Guest Author: Open Letter to the Prime Minister, by Hone Harawira
– Hone Harawira,
MP for Te Tai Tokerau
Leader, Mana Party
Kia ora John
I’m down at Turangawaewae for the water hui, and I just wanted to clear up a few things before I go in.
You see John, there’s quite a bit of confusion about how Maori are being pushed to help you with your asset sales problem, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a push from your side to help Maori with any of our problems – like poverty, low wages, massive unemployment, poor housing, benefit cuts … you know the rest.
We know things are hard for your government right now, what with trying to sell off power companies when you don’t own the water that drives them – but really John, that’s something your officials should have sorted out a long time ago.
The consultation hui earlier this year showed clearly that Maori don’t support asset sales, there was that huge march on parliament against it, and there’s that petition on the street right now with 250,000 signatures and growing, opposing asset sales as well.
And you must have known John, that Maori would take action to protect their water rights under the Treaty of Waitangi.
That’s why Maori were so upset when you ridiculed the idea of a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, then belittled the New Zealand Maori Council for daring to take the claim in the first place, and then said that the Tribunal wasn’t worth listening to anyway.
You see John, the Tribunal is one of the only avenues we have to present our claims in our own way. In fact it’s the only place where what our kaumatua and kuia have to say has any meaning. It’s deeply flawed of course, but it has a special place as the nation’s only specialist judicial body on Treaty issues.
That’s why when the Tribunal said that “government would be in breach of the Treaty if it proceeded with its asset sales programme before Maori water rights had been settled”, we really hoped that you might do the right thing and step back, take a deep breath, and let the judicial process run its course.
So when you decided to simply defer the sale, and engage in behind-closed-door deals with selected iwi leaders, you can imagine how … upset … we got.
Because this is an important issue John, to all of us.
This is about water, and in particular Maori interests in that water.
And water really is a taonga to us John, a treasure. It’s hard to explain in English but water is something to cherish, to care for, to respect and to protect for future generations. Moana Jackson says “every tribe has a river” and the people of Whanganui have a saying “I am the river and the river is me”. Water is part of who we are.
And Maori water rights need to be understood in that context John. Not as a tradeable commodity, but as part and parcel of our very existence. Even Pakeha people get that; I think that might be why so many of them oppose your asset sales too.
The Tribunal has confirmed those rights (with the support I might add, of a number of your own Crown witnesses), and the Council has quite rightly asked the Tribunal to consider the extent of those rights and how best to recognise them in stage two of the hearings.
That’s not to deny hapu and iwi their rightful claims to waterways in their territories, but the issue of Maori water rights calls for a nationwide discussion and commitment to standards and expectations far greater than what can be achieved by small groups meeting behind closed doors.
John, this is one of the biggest decisions Maori will ever make, and 5 weeks just isn’t enough time to do it justice.
So where do we go from here?
Well … if I were the Prime Minister John, I think I’d:
§ Set aside the asset sales programme for a while;
§ Give the Tribunal time to complete stage two of the hearings;
§ Give Maori time to go back and share all that information with our kaumatua and our kuia, our cousins, our kids, and yes even our mokos as well, because the decisions we make today will affect them and their mokos too. And time too for hapu and iwi to consider the wider implications for them as well;
§ Give the rest of the country time to give their views too; because on this issue, every New Zealander should have a say;
§ And then I’d call everyone back to the table in 12 months, and see if we could come up with a solution that works for all.
Anyway, gimme a bell some time and let’s have a cup of tea and a chat.
= fs =
For a better New Zealand…
~ Cleaner rivers
~ No deep-sea oil drilling
~ Less on Roads - more on Rail
~ A Living wage at $19.25/hr
~ Marriage equality - Yay! Got that one!
~ Strong, effective Unions
~ No secret free-trade deals
~ Breakfast/lunches in our schools
~ Introducing Civics into our school curriculum
~ Cut back on the liquor industry
~ A fairer, progressive tax system
~ Fully funded, free healthcare
~ Ditto for education, including Tertiary
~ Fund Pharmac for Pompe's Disease medication & other 'orphan' drugs
~ No state asset sales!
~ Rebuild public TV broadcasting!
~ Keeping farms in local ownership
~ Reduce poverty, like we reduced the toll for road-fatalities
~ Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
~ Being nice to each other
- 2016 – Ongoing jobless tally
- Trump – the cultivation of demagoguery
- Letter to the editor – more silliness from former Nat President, Michelle Boag
- Matthew Hooton on “secret” UMR poll?
- Rebuilding the Country we grew up in – Little’s Big Task ahead
- National and the Reserve Bank – at War!
- The Mendacities of Mr Key # 18: “No question – NZ is better off!”
- Lies, Damned lies and Statistical Lies – ** UPDATE **
- Foot in mouth award – Bill English, for his recent “Flat Earth” comment in Parliament
- Letter to the editor – Key discovers how to reduce unemployment in NZ
- Lies, Damned lies and Statistical Lies
- Letter to the editor – National’s “pennies from heaven”
- Park-up in Wellington – People speaking against the scourge of homelessness
- John Key – we will not be held to ransom!
- CYF – The Hollowing Out of a State Agency
- Letter to the editor – give us a chance to vote, Mr Key!
- Letter to the editor – “Throwing money at the problem” of homelessness
- Flying the Red-Green Banner of Resistance
- Why is Paula Bennett media-shy all of a sudden?
- Success for National Govt – new bank opens!
- The Mendacities of Mr English – Fibbing from Finance Minister confirmed
- Letter to the editor – homelessness, class eugenics, and middle class sensibilities
- Upper Hutt residents mobilise to fight State House sell-off
- Budget 2016 – Who wins; who loses; who pays?
- Letter to the editor – Did Bill English try to pull a swiftie on ‘The Nation’?
- State house sell-off in Tauranga unravelling?
- The slow dismantling of a Prime Minister – downward slide continues
- Andrew Little’s “dangerous” speech – a cunning plan for the Middle and the Left
- Foot in Mouth award – another former ACT MP plumbs new depths of dumbness
- Letter to the editor – Who are the Real Greedies?
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- 426,998 hits