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Ihumātao – What Pākehā should *NOT* do

1 October 2019 2 comments

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With some historical and present context, it should become readily apparent to Pakeha that the occupation at Ihumātao is not a free-for-all conflict for any and everyone to become involved in.

First, some important dates:

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1840

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The year in which the Treaty of Waitingi was signed. Article Two of the Treaty was especially important for Maori;

Article Two

Māori version: confirmed and guaranteed the chiefs ‘te tino rangatiratanga’ – the exercise of chieftainship – over their lands, villages and ‘taonga katoa’ – all treasured things. Māori agreed to give the Crown a right to deal with them over land transactions.

English version: confirmed and guaranteed to the chiefs ‘exclusive and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries, and other properties’. The Crown sought an exclusive right to deal with Māori over land transactions.

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1863

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Twenty three years after the last signature to the Treaty document had dried, land at  Ihumātao was seized ‘by proclamation’ under the New Zealand Settlements Act. Four hundred hectares of land at Ihumātao was taken by the Colonial Government and transferred to settler families in the area;

“There was an accusation that was levelled against Waikato that there was an imminent plot to attack the settlers of Auckland. It was a fabrication, part of [Governor George] Grey’s dodgy dossier,” says O’Malley. “The accusation was window-dressing for the British Colonial Office, to give the appearance that Grey had no choice but to take troops into the Waikato.”

More than 400 hectares of land at Ihumātao was confiscated by the Crown, as punishment for the community’s allegiance to the King movement, and given to a handful of settler families.

Article two of the Treaty had been well and truly breached. “Exclusive possession of the land” had been “disturbed” as thoroughly as it could be.

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2008

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The Crown recognised Te Kawerau Iwi Tribal Authority with which to undertake settlement negotiations for breach-of-Treaty claims.

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2014

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A Deed of Settlement was signed at Makaurau Marae in Māngere, between the Crown and Te Kawerau ā Maki Iwi Authority.

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2016

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A group of tangata whenua calling themselves SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape) establish a presence at Ihumātao Quarry Road.

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Present

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The presence  of SOUL and supporters at Ihumātao had swelled to several thousand people, from all over the country. The congenial attitude of Police, interacting peacefully with protectors/protestors, could be seen as the ‘New Zealand Way’ of doing things. (Subsequently, that good-will took a severe battering when some twit within the Police hierarchy thought it would be a ‘clever idea’ to publicly carry a firearm in the vicinity of the occupation.)

Politically, there have been many voices demanding many forms of ‘action’ or ‘intervention’.

From ACT’s shallow knowledge of history and feeding red-meat to it’s reactionary base;

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Mr Seymour’s references to the occupiers “break[ing] the law and illegally occupy[ing] other people’s private property“; “legitimis[ing] unlawful behaviour by capitulating to an illegal occupation“, and “capitulat[ing] to a ragtag bunch of socialists and prison abolitionists” can only be described as a toxic, noisome, brew of crass ignorance and racism.

There is black irony and unashamed hypocrisy is describing the occupation as “break[ing] the law and illegally occupy[ing] other people’s private property” and “legitimis[ing] unlawful behaviour by capitulating to an illegal occupation” when the land was originally unlawfully seized, illegally occupied, and on-sold to colonial settlers in the first place.

His description of the occupiers as “a ragtag bunch of socialists and prison abolitionists– without once mentioning that they were tangata whenua, was wilfully insulting, with more racism piled on.  David Seymour is without self-awareness or shame with his appalling comments.

Then we heard Simon Bridges criticising Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern making a state visit to Tokelau on Radio NZ;

“She’s put herself in it and where is she? She’s taken herself off for days to Tokelau – 1500 people – well every MP has a street she hasn’t visited that has many more people than that and look, whether it’s the stalling economy, whether it’s Ihumātao, whether it’s a bunch of other issues – the prime minister and government are showing themselves to be a part-time prime minister and government.”

But when asked by Radio NZ’s Corin Dann if she should have attended Ihumātao, his equivocation was cringeworthy and embarrassing;

“No. Because I don’t believe a leader necessarily needs to insert themselves in this. I think that’s – [interuption]

[…] She shouldn’t have got involved.

[…] She got involved. She set a bad precedent.

[…] I would not be intervening in this particular instance, the way the Prime Minister is.”

On Twitter, Russell Brown from the Public Address blog, put it perfectly when he summed up Simon Bridge’s insanely contradictory statements;

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Hone Harawira said it most clearly;

“It would be nice to see the Māori ministers leading here rather than being told what to do by Jacinda. I don’t think she knows what’s going on here. Stay overseas. Leave it to Peeni and the whānau here. Let’s get it done.”

This is especially vital considering that the dispute over Ihumātao appears to be a schism with local Māori. As RNZ’s Te Manu Korihi Editor, Shannon Haunui-Thompson, explained;

This isn’t a Māori versus Fletcher issue – on both sides are members of the same iwi, hapū and whānau.

When the eviction notices were served yesterday, well-respected kaumātua of Te Kawerau a Maki and Te Akitai accompanied police and asked for the occupation to end and for them to leave Ihumātao peacefully. They even performed a karakia.

Ms Haunui-Thompson also rejected that the dispute was “generational”;

“…to say it’s a rangitahi [younger generation] issue is incorrect. There’s definitely a divide though amongst the iwi, amongst the hapu and whanau.”

To make it clear, it was not for the Prime Minister to intervene. Calls for her to visit Ihumātao were misguided. Her presence, at best, would be symbolic. At worst, misconstrued as more pakeha paternalism.

What was appropriate was for Māori MPs to visit; to listen; to facilitate where possible; to carry back to the Government what they had seen and heard. Māori working with Māori.

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“It’s a tense feeling here at Ihumātao as ministers arrive at the whenua.” – Te Aniwa Hurihanganui, Radio NZ, @teaniwahuri

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Simon Bridges then played the “law and order” and “private land rights”, cards. On 30 July, interviewed on  TVNZ’s “Q+A”, Jack Tame asked the current National Party Leader if he “would support police removing the people who are occupying the land at the moment“. Mr Bridges dodged the question;

“Well, it’s pretty simple when it comes to protests. You have an absolute right in this country to legitimate, fair, vociferous protest; you don’t have a right to break the law and get in the way of other people’s lawful activity.”

When asked again, Mr Bridges played the “Dumb Card”;

“Well, I don’t know the ins and outs…”

It was a simple question. It had only two possible answers;

  1. Yes, I would support the police removing protestors.
  2. No, I wouldn’t support police removing protestors.

There is no third option.

Any mature person watching that exchange and listening to Mr Bridges’ response could reasonably infer that (a) Simon Bridges had no idea whatsoever of the issues surrounding Ihumātao or (b) understood the issues perfectly well, but did not have the guts to offer a definitive answer.

Neither option is an edifying position for The Man Who Would Be Prime Minister. If he doesn’t “know the ins and out” perhaps he should do what all new MPs do in Parliament: breathe through his nose.

Barely two weeks later, Simon Bridges was once again pontificating by press release, On 11 August, he demanded that Prime Minister Ardern tell “protestors to go home and let the landowners build houses for Aucklanders“.

So there we have it: Simon Bridges is of the opinion that Jacinda Ardern has the Stalinist power to command  “protestors to go home“.  Who would have thought she wielded such Imperial Roman authority over her subjects. Mr Bridges had best tread cautiously; the Prime Minister could send him packing as well.

