Wednesday, May 26, 2010

righting wrong won't wreck the country

These crown negotiators, like doug graham - what actually is their claim to fame?

That they were good negotiators? That they screwed maori for the best deal for the crown? They weren't working for maori they were working against maori - i don't see why they should be considered worth listening to, unless people want to learn how to 'negotiate' with maori even more.

So when doug graham says, on NZH,
"You can't wreck the country [financially] because one group has said this is their bottom line."
about the Tuhoe negotiations and their wish to have Te Urewera returned - what does he mean? Giving a park back to Tuhoe will financially ruin the country?
"Sir Douglas was at the helm of negotiations in the 1990s when first Tainui and then Ngai Tahu signed deeds of settlement.
He said Tuhoe were now "victims" of those settlements because his Government had said national parks were out of bounds during negotiations. That set the precedent, and if broken could see the possibility of deeds being relitigated."
Ahhh now we see the real cause for concern - the paltry deals done with Ngai Tahu and Tainui would be under pressure if other iwi got better deals. The 'final' settlements would not be final. If that is the case then the question is actually, "Why are they not final?" If the settlement is so good why wouldn't iwi go thanks so much and walk away - and the answer is that the settlements are a small percentage of what has been lost, a very small percentage. Yes perhaps iwi should be happy with their tiny payout or maybe they should continue to aim for justice and equality - that's what I hope they focus on - justice and equality.

I don't think that doug graham is a bad bloke but his view is just his view and don't we have enough of his type of view already.


urewera traveller said...

Kiaora Marty-
The settlements of the 90's are not final. The relativity clauses in the Ngai Tahu and Tainui ensure that, for the next fifty years at least, their settlements are open to further payments.
Were their deals bad deals? Perhaps, but they were voluntarily accepted, both Tainui and Ngai Tahu recognizing the advantage gained by building up an economic base sooner rather than later, and being realists knew that the chances of receiving a significantly better deal in the near-mid future were slim.
In all of these negotiations up until now, both the Crown and iwi negotiated on the understanding that conservation land was off the table. The Crown cannot now in good faith offer conservation land to Tuhoe without offering it to others to whom it was withheld.

Conservation land is a full third of ths country's land mass. It's available to all New Zealanders, protected from development by private interests, and not for sale to anyone. This natural, protected landscape props up our largest single export earner and contributes to the 'premium' perception attached to many of our valuable primary exports.

To even contemplate privatising large sections of it by giving it to small, narrowly represented groups would indeed threaten our financial security as a country as well as fracturing our society (conservation land is not just sacred to Maori).

Doug's an old fuddy duddy but he's an expert in his field and I'm inclined to agree with him in this instance.

Marty Mars said...

kia ora urewera traveller

I think doug is talking about a relitigation rather than the use of the realtivity clause but the point about the deal is a good one. Yes they were agreed to.

The thing with conservation land is where did it all come from? I have not heard one argument that it should all be locked away from everyone, not one. But I have heard plenty of the other argument - that it will be open for all, available for all.

Mike said...

Hi Marty.

I wish that available-for-all philosophy could be applied to Kaimanawa Forest Park. It has substantial chunks of private land smack in the middle of it which is leased to Air Charter Taupo who charge anyone who wants to pass through recreationally, then put crippling restrictions on where you can go unless you're one of their high-paying hunting clients who they fly in.

The land boundaries are drawn in straight lines with no respect to the geography, making it impractical to reach much of the surrounding public land, and effectively creating an even bigger public land buffer zone for the private users. I wrote about this a couple of years ago.

I don't blame the land owners. (I can't seem to quickly find details of who it is specifically, except various non-specific Maori land trusts.) If there's an option of getting something back in exchange for letting a company lock most people out of the land, and there aren't any better offers, it makes sense to run things that way. I guess I'm more irked with how things managed to work out this way in the first place, and why better access can't seem to be negotiated on behalf of everyone. I can't stand seeing awesome looking things (like mountain ranges) and being told I'm not allowed to visit and explore them.

I felt concerned about the Tuhoe stuff on a whim at first without any information, but as I've heard about what was proposed and the likeliness of continued public access, I've felt much much better about it. Sadly it sounds like there's a lot of misunderstanding out there, but I don't suppose that's new.

urewera traveller said...

Yes, relitigation would focus on the fact that the crown changed its mind and put conservation land on the negotiating table- it can't in good faith now offer it to Tuhoe without disadvantaging earlier settlors. I think relitigation would be an absolute certainty if Tuhoe were given UNP.

In almost all previous settlements, there has been plenty of cash on the table but not anough land. Iwi have expressed a strong preference for land but have been unable to get it- the massive reserves of conservation land were out of reach. If conservation land is given to Tuhoe, everyone's going to want some. The crown is legally bound to act in good faith- the earlier settlements would have to be renegotiated if iwi requested.

Privatising conservation land is a frightening prospect. I have been locked out of Mt Hikurangi and Mt Tarawera, both of which had guaranteed public access before they were privatised to iwi.

I'll admit it. I simply don't trust Maori not to lock the public out if they gain ownership. They already do it on Hikurangi and Tarawera maunga, I anticipate that Maori owners will do it elsewhere when it suits them. My other fear is that because national parks are expensive to run, (currently they all run at a massive loss and require external funding)that user costs will increase even as services decline in quality.

These fears may or may not be realised, but the evidence I have seen isn't promising.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marty,

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the following:

Iwi elite kicks women and children out on the street

Iwi arent the nice people you make them out to be

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora anon

Very tough one and i don't know the answer. I really feel quite sorry for the people being evicted but there appears to be more to this story that is immediately obvious - so i am holding my judgement until more information comes out.

You are correct that iwi aren't always the nice people I make them out to be.