Thursday, November 4, 2010

incremental visibility?

I am enjoying Audrey Young's posting on the foreshore and seabed issue and the maori party. There are some good points about this idea that the new Bill is similar to the old Act and also the lack of any support from the Bill to counteract Hone. I am not convinced that the Bill provides a foothold for maori to be able to challenge and erode the most unpalatable aspects of the Bill.

Audrey Young from NZH
"The Maori Party National Bill restores the right to go to court, it gives Maori the right to negotiate directly with the Crown for title, it relaxes the test to gain customary title (when compared with the territorial rights order under Labour), and gives successful iwi actual ownership of the foreshore and seabed, including development rights - with the proviso it cannot be sold.
Harawira has opted for purism over pragmatism. He and his supporters concentrate on the fact the bill does not "return" the entire foreshore and seabed to Maori, and/or that the ownership rights of customary title will fall short of the other parcels of foreshore and seabed that are in private title.
Harawira is not spelling out the obvious to his support base.
Based on recent New Zealand history, it is obvious that if the bill becomes law it may not take too much time before the aspects of it, such as the test to gain customary title, are re-cast by a coalition agreement or a court.
Could the Bill provide a foothold for maori to legally challenge the test for customary title, using the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights, in the near future? Is that really how to achieve progress? I have always struggled with the notion of incremental gains, I know it can be effective but isn't the visibility of the gains part of the actual gains? Does the incremental nature of the gains affect the visibility of the gains? If all of the Waitangi Claims were settled under the radar wouldn't that be a good thing and would the lack of visibility affect anything? Wouldn't high visibility lock in the gains by creating a modified societial world view? ... some questions I'm pondering...

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