The reality is that Mr Bridges can comfortably pontificate  what should or should not be done. Or both. His comments can (and have been) as contradictory as he fancies. He can cause harm; sow discord; rattle nerves. From the relative safety and responsibility-free-zone of  the Opposition, he can say whatever he likes, regardless of consequences.

What is telling is that none of his utterances have been in any way constructive. His chest-thumping machismo no substitute for calmer, cooler heads. We are fortunate that he is nowhere near the “levers of power”.

Contrast Simon Bridges’ incoherence and impotence with that of the solemn mana of the Māori King, Kiingi Tūheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII, who on 3 August was welcomed onto Ihumātao with a formal pōwhiri;

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Kiingi Tūheitia offered to mediate between protectors/protestors and the Iwi authority to find a way forward. Kiingitanga spokeswoman, Rukumoana Schaafhausen, said;

“We have to hear all the mana whenua and find a way forward that works for all of them.”

The meeting would not include Fletchers, or the Government, Schaafhausen said. 

And that is the point that has eluded most people: this issue is for mana whenua to discuss and to arrive at a solution. It is not for the pakeha Coalition government to intervene. It is not for the police to force protestors out. And it is most certainly not for self-serving politicians from the Right to exploit this issue for a perverted “law and order” beat-up to win a few votes from ill-informed redneck voters.

This is for Māori to resolve.

As the Māori version of Article Two of te Tiriti states;

“…confirmed and guaranteed the chiefs ‘te tino rangatiratanga’ – the exercise of chieftainship”

At a time when Māori are determined to take firmer control of their own affairs – such as up-lifting and placement of Māori children by Oranga Tamariki – resolving disputes such as Ihumātao can only achieved by those directly involved.

The Crown – represented by the government – can assist. It can mediate. And in the end it can listen.

On 18 September, mana whenua announced that they had negotiated and reached a decision;

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Māori had arrived at a resolution. By Māori, for Māori.

Kiingi Tūheitia explained the position that had been arrived at:

“Mana whenua agree they want their land returned, so they can make decisions about its future.”

Kiingi Tūheitia further expressed mana whenua’s desired outcome:

“Kiingitanga has conveyed the views of mana whenua to the government and urged it to negotiate with Fletchers for the return of Ihumātao to its rightful owners.”

Now is the rightful moment for the Crown, through the Coalition Government, to sit at the table and play it’s rightful part as one of the two Treaty partners.

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References

Encyclopedia of New Zealand – Te Ara: Treaty of Waitangi – Interpretations of the Treaty of Waitangi

Radio NZ: Ihumātao land battle – a timeline

New Zealand Geographic: When worlds collide

NZ Government: Te Kawerau ā Maki – Summary

NZ Government: Te Kawerau ā Maki

NZ Herald: Battle for Ihumātao – How farmland became a flashpoint

Fairfax/Stuff: Police officer sings with protesters at Ihumātao

Fairfax/Stuff: Ihumātao – Police deny carrying firearms at protest after Facebook video outcry

Twitter: David Seymour – Ihumātao – 10:25 PM – July 26, 2019

Twitter: David Seymour – Ihumātao – 11:01 AM – July 27, 2019

Twitter: David Seymour – Ihumātao – 08:12 AM – July 28, 2019

Radio NZ: Ihumātao – Simon Bridges slams PM for timing of Tokelau trip

Radio NZ: Bridges defends ‘part-time PM’ criticism of Ardern

Twitter: Russell Brown – Ihumatao – Simon Bridges – 7:34 AM – July 31, 2019

Radio NZ: Ihumātao – Government ministers welcomed to protest site with powerful powhiri

Radio NZ: Explainer – Why Ihumātao is being occupied by ‘protectors’

Twitter: Te Aniwa Hurihanganui – Ministers arrive at Ihumātao – 12:11 PM, July 27 2019

TVNZ: Q+A – Simon Bridges interviewed by Jack Tame

Victoria University: Research Archive – Breathing Through their Noses – Candidate Selection and Role Adaptation amongst First-Term MPs in the New Zealand Parliament

National: Tell them to go home, Prime Minister (alt.link)

NZ Herald: Kīngitanga flag raised at Ihumātao, to stay until resolution reached

Fairfax/Stuff media: Ihumātao – Māori King invites mana whenua to meet to find a solution

TVNZ: ‘By Māori, for Māori’ – Oranga Tamariki hui reveals Māori want to look after their own

Radio NZ: Mana whenua reach decision on Ihumātao land

Beehive: Government welcomes Kingitanga statement on Ihumātao

The Spinoff: Mana whenua have agreed to keeping the land at Ihumātao. So what comes next?

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 26 September 2019.

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Radio NZ: Focus on Politics for 7 February 2014

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– Focus on Politics –

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– Friday 7 February 2014  –

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– Chris Bramwell –

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A weekly analysis of significant political issues.

Friday after 6:30pm and Saturday at 5:10pm

Politicians converging on Waitangi Marae this year were given a relatively easy run, with a noisy but respectful protest, and a few fish dropped at the Prime Minister’s feet. History was made though – with women allowed to speak on the marae for the first time, 15 years after the former Labour Party leader Helen Clark was refused permission to speak.

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Radio NZ logo - Focus on Politics

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Click to listen: Focus on Politics for 7 February 2014 ( 17′ 36″ )

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Acknowledgement: Radio NZ

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Dear Leader – shoots from the lip. Again.

4 February 2014 4 comments

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Once again, Dear Leader has passed judgement on an issue;

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Jeers for Governor-General at Waitangi

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At 3.33pm, The NZ Herald reported Key as saying,

Having a few protesters or radicals effectively jostling the Governor-General is undignified, it’s unwarranted and, frankly, outright wrong.”

That’s despite  Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, stating via Twitter that he had not been jostled. Note the time;

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governor general - waitangi day - john key

Source: Twitter – Governor General of NZ

Hat Tip: The Daily Blog: Will msm grill Key over misleading Waitangi comments the way they did Cunliffe’s Best Start?

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Finally, by late afternoon, Key was forced to admit that his condemnation was  based on incorrect information;

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PM backs away from Waitangi comments

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The damage, though,  was done and many New Zealanders will have heard only the words “Waitangi”, “Governor General”; “jostled”; and “protestors” and reaffirmed their preconceived prejudices.

Racists and other right-wing nutjobs will be feasting on the carcass of this media-beat-up and Key’s ill-considered, rush-to-judgement. But then, the media love Waitangi Day for the headline-generating stories and advertising it sells, and for politicians – it’s Election Year.

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References

The Daily Blog: Will msm grill Key over misleading Waitangi comments the way they did Cunliffe’s Best Start?

Radio NZ: Jeers for Governor-General at Waitangi

NZ Herald: Waitangi celebrations start with scuffle

Radio NZ: PM backs away from Waitangi comments

Twitter – Governor General of NZ

Additional

Fairfax media: PM’s comments called overblown

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1496189_1409071792672271_1235209203_o

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

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Citizen A – 13 September 2012 – Online now!

19 September 2012 Leave a comment

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Citizen A

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– 13 September 2012 –

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– Claudette Hauiti & Phoebe Fletcher –

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTu0zW1FPVc&list=UU7Jit_xt-bd0g_Z8CIneUeg&index=1&feature=plcp

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Issue 1: Feeding kids at school – everyone seems to want to do it except the Government – who is responsible for hungry children – the parent or the State?

