikirangi Gage and Ngati Toa negotiator Matiu Rei."
Annette Sykes,who is legal adviser and foreshore and seabed spokeswoman for Ngati Makino, says
"The leaders aren't unpopular. I want to be really clear - I have great respect for Mark Solomon. What is unpopular is the processes of co- opting and de facto negotiation that is being perceived by the Maori community as a result of the Crown wanting a one-stop shop. They don't want to deal with 40 people."
"The [Iwi Leadership Group] are corporate Maori. They're not ordinary Maori. They're the corporate entities, so what they [the Government] are doing is they're setting up a sounding board of corporate Maori. That is by no means an inclusive approach to the Maori position.
The Iwi leadership Group is appointed by forum of 50 Iwi.
"Questions about how prescriptive the "framework" put forward by the group for future negotiations will be have also been raised by the emergence of a document written by technical adviser Sacha McMeeking, who is also Ngai Tahu's manager of strategy and influence.
It floats a model under which the foreshore and seabed would be treated as a "shared" space, with any new law silent on the issue of ownership.
But iwi and hapu would also have the right to assert title in the courts, according to a new test based on Maori custom and traditions and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which would include the power to review and injunct decisions over the foreshore and seabed, and impose rahui (a ban on access).
The paper's status is unclear, but it has been dismissed by Attorney- General Chris Finlayson, who described it this week as "fantasy".
Hone in a recent speech to parliment said,
"It is us, the Maori Party members of Parliament, who have been asked to carry this battle. It is us who have the honour of speaking up for our people. And we do our people a grave disservice by passing this on to somebody else to handle; and I have no intention of treating my people with such disrespect."
Tariana said,
"the Maori Party is right to support the group as they are working on behalf of iwi and hapu that lost their rights in the Foreshore and Seabed Act."
So, some major considerations - is the Iwi Leaders Group the right group to set up the framework and if not them then who. Is Annette Sykes, who I totally respect, correct in talking about corporate and elite maori or is Tariana correct when she says,
"This is not an elite group. I get tired of this whole use of the word elitist. They are ordinary people who have struggled when there was no money around to fight for the rights of their hapu and iwi and they continue to do that."
big year coming up.

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