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Parliamentary matters 02 February 2018 (Edition 2/2018)

Parliament resumed for the calendar year this week.  Some items of note were:

  • On Wednesday the Child Poverty Reduction Bill was introduced to Parliament (see article above.)
  • On Tuesday the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill was read a first time and referred to the Health Committee. This is a Labour Party bill that proposes amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act, allowing terminally ill people to use cannabis-based products, and to legalize and regulate medical cannabidiol (CBD) products.  A supplementary Green Party Bill introduced on Wednesday that sought to allow people suffering from a debilitating condition to use cannabis if supported by a registered medical practitioner failed at its first reading, and will not be considered further.  (I.e. the Labour Party bill is centered on developing and regulating cannabis-based medicine, the Green Party bill had been centered on allowing usage of cannabis (quality and quantity unknown) by anyone with a medical certificate.   We have included the issue here given the Māori population has a high cannabis usage rate.  (The New Zealand Health Survey indicates up to 25% of Māori adults used cannabis at least once within a twelve month period.)
  • On Tuesday the Employment Relations Amendment Bill was introduced.  According to the Government the purpose of the bill is to “restore key minimum standards and protections for employees, and to implement a suite of changes to promote and strengthen collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace.”  Pānui edition 1/2018 advised many of the changes proposed will support low income workers, and Māori are over-represented in that area.  e. one-in-five Māori (circa 50,000) are in ‘low skilled occupations’, such as labourers.
  • On Tuesday the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill was read a first time and referred to the Justice Committee. This bill aims to prevent a person from remaining in Parliament if they leave the Party in which they stood for.  We note National’s Māori Development spokesperson Nuk Korako, has advised he considers this ‘waka jumping bill’ to be bad for Māori representation, and Māori MPs have a duty not just to their party, but also to act in the best interests of Māori, and this bill could prevent that.

Te Reo Māori Policy Discussions

Last year a round of debates started on the value and place of the Māori language in New Zealand, particularly after the widespread use by mainstream media of Māori language words and phrases during Māori language week in September. (For example the weather map on Television One was shown with Māori place names).  The debate reached a low point in early December, with Don Brash stating that Te Reo had no place in mainstream media, and was of no interest to most people, and Māori should essentially go away and speak Te Reo on their own.  Following on from that, this month Professor Paul Moon from Auckland University of Technology released a book that is said to claim, amongst other things, that compulsory Māori language in schools will negatively affect the language: and then the Leader of the Opposition, Bill English, was reported as saying “you can’t rely on a Government and a bureaucracy to save someone else’s language”.   For each of these items a peer rebuke has been issued: Kim Hill taking on Don Brash, Professor Pou Temara and also Hēmi Kelly taking on Professor Moon, and former Māori Party candidate Rāhui Papa taking on Bill English.

Accordingly, later this month we will provide an extended and specific briefing on the nature of these types of Māori language debates, and on the actual health of the Māori language.  First, however, our assessment of these three individual (white males) comments is as follows.

  • Don Brash is now the leader of ‘Hobson’s Choice’ – a lobby group that believes Māori are being given unwarranted group rights in New Zealand, and that should be stopped. In our view Mr Brash’s comments on Te Reo present as ideologically inconsistent with his core political views – i.e. his focus solely on acknowledging individual rights should mean people can speak Māori wherever and whenever they please, as their individual right should not be suppressed by the group demands of others (i.e. the people like him who ‘don’t want to hear’ Te Reo).  Given Mr Brash is highly articulate and well educated he is most likely to be aware of this inconsistency.  Accordingly, perhaps he has tapped into the Te Reo debate primarily as a means to extend his audience and promote his lobbying entity and its causes; which at present is focused on seeking to have any local government decisions to have a Māori ward overturned.  (They are campaigning in Whakatāne presently.)  The 2 December Radio NZ debate between Mr Brash and Ms Hill however is a firey exchange worth listening to (in part at least) particularly given its polite yet impolite format.
  • Professor Moon is a professor of history and not an academic in areas such as linguistics, socio-linguistics, or language revitalisation theory. Nor is he proficient in Te Reo, so his (lack of) creditability to publish in this area is noteworthy.  His newly released book is called Killing Te Reo Māori: An Indigenous Language Facing Extinction, and has now been reviewed by Hēmi Kelly, a Te Reo educator at the same university.[1]  Mr Kelly essentially finds Professor Moon’s work to inflate the negatives in language learning and revitalisation, ignoring the positives, and fundamentally wrong in its conclusions around Te Reo being more at risk than previously.  In our view  Professor Moon’s press release extracts used to promote this work are strongly worded negative statements, without academic research in support, and thus present as designed solely to attract attention and facilitate book sales.  We would recommend people read both the blurb and the review by Mr Kelly before purchasing this item.  Mr Kelly’s comments are freely available here:

https://thespinoff.co.nz/atea/25-01-2018/a-te-reo-Māori-teacher-reads-killing-te-reo-by-paul-moon/