Issue 2: Latest round of beneficiary cut backs now look to punish the child for the sins of the parent – has Paula Bennett gone too far or will she go further?

Issue 3: Maori meet to hui over water today, is the Prime Minister listening?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV – This blogger recommends ‘Citizen A’ as intelligent analysis of current affairs.

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Acknowledgement (republished with kind permission)

Tumeke

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Is John Key ‘losing the plot’?!

18 September 2012 3 comments

Lifted from the media today,

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Full story

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When the Leader of the pro-capitalist National Party starts talking about “nationalising elements such as water and wind”  – whilst at the same time instigating a programme to partially privatise Genesis Energy, Mighty River Power, and Meridian – the question has to be asked; has John Key flipped his lid?!?!

Regardless of whatever atmosphere they are breathing on the Ninth Floor, there must be some severe oxygen depletion at work to have affected Key’s mental processes so badly.

New Zealanders from both ends of the spectrum, Left and Right, as well as the general populace, must be wondering what is going on in the land of Planet National.

Right wing National supporters must’ve wondered if they had heard their Dear Leader correctly when he uttered the taboo “N” word (“nationalisation – not “n—-r”).

The Left would have been rolling their eyes and shaking their heads in dismay, and wondering, “How much more of this clown will the public take? Does he have to decapitate and eat a kitten before his popularity takes a nose-dive and drops lower than John Banks’ credibility?”

Nationalisation of water and air…

Whilst selling of our state assets at the same time…

The breath-taking audacity of the man.

In reality, what he is saying is that  the government is toying with the idea  of making a grab for certain natural resources – before selling them to private investors.

His comment is as ludicrous as his statement on TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 September when he dumbly blurted out,

… So if you accept that viewpoint, then I think you have to accept that elements like water and wind and the sun and air and fire and all these things, and the sea, along with natural resources like oil and gas, are there for the national interest of everyone. They’re there for the benefit of all New Zealanders, not one particular group over another. “

See: TVNZ Q+A Interview with Prime Minister John Key

Yeah, right, Dear Leader. I’m sure that came as a bit of a surprise to the private oil and gas companies currently exploiting our gas and oil fields.

John Key – always a laugh a minute with his incredibly outrageous remarks. Unfortunately, his clownish behaviour is ultimately at our expense.

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water rights state asset sales waitangi tribunal Maori King SOEs John Key

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A lesson in Energy Economics

17 September 2012 Leave a comment

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This is the Treaty of Waitangi, signed by most tribes in New Zealand, and by the Representative of Her Majesty, Lieutenant-Governor, William Hobson,

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The full English text can be read here: Treaty of Waitangi.

The relevant part to the treaty, guaranteeing rights to land, forests, water, mountain, etc, is this bit, Article 2,

Article the second [Article 2]

Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.

Seems fairly clear; what’s theirs is theirs and no nicking each others’ stuff.

Now, unfortunately, I have fellow New Zealanders who hold to the belief that the Treaty of Waitangi is “no longer relevant” or is “outdated”.

Interesting idea that; “no longer relevant”.

Firstly, the Treaty has no “expiry date” or “statute of limitations”. Nothing in the  small print  states that the Treaty is valid for only X number of years.

Secondly, imagine trying to tell our American cuzzies that their Declaration of Independence – signed in 1776AD, and therefore some 64 years older than our own Treaty – is “no longer relevant” or  “outdated”? They’d have half their US Marines camped outside your front door – and not in a happy way, either.

And of course, there is the Magna Carta, signed in 1215AD, and which is the basis of much of our modern law.  If the Magna Carta is “no longer relevant” or  “outdated” then we are in serious trouble, as the state would have arbitrary powers of detention and imprisonment without right of trial, and we would lose other legal protections from State abuse.

And then there are the Ten Commandments, several thousand years old, which state the most basic laws of a civilised society; no killing, no stealing, no false accusations, etc.

Few people would try to assert that these basic laws are “no longer relevant” or  “outdated”?

Time does not extinguish rights.

Those who object to the principles of the Treaty do so out of fear and misconceptions (and sometimes out of downright racist hostility) than any notions of fairness.

The Treaty is the basis upon which our ancestors agreed to live together and to respect each other. We should respect that agreement and use it in the spirit in which it was signed.

Otherwise we disrespect our forebears (on all sides) and do ourselves a dishonour in the  process.

Moving forward and onward…

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II

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In replying to Maori claims of water rights, Dear Leader John Key has stated earnestly that “no one owns the water”.

Until now,  Maori have made no claims over water in terms of this country’s energy production. With Meridian, Mighty River Power, and Genesis Energy under collective  state ownership, it could equally be said that “no one owned the power companies – they belonged to us all.

If, until now, we all benefitted from collective ownership of power companies, then, equally the source of that power was in collective ownership. Now National is attempting to privatise 49% of  Meridian, Mighty River Power, and Genesis Energy – effectively changing the rules.

The concept of private ownership is now contemplated for up-till-now collectively-owned assets. So what about the source of that power which will now benefit a small group who will own 49%?

Can the source of hydro power be owned, especially when it produces profits?

Let’s test that idea, shall we?

Simple question: who owns the following resources?

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Oil. Natural  gas. Coal. Uranium. None of this stuff  is free. Someone owns the ground or the process used to extract it.  There is a concept of private ownership  over these energy sources that can be quantified, measured, controlled,  priced, and sold.

Until Pakeha arrived on these fair shores as the second wave of  “boat people” – refugees from a class-stratified society – Maori had no concept of private ownership. Property was not owned by individuals. Iwi and hapu held collective kawanatanga over their lands, waters, forests, hills, seashores, etc.

Once Pakeha arrived, the notion of private ownership and Land Titles were introduced to Maori.

Some Pakeha might object – but water is sacred!

So is land. God knows enough of our young men have gone off to war to defend our nation; our people; our lands, from foreign domination, in two World Wars.

Some Pakeha would object – but water is ephemeral!

So are radio/television  frequencies. But that hasn’t stopped the government to leasing/selling those to private companies. (Try broadcasting on the same wavelength as TVNZ or TV3, and see what the reaction from those companies and the State would be.)

This is a hydro power station,

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Powered by this stuff,

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Water  generates the turbines which produces the power that is on-sold to consumers.

So how does water differ from oil, gas, coal, and uranium?

Private ownership?  It suited us Pakeha when it was used to our benefit to “acquire” land from Maori.

Maori learnt that lesson well and the shoe is now on the other foot.

If Pakeha are going to flog of 49% of  assets that, up till now, no one owned and collectively benefitted us all, then by the gods, Maori can – and should – apply precisely the same principle.

Welcome to the world of capitalism – our ‘gift’ to Maori

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III

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Pakeha schizophrenia over private ownership was nowhere better summed up than on TVNZ’s Q+A, on 16 September, when Shane Taurima interviewed Dear Leader John Key on this issue,

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In a stunning act of conversion to social democratic principles, John Key equated the collective ownership of water with oil and gas,

… So if you accept that viewpoint, then I think you have to accept that elements like water and wind and the sun and air and fire and all these things, and the sea, along with natural resources like oil and gas, are there for the national interest of everyone. They’re there for the benefit of all New Zealanders, not one particular group over another. “

See: TVNZ Q+A Interview with Prime Minister John Key

Really?!?!

JohnKey is telling us that, ” natural resources like oil and gas, are there for the national interest of everyone. They’re there for the benefit of all New Zealanders, not one particular group over another “?!?

Since when did National or Labour nationalise the oil and gas industry???

This little piece of news-trivia slipped by me, that’s for sure. (Must’ve been announced on the other TV channel when we wasted two minutes watching ‘The Ridges‘.)

It’s pure bullshit of course. John Key is spinning porkies when he’s suggesting that the oil and gas industry is ” there for the national interest of everyone “. These resources belong to various corporations – not ”  for the benefit of all New Zealanders “.

In fact, the last time New Zealand held any State ownership in any aspect of the oil and gas industry was  with Petrocorp and Maui gas – both  privatised, respectively, in 1988 and 1990.

See: Treasury – Income from State Asset Sales

John Key’s assertion that the oil and gas industry is ” there for the national interest of everyone ” is either delusional (spending too much time with John Banks?) or a clumsy fairytale to try to woo New Zealanders into a cosy, cotton-wool, fantasy world.

This blogger would welcome and support National nationalising all oil and gas production in this country, ”  for the benefit of all New Zealanders “.

The fact is that Dear Leader blew it.

Not only was his paradigm absurdly false – but it actually shored up the legitamacy of Maori claims over water rights.

If private ownership can be conferred over this country’s oil and gas resources, for the private benefit of shareholders, then John Key needs to explain – in far more truthful terms this time – why water is different.

This blogger  believes that so far he has made a complete hash of things.

More importantly, will a Court take a similar view?

My money is on Maori winning this one.

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An email sent to Dear Leader,

Date: Monday, 17 September 2012 12:11 AM
From: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
Subject: Nationalisation of oil and gas resources
To: John Key <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>
Cc: David Shearer <david.shearer@parliament.govt.nz>,
    Russel Norman <Russel.Norman@parliament.govt.nz>,
    Metiria Turei <metiria.turei@parliament.govt.nz>,
    Winston Peters <winston.peters@parliament.govt.nz>

Kia Ora Mr Key,
 
On 16 September, you stated on TVNZ’s Q+A the following statement,
” … So if you accept that viewpoint, then I think you have to accept that elements like water and wind and the sun and air and fire and all these things, and the sea, along with natural resources like oil and gas, are there for the national interest of everyone. They’re there for the benefit of all New Zealanders, not one particular group over another. “
 

Source:  http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/interview-prime-minister-john-key-5085886

I missed the occassion when our oil and gas industries were nationalised, so that profits would remain in New Zealand,  “for the benefit of all New Zealanders, not one particular group over another”.

This is an excellent state of affairs and I welcome your government’s conversion to social democracy whereby  our ”  natural resources like oil and gas, are there for the national interest of everyone “.

I take it as a given then, that you have not only abandoned your asset sales programme, but will be re-nationalising Contact Energy.

In which case, it is a truism that “no one owns the oil and gas” in the ground, and subsequently these resources belong to all New Zealanders collectively.

I may have to reconsider my vote, come 2014, as I wish to support the newly discovered  social-democratic principles shown by your Party.

With regards,
-Frank Macskasy
Blogger

See: https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/a-lesson-in-energy-economics/

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Guest Author: Open Letter to the Prime Minister, by Hone Harawira

– Hone Harawira,
MP for Te Tai Tokerau
Leader, Mana Party

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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.

Yours sincerely,
Hone Harawira

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A temporary victory for common sense?!

2 August 2012 2 comments

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Full story

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Whoda thunk it – Maori saving New Zealand from the worst excesses of neo-liberalism.

And who would have thought that the Treaty of Waitangi – a 172 year old document – would be used  to preserve our state assets from being flogged of  by a Party that barely achieved 47.3% of the Party vote last year. National scored 1,058,636 votes out of a population of 4.4 million – not exactly a cast-iron mandate, but there you have it.

For some free marketeers, 1,058,636 trumps 4.4 million. No wonder so many finance companies went bust – they can’t count.

Most mind-numbingly depressing is that evidently many New Zealanders who voted for John Key and the National Party did so despite their opposition to asset sales.

Which really, when you think about it, is like going to a supermarket wanting  to buy a can of peaches; picking a can of Watties Beans instead; taking it home; opening it – and then expressing disappointment that the can doesn’t contain peaches.

?!?!

In all my life, I can’t say I’ve ever done that. Buying peaches and expecting beans…

When this blogger started passing the CIR petition to call for a referendum on the issue, the second and third signatories were two tradesmen. Both burly blokes who had voted National.

They almost grabbed at my pen to sign.

Guilt, I guess.

The Maori Council’s appeal to the Waitangi Tribunal has resulted in the Tribunal making a recommendation to postpone any and all asset sales, until water rights for Maori are resolved. This is no small matter.

Up till now, with water being used by state-owned enterprises, for the benefit of the entire country – Maori were content  to leave that precious  resource under State control/ownership.

It is only when National raised the ugly spectre of SOE privatisation that matters changed. All of a sudden – despite the water flowing through hydro-dams not being directly owned by the power companies – that resource was to be used to general private profit for private investors.

Screw that, thought Tangata Whenua and many fair-minded Tau Iwi.

And rightly so.

There is precedence here,

During the Second World War, the New Zealand Government took land from indigenous Māori owners by acquisition for the purpose of a military airfield. Instead of these being handed back to its former owners (the Tainui Awhiro peoples) when no longer required for defence purposes, part of the land, a 62-acre (250,000 m2) block was turned into a public Raglan golf course in 1969. “

Source

13 February 1988 is a day of thanksgiving and celebration for the return of Māori land. 25 hectares by the Raglan harbour was taken by the Crown for defence purposes during the Second World War. Later it became the Raglan golf course. Now it’s back in the hands of Tainui Awhiro people.

In 1978, seventeen Māori protesters were arrested on the golf course for trespass. Their court appearance set off a chain of events which trailed through the courts amidst bitter argument at local and national level, but finally led to the return of the land to local Māori people. The golf course has been re-sited in the hills overlooking Raglan.

In 1988, more than a thousand people gather to remember those who fought for what they considered a triumph over injustice. “

Source

Whilst the land was used in the defence of the nation, Maori were prepared to tolerate the State “acquiring” (ie, confiscating) it.

But once the war was over,  Maori had a reasonable expectation that it be returned to them. Instead, the pakeha state gave it to the Raglan Golf Club, and Maori had to fight through the Courts to have was was rightfully theirs, returned to them.

I doubt if any redneck pakeha would tolerate his or her house been confiscated by the State, without compensation, and later on-sold to developers.

The same can be said of water. Maori were prepared to share this resource with all of New Zealand.

But once National decided to sell four power companies, this changed the entire management/benefits dynamics. As our American cuzzies put it;  “it’s a whole new ball game, Jethro!”.

There are, unfortunately, a sizeable number of pakeha who say that “no one owns the water”.

Really?

Have a look at your local body rates bill. Notice how much you’re paying for water “no one owns”?

And isn’t it funny that until Pakeha rocked up onto the shores of the Land of The Long White Cloud, Maori had no concept of private ownership? An Iwi or hapu had sovereignty over an area of land and waterways – but no one  person owned anything. It was all communal.

Enter boatloads of pakeha and their alien notion of “private property”.

Suddenly, land was owned by individuals.

Maori were expected to get used to this alien concept. In fact, they had little choice, and to their credit they adapted well to the Pakeha system. They also realised the power of the Courts and the legal system – another pakeha construct.

Maori are now using the Courts (a pakeha system) to gain ownership (a pakeha notion) over waterways. The Treaty (a pakeha instrument) is their contract with the Crown (a pakeha hierarchical institution) that guarantees Maori undisturbed possession of their “treasures” (assets).