  • Whilst we opine that Mr Brash and Professor Moon are, at least to a degree, deliberately seeking media sensationalism around Te Reo for their own personal causes, Mr English’s comments appear to be of a different ilk. What he actually said was more comprehensive than people may have grasped, namely:

the Government has some obligations through the Treaty. It’s met them in my view. We’ve spent a lot of money on TV, on resources for schools and so on. Probably a bit more can be done with resources for schools and teachers, but in the end it needs people who want to speak it … the owners of it need to speak it and that is people in their households. You can’t rely on a Government and a bureaucracy to save someone else’s language”.

  • In this statement, we consider Mr English has got it right in stating that Government is doing the type of activities it should to support the Māori language – although he missed out that many services (such as Māori radio and television) arose out of obligation, not care, and often developed off the back of litigation and protest by Māori. He has also downplayed the quality (or not) of service implementation by Government.  Is it possible some services are weak, e.g. is there sufficient Māori language teacher training available?  These are shortcomings, but his basic message that the Government is undertaking a reasonable range of action to support Te Reo Māori is correct, as is his thinking that Māori people speaking more Te Reo is essential too.  But where Mr English erred gravely was with the three word phrase “someone else’s language” – as if Māori are not part of real New Zealand society, or included in Government processes.  That was a mistake, but we suspect simply ‘poor English by English’ (sic) rather than a political statement against the Māori language, as it has subsequently been portrayed.

Overall we note this type of dialogue is occurring on a regular basis in the mainstream media now, and it gives rise to some obvious policy questions, such as: (a) what is the actual health of the Māori language – is it okay or not; and (b) are the right interventions to enhance Te Reo in place, and do they work?  As advised, we are undertaking a detailed assessment on these matters which will be provided later this month.

[Subscribers should also note we consider there is an ongoing confusion around Māori language words and phrases within English – i.e. should all schools teach some Te Reo to ensure improved pronunciation and better Māori cultural knowledge, versus increasing the use of Te Reo as the primary means of communication within Māori whānau households and communities.  This means media commentators are quite often talking about two quite different concepts within this debate, which adds some confusion.] 

[1] Subscribers will note we only review material freely available in the public domain so that sources can be reviewed directly.

Low Pay Research Released 02 February 2018 (Edition 2/2018)

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has published research it has commissioned on low pay. The research was undertaken by Auckland University of Technology, and is entitled, ‘Low Pay in New Zealand’.  The findings are derived from tax data MBIE accessed from Inland Revenue for 2015, so a much better source than other surveys.  The researchers use two definitions of low pay:

the ‘OECD method’ of anyone who earns less than two-thirds of the median wage (in 2015 the median wage was circa $23.50 per hour  so anyone who earns circa $15.65 per hour or less);

anyone who earns less than 120% of the minimum wage.  In 2015 the minimum wage was $14.75 per hour, so anyone who was earning less than $17.70 per hour at that time is included in this research definition.  (The minimum wage is now $16.75 per hour so it currently refers to people earning less than $20.10 per hour.)

Māori, Pacific and Asian workers are identified as groups with high proportions of low income earners (i.e. ‘being non-European’). Other linkages were shown with ‘being female’, working part-time, aged 20-29 years or over 65, and low education attainment.  As shown in the table below, the report indicates (in 2015) 31% of Māori earned less than 120% of the minimum wage.  We calculate that to be circa 84,000 tangata Māori.  Below is a table we constructed from data in the report, matched with Statistics New Zealand employment data.

Low Pay 2015 – Proportion of Employed
  All employed Māori* European NZ*
OCED low pay measure 11.1%  (206,300) 14% (37,900) 9% (158,100)
120% Min Wage low pay measure 24.9%  (463,000) 31% (83,800)

 

22% (386,600)
*Percentages herein are from a graph within the research report.  Numeric estimates are from Household Labour Force Survey September 2015 data. The Labour Force Survey counts people who were unemployed. I.e. 270,400 Māori and 1,757,200 European NZers.  The sources mean there will be small sample size differences.

Overall we advise this is a technical report, and the findings above perhaps says it all – one in three Māori are likely to be on low wages, compared with one in four non-Māori. We have no issues with the methodology, and the report is a useful contribution to employment and minimum wage policy debates currently occurring between political parties.
http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/employment-skills/labour-market-reports/low-pay-in-new-zealand/?searchterm=low%20pay%2A

Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care 02 February 2018 (Edition 2/2018)

Yesterday the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, formally announced that there would be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into historic abuse in State care. This commitment had been part of her (Labour) party’s election manifesto commitments, so the announcement puts that into place.

The Royal Commission will be led by Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand – a former Governor-General. Draft terms of reference have been agreed by Cabinet, but these will only be finalised after consultation.  The draft is not yet released, but the Department of Internal Affairs indicates the inquiry will consider “the nature and extent of abuse that occurred in state care, what its immediate and long term impacts were, the factors (including systemic factors) which may have caused or contributed to it, and lessons to be learned from the past.”  The inquiry will also consider current settings to prevent and respond to any such abuse.  Further, a key focus of the Inquiry is to understand any differential impacts of abuse in state care for Māori and other groups where differential impact is evident…”  This will include considering factors leading to someone being placed in State care.

In our assessment, given the United Nations had already asked New Zealand to investigate these matters, and given the Ministry of Social Development has already settled over 1,600 proven individual claims in this area – and has at least another 1,000 in process, there is no doubt that such an inquiry is warranted. The last (National) Government’s refusal to resolve this matter simply presented as a home goal in the lead up to the election.  We note from the extract above, as with other inquiries being launched, the Government is conscious that the experience for Māori in this area may be different from that for others.  This is useful, given Māori comprise over half of young people in State care; (i.e. circa 3,100 tamariki/rangatahi Māori are in State care, and a further 360 tamariki/rangatahi Māori are in State youth residences.)

Other members of the Commission have yet to be named, but we would expect at least one or two people with a strong understanding of Māori and State care issues to be appointed, and we will advise further as the matter progresses. Many subscribing organisations may wish to consider making submissions to this Inquiry.

Child Poverty Reduction Policy 02 February 2018 (Edition 2/2018)

This week the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction / Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, introduced the Child Poverty Reduction Bill to Parliament. This policy area is of major significance to Māori, as our research to date indicates up to 33% of Māori children – circa 130,000 tamariki Māori live in poorer households / poverty.  (See technical note below.)

The Bill is centred on ensuring that the present and future Governments maintain appropriate measures of levels of child poverty, and set targets to reduce such poverty. (I.e. it is about regulatory direction to Government, not establishing programmes or services.)   If the Bill is passed into law it will establish four primary and six supplementary measures of poverty and material hardship (noting that the previous Government had rejected expert advice calling on the use of such measures.)  Future Governments will then be required to set both ten year and three year targets against these measures, and publish their results.  Further, Governments will also be required to report on their strategies to promote overall wellbeing of children.

  • Following the introduction of the Bill, the following day in her 100 days speech Prime Minister Ardern indicated that some of her Government’s ten year targets would be:
  • Reduce the rate of children living in poverty (before housing costs are considered) from 15% to 5%;
  • Halve the percentage of children living in poverty (after housing costs are considered) from 20% to 10%;
  • Halve the percentage of children living in material hardship from up to 15% now to 7%.

Our initial assessment is that a focus on reducing child poverty – using any measure – will be good for Māori whānau, given circa one-third live in poverty/hardship. However, we advise that this disproportionally high percentage of Māori children in these circumstances is directly correlated with the high proportion (and number) of Māori sole parents who are welfare reliant.  This means tax-credits and greater support for working families etc. will be insufficient to dramatically change Māori child poverty levels (as it is disassociation with the workforce that is a central issue).  Accordingly, how the Government’s Families Package may impact on these children – in welfare reliant households – will be key for many Māori whānau.  The Treasury is currently reforecasting these projections, and we will advise further once that work is completed.