And all of a sudden, pakeha are claiming collective ownership of water?!

Talk about trying to change the rules half-way through the game!

Once this issue hits the Court system, expect delays as the case drags through the High Court, then Court of Appeal, then Supreme Court. It could be a very, very drawn out process.

In which case, Maori and a 172 year old document may have stymied the theft of our State assets. Just as the Treaty was designed to stop the theft of Maori assets.

Funny, how things turn out for the good.

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The Treaty of Waitingi – saving us from our own folly

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Full story

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Whilst 60% to 70% of New Zealanders opposed state asset  sales, bizarrely 47.31% still voted for National.

See: 2011 general election official results

This blogger knows two tradesmen who voted National last year despite being vehemently opposed to selling state assets.

It’s a quirk of our nature that some folk  vote for things they don’t like or support.  The assets sale issue is another example of  New Zealanders demonstrating a form of political ‘schizophrenia’ and voting for something they dislike.

Go figure.

Luckily – despite not having a US-style Constitution to protect our interests from nutty, neo-liberal National Party  ideology – our  very own Treaty of Waitangi may have  pulled our collective backsides out of the fire, and may be the one, single mechanism that puts a halt to National’s unpopular policy to hock off our property.

The irony of this should be abundantly obvious to all;  the Treaty was orginally designed to protect tangata whenua from the excesses of colonial rule (which was not exactly a stirling success).

Now, 172 years after Te Tiriti was signed, our Founding Document may be the means by which Pakeha are saved from their own collective folly.

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We should hang our heads in shame, and be thankful to Maori. Because of their efforts, our power companies, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand will not end up being  owned by investors from Beijing, Berlin, or Boston.

We may just have saved something of our treasures for our children to inherit.

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Additional

Radio NZ: Waitangi Tribunal recommends asset sale delay

Dominion Post: Hold off asset sales, Waitangi Tribunal says

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Is pressure getting to Key?

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It would be fair to say that National’s asset sale programme is highly unpopular with the majority of New Zealanders – and with a sizeable portion of National Party voters. In fact, it would be fair to say that those individuals and organisations in favour of asset sales would be a distinct minority.

John Key doggedly maintains that National has a “mandate” for the partial-privatisation of Solid Energy, Meridian, Genesis, Meridian, and a further sell-down of Air New Zealand.

Whilst it’s true that National’s 1,058,636 party votes trumped Labour’s 614,937 – National’s support is less than one quarter of the population of this country. And when votes for Labour, NZ First, the Greens, Mana, Maori Party, and the Conservative Party are added together – they outnumber the combined votes for National, ACT, and United Future.

The only reason that National-ACT-United Future have a current one-seat majority in Parliament is because the Conservative Party did not break the 5% threshold, nor win an Electorate seat.

See:  2011 general election official results

ACT, but contrast, gained less than half the number of votes that the Conservative Party did – but because of the quirky Electorate Seat Threshold rule (which lets Parties enter Parliament despite not breaking the 5% threshold), still gained one seat.

For the second time in two elections, a small Party has won more votes than ACT – but ACT has slipped back into Parliament because of National-ACT manipulation of the Electorate Seat Threshold. The other Party failed to win seats because it failed to break the 5% threshold or win an Electorate.

The Electoral Commission is currently reviewing MMP and it is likely that they will recommend to Parliament that the Electorate Seat Threshold be eliminated, as it serves no logical, discernible purpose and undermines the proportionality of  our electoral system.

National’s “mandate” is therefore as shonkey as some of John Key’s promises.

2.

The Maori Party finds itself in the same invidious position that NZ First was in 1998, and the Alliance in 2001. Both Parties were ‘tested’ by unforeseen circumstances, and the subsequent  political stresses and public pressures tore both Parties apart.

The Alliance was effectively destroyed, and NZ First split in two, and never recovered it’s electoral hey-day support of  13.35%.

The Maori Party finds itself in a similar Rock-vs-Hard Place situation, as it contemplates public pressure over it’s support for National – even as it’s leader, John Key, has trashed the Waitangi Tribunal by stating categorically that  it is not bound by Tribunal decisions and may gnore it’s recommendationa.

It has always been known (except by low-information voters) that Waitangi Tribunal decisions are not binding on any government. But governments of both Left and Right have, up till now, had the common sense and common courtesy to reserve judgement until being handed Tribunal recommendations.

To pre-empt the Waitangi Tribunal by suggesting – as John Key did – that National may ignore any recommendation, is high-handed arrogance. And it is a slap in the face to Maori, who place a measure of  faith in the British judicial system of fairness in justice.

After all, our justice system was introduced to this land, as was the concept of private ownership, and Maori have had to adapt to both concepts. This, they have done – and with far more success than generally Pakeha have adapted to Maori tikanga.

So for John Key to dismiss, out-of-hand, any decision from the Tribunal insults not just Maori, but our faith in systems of justice that apply to everyone in this country.

If Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples want to remain aligned with a political party, that is so derisory to the Waitangi Tribunal and normal concepts of fair play,  then they risk being tarred by association.

This blogger concurs with those who call for the Maori Party to disassociate itself from National. For their own mana,  and ultimate political survival, the Maori Party must ‘walk’. There is no possible long-term benefit to be gained  by continuing to associate with, and support, John Key’s administration.

But there is a lot of damage to be gained by maintaining their association with National.

Small parties are highly vulnerable to voter backlash. The history of The Alliance Party, United Future, ACT,  and NZ First should serve as a stark warning to Ms Turia and Mr Sharples.

It is time to walk, Ms Turia, Mr Sharples. For your own dignity, if nothing else.

3.

For the first time since the 2011 election, John Key has admitted that the first partial-privatisation – that of  Mighty River Power – may be delayed.

A combination of several protest marches; thousands of letters and emails sent to MPs and Ministers; letters-to-the-editors of newspapers; and ongoing public concerns have given John Key and his National cronies one, giant, non-stop, collective headache.

On a practical level, Dear Leader seemed to be prepared to “weather the storm of public anger”, and hunkered down to wait out the first asset sale. Their thinking is that once the first power company – Mighty River Power – is part-privatised, that the public clamour would die away, and subsequent asset sales would attract less and less protest.

However, the people of this country had one last card to play; the Treaty of Waitangi. Long ignored by pakeha; the favourite rant of  demented callers on talkback radio; and the dog-whistle-of-choice by right wing politicians looking to garner a few thousand extra votes, there’s nothing quite like mentioning “Maori” and “Treaty” to whip up a bit of racist hysteria. It’s practically a basic Law of the Perverse-Universe; “Maori” + “Treaty” =  Kneejerk Racist Response.

When the Maori Council announced on 9 July that the part-sale of SOEs would result in Maori lodging an application to the Waitangi Tribunal, the response was as followed;

1. The Thinking Man & Woman

Absolute delight and a sigh of relief.  Critics of privatisation finally had a powerful means by which National’s agenda might be stalled – perhaps even halted dead in it’s tracks.

For the first time, the Treaty of Waitangi would be a document protecting the rights of pakeha, as well as tangata whenua. This was something never foreseen by anyone – but when you think about it, has a perfect logic and symmetry to it.

2. The Unthinking Man & Woman

“Maori” + “Treaty” = Kneejerk Racist Response.

See:  It’s official: racists aren’t very bright

This blogger has tried to get into the minds of reactionary racists, to try to understand how their mental processes work. Without much success, unfortunately.  The closest I can come to, to understand the mind of a redneck is that they are extremely fearful. But of what, precisely, who knows. Perhaps they whisper to  each other that Maori are coming to steal their houses through the next Treaty claim, and put us all on boats back to Mother England? (Or Eastern Europe, for this  blogger.)

Unfortunately, the Unthinking Man & Woman appears to be incapable of understanding that the Maori Council’s tactics are for all our benefits; to slow down or halt the part-sales process.  Their minds are caught in some weird “neuron-loop” where all they can think of is Maori-Treaty-Maori-Treaty-Maori-Treaty-Maori-Treaty-Maori-Treaty-Maori-Treaty-Maori-Treaty-Maori-Treaty… ad infinitum.

Even one person who took the effort to post comments on a previous blogpost  did not seem to understand. (See Mary’s comments here;   It’s official: racists aren’t very bright )

And see more comments here, on Fairfax’s website:   Harawira criticises Key over Maori water claim

No wonder Key is being stubborn on this issue; he is hoping to tap into a rich vein of racial prejudice, and to  boost his Party’s standing in the next political poll. Such a rise would be temporary, as happened when Don Brash gave his infamous “Orewa Speech” in January 2004.

3. John Key

John Key has been rattled by recent events. He may choose to dismiss public opinion polls; street marches; and other expressions of public discontent – but he cannot so easily dismiss a legal challenge.

Whilst Waitangi Tribunal decisions are not binding on governments – High Court rulings most certainly are. Even governments must obey laws and Court decisions,  irrespective of how ‘irksome’ such legal decisions may be.

To re-cap;

9 July:  Waitangi Tribunal hearing begins in Lower Hutt, after the Maori Council lodges an urgent  claim testing the rights of Maori over water.

John Key states, “The Government’s very firm view is that no-one owns water: we certainly don’t believe Maori own water; we don’t believe they own the airways, air or sea.

10 July:   On TVNZ’s “Breakfast“, John Key says, “We could choose to ignore what findings they might have – I’m not saying we would, but we could.”

10 July:   On TV3’s “Firstline“, Key says, “In the same way we don’t think anyone owns the sea and we don’t think anyone owns air.”

Unfortunately for Dear Leader, he may be engaging in a spot of wishful thinking, according to this comment made three days later;

13 July:  TV3: Crown lawyer, Paul Radich admits, “It’s accepted that Maori do have rights and interests in water.”

16 July:  “It was very matter of fact, I basically just said the Tribunal’s not binding on any government. ‘I actually said exactly the same words in front of the Treaty meeting house on Waitangi Day.”

16 July:  John Key states,  “You can’t rule that out.  It’s a matter that could be subject to court action. We certainly hope it’s not delayed. I think we should work on the principle that there is a high probability that we will be going to court. ”

Gotcha!!!

Despite all of Key’s bluster and highly provocative remarks – many offensive – he has publicly admitted for the first time,  that where public opinion and protest failed – Maori may succeed in halting National’s privatisation programme.

For the first time since 26 November 2011, there is now a distinct possibility that the privatisation agenda may be thwarted. It is a slim hope, but barring a sudden snap election, that is all we have to go on.

17 July:  Key stated, “Why wasn’t it tested in 1999 when Contact was sold. In my view it’s opportunistic.”

This was backed up by his Deputy PM, Bill English,  “The Maori Council doesn’t have any interest in any river, lake, spring or creek.  The Iwi Leadership Group and individual iwis are working constructively with the Crown.  They don’t represent any particular interest.”

Key and English seem to be going all-out to play hard-ball. Something has them ‘spooked’, and this blogger understands why, with  comments made by Dear Leader yesterday: this is heading to Court.

And still, the inflammatory rhetoric kept coming;

17 July:  John Key says,  “The Crown’s long held view is that it’s irrelevant whether there is a change of ownership structure in Mighty River Power, it has no bearing to any rights or interests in water that Mighty River Power currently has long term water rights for… There’s a chance a meteorite will hit the Earth this afternoon, but I don’t think it’s likely.”

Key seems to think that if he repeats this mantra over and over again, that Maori will “fall in line” and make it happen his way.  Dear Leader is dreaming in LaLaLand.  Maori are tough operators and have learned to use the Pakeha system to their advantage, to address Treaty breaches.

Only, this time, it will be to the entire nation’s advantage, if the Maori Council succeed. We may yet stop National from thieving our state assets.

Last point: As TV3 News reported today (17 July); up to 84,000 meteorites hit Earth each year. So Dear Leader John Key may yet be in for a surprise.

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A lesson well learned in Capitalism 101

11 July 2012 3 comments

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As Joshua Hitchcock posted Twitter a couple of nights ago,

“The Hypocrisy of the Political Right: We believe in property rights, except when they are claimed by indigenous people. We despise collectivism, except when it comes to beaches and waterways which everyone owns”

(Acknowledgement: Maui Street blog)

It seems to have escaped most folk that Maori are making a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal for water ownership rights as a final, last ditch effort to thwart National’s thieving policy of partial asset sales. To date, all other legal, non-violent means of resisting asset sales has fallen on deaf ears.

After two embarressing back downs (mining in conservation lands and Hekia Parata’s attempt to slash teacher numbers), National cannot afford another crushing retreat on any significant policy. It would be the electoral death-knell for the National Party, and would render John Key a political eunuch.

So the Nats have hunkered down. This is going to be messy ‘trench warfare’, and they were counting on the passage of time  to defeat the anti-privatisation movement.

Enter the Maori Council, stage left.

And perhaps the only means left to ordinary citizens; the Treaty of Waitangi. This time, despite the blind ignorance of mouth-frothing racists, employment of the  Treaty will ultimately be to the benefit of  Pakeha, as well as Maori.

John Key may well be legally correct when he says that no government is bound by the Waitangi Tribunal – though somewhat inappropriate and inflammatory.

But not so correct if the Maori Council takes the next step and sues the Government through the Courts. Now we’re playing hard ball, and no Government can ignore a Court decision. (Not unless the Westminster system is being replaced by a model more closely resembling North Korea.)

This is where  rabid racists in our community have been screaming  hysterically. (See: It’s official: racists aren’t very bright  ) Try to explain to these  neuron-challenged  rednecks that the Maori Council are trying to save our own assets from falling into the hands of investors from Berlin, Beijing, or Boston, and their mouth-frothing hysteria increases in intensity. These are not people that one can reason with.

Yet there is a delightful irony at work here…

  1. Maori are claiming ownership rights over water. The concept of private property and ownership rights is a concept that we Pakeha introduced into Aotearoa, upon colonisation. Up till then everything had been communally owned by the Iwi.
  2. John Key says  “no one can own water”. Yet, the government and local body councils think nothing of  charging for metered water in some regions and urban areas. Government sells radio frequencies to the highest bidders. Government sells mining and drilling rights to corporations. Government sells fishing quota – with the implication that Government owns ALL the fish in New Zealand’s territorial waters. And of course, we each (generally) own the land that our houses, businesses, factories, and farms rest on.  Maori have simply taken this concept to the next logical conclusion; Capitalism at work.
  3. Maori are employing the judicial system and testing the law through the Courts – another Pakeha construct which Maori have learned very well to use.

Those racists who think that “no one can own the water” might pause to consider that the concept of private ownership did not originate with Maori.

We Pakeha brought it to this country.