 Tamariki Māori – Our Poverty Estimate

Technical Note: in the debates around child poverty measures, different groups use different measures – which is partially why the Government is resolving this with the introduction of multiple measures in its Bill.  For example, prior to the last election the National Party used a count of children living in households that receive less than 50% of the median amount of household disposable income, before housing costs (rent/bank loans, etc.) were considered.  However, the Labour Party used a count with two variables changed – firstly those children in households with less than 60% of the median amount of household disposable income, and second, after housing costs (rents, etc.) are accounted for. 

In previous Pānui we have considered and advised on the various child poverty measures, and have used the mid-range figure presented in Government research, namely;

those children in households with less than 50% of the medium household income, after housing costs have been deducted. 

This presents as suitable in the New Zealand context given housing pressures, and is effectively the middle ground between the views of the two political parties.  It is also the method that appears most prominent in Ministry of Social Development research on this topic.  Using this method we advise that there are 230,000 children living in poorer households, and we estimate 130,000 are tamariki Māori, based on household ethnic group data.  Pānui 33/2016 provides details.

We advise The Treasury is now recalculating how many children will be ‘lifted out of poverty’/impacted on using all measures, once the Government’s Family Package is in place.  This is because they got this calculation wrong last year in the lead up to the election, by failing to properly account for the Accommodation Supplement that some families receive.  Once their recalculations are done we expect to be able to provide advice on possible numbers of Māori tamariki impacted on by the incoming policy change.

 

State of the Nation and 100 Days Speeches 02 February 2018 (Edition 2/2018)

On Wednesday the Leader of the Opposition, Bill English gave his ‘State of the Nation’ speech, which was followed later by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s ‘100 Day Progress’ speech; i.e. the two key opening political speeches for the year.

Overall Mr English’s speech reads as a lamentation – highlighting what he considered where all the good things his party had achieved, and bemoaning that the Labour-led Government might now risk it all, particularly in the areas of employment relations and economic growth. In that respect it was a classic right wing speech about the risks of a left wing Government.  Nothing new there.

From a Māori policy perspective two points are salient. First, when Mr English talked of their past successes, he left off progressing Treaty settlements.  This is an area where his Government experienced outstanding success, leaving its opposition in shreds, in regards to how many Treaty claims they progressed and settled.  Chris Finlayson’s work in this area will be, in our view, the stuff of legend in the future – given he oversaw perhaps 50 plus settlements, and facilitated the package of settlements to extend above $2 billion, and gained cross-party support for this work.  However, we note Bill English consistently leaves this out of his speeches: it is as if the National Party is not particularly proud of this achievement, or does not think it appeals to its core supporters.

Our second observation is that Mr English only made one mention of Māori, and it was in a negative context, saying that without the proposed Te Ture Whenua Māori reforms, the New Zealand First policy of planting forests on Māori land is unlikely to succeed.  His linkage is not well made, and we note that for generations forests (including Government forests) have been planted on Māori land – i.e. the former reforms are not required for the tree planting scheme to proceed.  Overall if this is a ‘State of the Nation’ speech, then Māori are entirely invisible to this political party at this time.

The Prime Minister’s speech followed later in the day, and focused on explaining what they had sought to put in place within their first 100 days, and why, and also what they intend to pursue next. The key focus areas were employment policies, poverty reduction (discussed below), and setting new socio-economic targets to measure the wellbeing of New Zealand, beyond just GDP. In regards to Māori, Prime Minister Ardern, noted the need for politicians to speak openly on challenging social issues of inequalities, such as the high Māori imprisonment rate.  She also stated that,

“we are a nation that has duties and responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi that extends to, and beyond, the negotiating table.  We must be a Government  that builds not just relationships, but partnerships with iwi.”

We advise the Prime Minister made similar (but more articulate) comments last week on the importance of the Treaty of Waitangi, but that was to a largely Māori audience who would appreciate that – this week’s speech was aimed at a broader audience. In our assessment this signalling of approach is positive for Māori/iwi, and combined with having a strong Māori caucus it will be interesting to see what this transpires into.

Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership 26 January 2018 (Edition 1/2018)

This week the Government announced the successful conclusion of negotiations for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, formally known as the TTP). The Government has signalled its intent to sign the trade agreement, with ten other Pacific-rim nations in Chile on 8 March.  The big withdrawal of course, is the United States, but the big new market inclusion for New Zealand is Japan (the world’s third largest economy and where New Zealand has no current trade agreement.)