Private ownership and the judicial system were alien concepts,  introduced by colonisers, who made good use of property laws, Courts, and armed State enforcement  to suit themselves.

Maori have learned the lessons  of the coloniser. They have passed all tests when it comes to “Capitalism 101”.  The Pakeha system is one that suits Maori very well when it comes to addressing grievances of past land confiscations and other crimes committed against them.

However, on this occassion, Maori are using the Waitangi Tribunal and the Courts – not for their own purposes – but for the common good of the country. They may be the ones to save our multi-billion dollar assets from being flogged off by ex-money trader, John Key, and his crony-capitalist mates.

Racists may not appreciate this – but they should be bloody thankful for what Maori are doing.

Nothing else has worked thus far.

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Additional

Waitangi Tribunal to hear asset sales arguments

Bad time for PM to shoot from the lip

Other blogposts

Tumeke:  John Key spits on the Treaty and Maori Party sell Maoridom down the river (literally)

Maui Street:  Maori Party takes it to National

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February 15 – Protest at TPK! (Part Rua)

16 February 2012 2 comments

Continued from February 15 – Protest at TPK! (Part Tahi).

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Long time socialist and Alliance stalwart, Larry Hannah, made a firm point about the folly of selling public assets,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The media finally arrived and started filming,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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Occupy Wellington unfurled their banner,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

About two dozen protestors crowded around the front of TPK’s entrance,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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Below; Roimata (L) and Joyce (R) had joined the protest for their own reasons,

“I’m just concerned for my mokopuna”, said Roimata.

“I’m here for the important issues that affect maoridom,” added Joyce.

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Benjamin, at the doors to TPK,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Dr Peter Love, from the Tenths Trust, and Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, made his way to TPK,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

By 3pm, there were about 26 protesters and three police. By 3.05, two more Police arrived,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The newly arrived policeman had a quiet chat with Benjamin, for a few minutes,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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Ian, from the Workers Party, addressed passers-by, and on-lookers. He started out by explaining that “we are here today, against asset sales.” He added, “we want to see these assets run for public benefit, not private profit.”

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The media filmed Ian on the loudhailer, as he continued to make his case against asset sales, and honouring Treaty committments,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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John then took the loudhailer,   and said,

This is not consultation, this is bullshit. We cannot afford to give away our country to foreign corporations! Instead of sitting on our arses, let’s show [them] this country is not for sale!”

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Across the intersection, two more police officers were watching events,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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They seemed bemused by the protest – unlike their colleagues who were moving freely amongst the protestors, and chatting amicably.

By 3.13pm, the number of Maori Wardens increased to eight; police numbers went up to five; and at least one Diplomatic Protection Squad plainclothesman was present,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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The body language of the police (above) seemed in  stark contrast to the laid back, quiet nature of the protesters,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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Warwick gave his views on state asset sales – none complimentary to the government,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

TPK Regional Leader, Te Huia (Bill) Hamilton, stopped for a friendly Kiaora and  brief chat with this blogger, before proceeding on his way,

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At 3.30, Hone Harawira arrived, and was well-recieved by people present,

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https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/rise-of-the-terminator-keybot/

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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A chat with a journo,

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Hone was given the loudspeaker and he gave a brief address to the crowd,

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Hone spoke well, addressing the issue of state asset sales, and the relevance of the Treaty.

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Hone’s speech*,

Tena koe! Talofa lava!

That’s exactly what they expect to happen with these shares, and it is our duty; it is our obligation as citizens of Aotearoa, whether we are Maori or whatever, to do our best to stop this government from pushing this door open.  Because once open, these assets will be sold on the open market and our shareholdings, so-called 51%, is simply going to be a majority shareholding in a company whose primary interest is generating profit.

Nothing at all to do with the public good, only the generating of profit.  And any investor – doesn’t matter what sort of investor they are – they don’t put money into these sort of exercises because they love you and I. They put money in because they expect to get a lot of money back. And they get they money back in two ways; cutting costs, as they sack staff – or what are we doing outside Te Puni Kokiri?

The other way they do it is by raising prices! Now who’s going to pay for those higher prices in electricity? Ordinary New Zealand citizens! And who’s going to bear  the most price? The poor ones! Poor pakeha, poor pacifica, poor everybody else, poor maori. So we have an obligation to ensure that those assets are retained in the hands of the New Zealand government as trustee on behalf of the nation as a whole.

I’d like to thank the Courts for their decision today, to say to the government to put a stop to the sal of the Crafar farms. Not necessarily because they were being sold to the Chinese, but because they are New Zealand land being sold out of the hands of New Zealand citizens.

The more and more people we can bring to support this kaupapa, the greater will be our own sense of our sovereignty  and our ability to change the world. Life is not about sitting around and letting other people do to us what we wouldn’t allow to be done to anybody else. We have an obligation to our children, and our grandchildren,  to take up this stand today, here in Wellington  and thanks to [traffic noise] all of us, all around the country who’ve attended the Hui so far, and from what I understand an 88% rejection of the government’s plans to sell of these state assets.

Well, if there’s 88%, there must be a pretty low percentage in some of the other Huis because the three  Huis I attended was  a hundred percent opposition! One hundred percent!

Maori see the Treaty as a way of stopping these assets being sold on the open market until their Treaty claims are properly settled. New Zealanders should support Maori in these efforts because the Treaty exists  in this particular instance to benefit all New Zealanders…

… Tena koutou, tena koutou.”

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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At about 3.40, Hone entered Te Puni Kokiri’s building and Seann advised the group that all  protesters were invited to accompany him. It was agreed that all banners, placards, and loud-hailers would be left at the doorway-entrance. People were asked to behave in a respectful manner.

Maori wardens would watch over their gear, while they attended the Hui.

Mana Party member and protest organisor, Seann had said earlier  that a more radical approach to attending the Hui would be to ask polite, but firm,  questions of the politician present – and insist on straight answers. He believed it would be more productive using this approach, than yelling at English and Ryall.

One of the police constables who had stood by TPK’s door said later to this blogger that he was satisfied with the way the protestors had conducted themselves. He said, “everyone has the right to protest peacefully, and I wouldn’t want to see us become like other countries where protest was forbidden“.

His relaxed demeanour indicated that he was sincere in his views.

All in all, this was a peaceful and relaxed (not a “John Key relaxed”) protest.

Note: this Blogger did not attend the Hui because of another prior engagement. Additional commentary from attendees will be welcomed.

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***

Media reporting

  • TV1 News: nil
  • TV3 News: nil
  • Radio NZ: nil
  • Dominion Post: nil


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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  1. Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  2. Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Russell School Breakfast Club is requested.
  3. For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  4. Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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* Recorded and transcribed mostly verbatim.

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February 15 – Protest at TPK! (Part Tahi)

16 February 2012 3 comments

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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At around 2pm, 15 February, members of the Mana Party, Labour, Alliance, Occupy Movement, and other groupings and individuals assembled outside Te Puni Kokiri, on the corner of Lambton Quay and Stout Street.

The protest was organised primarily by the Newtown Branch of the Mana Party, to coincide with a hui at the TPK offices.

The Hui was one of a series throughout the country called by the government;   facilitated by Wiri Gardner; and attended by  Ministers Bill English and Tony Ryall. English and Ryall  were expected to attend to listen to peoples’ concerns about Treaty implications regarding state asset (partial-)sales, and Section 9 of the SOE Act 1986.

John Key has suggested that Section 9 – which states simply, “Nothing in this Act shall permit the Crown to act in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles of the  – might be deleted from the SOE Act 1986. Many view such a move as a retrograde step, setting Crown-Maori relations back by decades.

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Above; Darren Kemp (L) from the Mana Party; Cedric, (center) and  Jonathan Elliot (R). Darren and Jonathan were the first to arrive and take up placards opposing the sale of state assets.

Below, John (L) and Warwick (R), arived soon after. Warwick is a long-time supporter of the Alliance Party,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Jonathan (L) and Ian (center) from the Workers Party, handing out leaflets to passers-by,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

More people soon arrived to join the protest,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Donna was one who joined the protest. She said that “only a couple of people had been rude” to her as she handed out leaflets.  Donna was more concerned at “the apathy I find distressing. At least they should care for their children‘s future“,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Seann (holding sign), said that there should be more focus on Peter Dunne’s role in asset sales. He said that whilst it “might be a long shot“, Dunne was vulnerable because of his slim majority in Ohariu,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Ariana, from the Newtown Branch of Mana Party. Ariana said that Hone Harawira would be arriving at the Hui and would present a submission on Treaty issues surrounding state asset sales.

Ariana said that asset sales “makes this country  vulnerable to overseas corporatisation” and added that “selling our children’s assets was shameful “,

She questioned the  outcome of the Hui, “what will they do with the final consultation report?” Ariana did not seem confident that much notice would be taken of peoples’ concerns.

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

More people arrived, and took up placards – including some other familiar faces from the Alliance,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Seann, Donna (center), and Freda,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Buses and cars honked their support every few minutes. We noticed bus drivers especially seemed very supportive of the protest, judging by their horn-honking as they went past,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The protest group was low-key, which perhaps explained only two police office and six Maori Wardens stationed nearby. Protestors, Wardens, TPK staff, and Police mingled and chatted amicably.

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The signs said it all, and elicited support from drivers in their cars, and their drove past. Even if pedestrians did not stop and take a leaflet, I suspect that the protestor’s message of higher power prices would not be lost on them.

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Bronwyn, a Labour Party member, chatting with Cedric (from TPK?),

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Mike, from the Alliance Party,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Bronwyn, with a very pertinent message to the government: does a one seat majority give them a mandate to pursue unpopular policies? Especially if this government is only one by-election away from faling.

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Darren (L), Mike, and Len Arthur (R).

Len was visiting family, from  Cardiff, Wales. He is a supporter of Occupy Cardiff; a member of the UK Labour Party; and decided to join the protest after hearing about it from Socialist Aotearoa,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

The message is simple and to the point; No asset sales and  privatisation will inevitably lead to higher power prices,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Benjamin, who describes himself as a “political busker”, held the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

Warwick, Larry (background), ?, and Darren,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi.

During the first 30 to 45 minutes,  the laid-back situation still required the presence of only two constables. A couple of Occupy Wellington supporters had arrived, to join the protest,

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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fmacskasy - te Puni Kokiri protest - Mana Party - Section 9 SOE Act - Treaty of Waitangi

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As the protest rally got larger, the msm arrived – as did more Police.   Word also got around that Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira would be arriving shortly…

To be continued Part Rua (so as not to overload this page with too many images).

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Why are Maori so upset about removing Section 9 of the SOE Act?

6 February 2012 2 comments

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Why indeed?

What is so contentious about Section 9 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986, that has enraged Maori so greatly; jeopardised the Maori Party-National Coalition agreement; and threatened to spawn countless Court cases?

What sparked all this,

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And what is this “Section 9” that John Key wants removed from the SOE Act, after Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy, Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand are part-privatised?

This is Section 9,

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 Treaty of Waitangi
  • Nothing in this Act shall permit the Crown to act in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

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Yup. That’s it. That’s the grand total of what the government wants removed, and which has provoked – quite justifiably, in my view – considerable anger in the community.

I wonder if John Key now regrets his government’s stated intention to  remove those 24 words from the SOE Act? Has it been worth the anger that has erupted in the community?

Well, Mr Key? Has it?

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Post mortem #4: Maori Party, National, and the Treaty

30 November 2011 2 comments

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Full Story

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Current National and Maori Party coalition negotiations raise two interesting issues. One is fairly self-evident. The other is something I’ve just noticed in the above image of Pita Sharples anf John Key…

Issue one

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Mr Key said there was no reason why partial asset sales would need to be treated as a matter of confidence and supply.” Source

The sale of state assets is usually a budgetary matter. As I’ve written previously, past asset sales were generally included as part of bugetary legislation and passed by the government-of-the-day using it’s majority in the House.

The Opposition – whether one party as under FPP, or several parties under MMP – would automatically vote against the government’s budget. If the budget passed, the government had Supply (money to pay for ongoing state activities, such as paying salaries; building infra-structure; making purchases; paying for borrowings; etc).

If the budget was voted down – the government fell.

At present, John Key’s coalition-government consists of 62 seats out of 121 (there is an “over-hang of one seat),

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Those 62 seats comprise,

National: 60

John Banks/ACT: 1

Peter Dunne/United Future: 1

Total: 62

62 out of 121 is a majority – just barely. Lose one seat – in a by-election or a defection – and the majority is cut down to one. Lose two seats, and Key’s majority is lost, and becomes a minority government.

No wonder John Key spat the dummy a couple of days ago and called MMP a “weird system”.

Which is why the Maori Party’s the seats becomes vital to the longer-term survival of this new, National-led coalition government. Last term there were four by-elections. There is no guarantee that there won’t be one or two or more this time around.

Key needs the Maori Party as political “insurance”.

The only way that the Maori Party can be placated regarding asset sales is that the issue is removed from the main body of the upcoming Budget, and presented to the House as separate legislation. The Maori Party may then vote with the National-led coalition to ensure Supply, and the business of government carries on.

When the issue of asset sales is presented to the House as separate legislation, the Maori Party will no doubt vote with the Opposition, as Sharples and Turia promised their constituents during the election campaign, and try to vote down the Bill.

No doubt the Bill will proceed through the House, as John Key utilises his two seat majority early on, to guarantee it’s passage.

Once the Bill is enacted and becomes law, the asset sale can proceed unhindered.

At the same time, the National-ACT-Dunne-Maori Party coalition is embedded. There is face-saving all around.

Issue two

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When I looked at the image above, of John Key and Pita Sharples meeting and greeting each other as equals, the scene reminded me of a photo taken in the early 1970s, of then-Prime Minister, Norman Kirk. I found the image using trusty Google.

Let’s compare the two,

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Norman Kirk Moana Priest John Key Pita Sharples

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My, how we’ve matured as a society since the early 1970s.

The symbolism of those two images shows – to me – how the New Zealand social and political meme has been re-defined  in only 40 years.

When Norman Kirk led the young Maori boy across the grounds of Waitangi, the image was one of the Pakeha culture as the dominanant patron of this country, leading the “maori child” walking together, hand in hand. It was the archetypal British Colonial “father-figure”, taking in-hand the “childlike” indigenous people.

In the right hand image, the Maori male is an adult Pita Sharples, meeting John Key on a level playing-field. They are meeting as true Treaty partners.

Despite what one may think of National; their policies; and the Maori Party supporting this government – I find something positive in the right-hand image. I think it bodes well for our future and demonstrates that pakeha fears over the Treaty is without foundation.

We’ve come a long way. The journey is yet to end, if ever.

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Additional

Chris Ford: Has the Maori Party finally cooked its goose?

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