The Government’s view is that the new deal satisfies its five pre-conditions, which makes it different from the past National Government deal, namely; “(i) increased export markets, (ii) upholding the Treaty of Waitangi, (iii) protecting the Pharmac model, (iv) preserving the right to regulate in the public interest, and (v) narrowing the scope of investor State dispute settlements.” They also consider that changes to the Overseas Investment Act (amendments now before Parliament) will reaffirm that it is not a right for an overseas buyer to purchase a house in New Zealand – thereby protecting the property market from external inflation pressures.

We note that when the TPP was first announced there was significant Māori protest against it. Some of the protest was concern about what would happen with wages and employment levels – i.e. would more jobs disappear to countries with cheaper labour, and/or would the deal suppress New Zealand labour rates?  Other parts of the protest concerned Māori rangatiratanga under such a trade-deal.  However we note presently Māori voices on the matter are generally mute.[1]  We suspect that is because, with the new text not yet available, it is difficult to see if the proposal is actually substantially different from the past or not.  (I.e. there already was a Treaty protection clause in the last version, which the Waitangi Tribunal found was sufficient.)  Once the text is released we will review the matter further from a Māori policy perspective, but based on present information we cannot see how it might protects Māori workers any more than the previous TPP.

[1] Additionally we note the Green Party has indicated they will vote against this legislation.

Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry 26 January 2018 (Edition 1/2018)

This week the Prime Minister has released the terms of reference for the proposed Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry. The inquiry is broad in scope, setting out to hear the issues from a people’s perspective, and to make recommendations across all structures within the health and the broader public sector.  The inquiry will be chaired by Professor Ron Paterson, and there are two Māori on the panel of six (Sir Mason Durie and Dean Rangihuna).

This is a policy area of particular importance to Māori, as Māori are significantly over-represented in mental health service areas, and in suicide statistics. We note the terms of reference acknowledge this health inequality, and ask the panel to consider this matter, and to also work in ways appropriate to Māori, and in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi.  The panel will report back their findings to the Minister of Health by 31 October.  Subscribers working in this sector should see this as a renewed opportunity to influence how Government support in this area is funded and delivered.    The terms of reference are here:

https://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/Files/Government-Inquiry-into-Mental-Health-and-Addiction/$file/Inquiry-into-Mental-Health-and-Addiction-Terms-of-Reference.pdf

Te Ture Whenua Reforms – Defunct for No 26 January 2018 (Edition 1/2018)

Late last year the Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, withdrew the Te Ture Whenua Bill from the legislative agenda. It was very close to passing under the former Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell, being in the final stage of the Parliamentary Committee of the Whole House.  But the Labour Party had campaigned hard against the Bill, and has now indicated they will progress only more limited amendments to current Māori land law.

With former Minister Te Ururoa Flavell out of Parliament, it was left to Chris Finlayson, to accuse the Government of throwing away an opportunity to support Māori development. In return the Government accused National / the Māori Party of wasting circa $5 million on the exercise that had (in their view) specious gains for Māori.

This area of policy is detailed, so we will write more on Māori land reforms once the new Government clarifies what it will and won’t progress – in particular the proposed Māori Land Service. However the headline is that nothing is going to happen fast given the removal from the Parliamentary agenda.

Waitangi Day Preparations 26 January 2018 (Edition1/2018)

The next political race meet will be Waitangi Day. Again the Prime Minister has indicated strong pre-event form, by electing to stay in the area for five days – far longer than others before her, and noteworthy given former Prime Minister Mr English elected to attend ceremonies elsewhere last year.   The official pōwhiri has also been moved to the Upper Marae, to avoid the debacles that have occurred at Te Tīi Marae in recent years.  (Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau suggested that was not right, but his view was quickly dispatched by Titiwhai Harawira, who indicated that the Iwi Chairs Forum had walked right past Te Tii for their meetings, so there was no problem for State dignitaries to do the same.)   Also speaking arrangements for Prime Minister Arden have been clarified, as a pregnant woman, organisers have determined it is safe and appropriate for her to speak on the porch of the meeting house.  So all seems much more in order than in the last few years – and if alleged ‘financial irregularities’ within the Waitangi National Trust had not been reported to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) a couple of weeks ago by new Acting Chair, Dennis McBreaty – then we would’ve advised a positive forecast ahead.  However the potential SFO probe is a significant matter, and we will advise further once information on that is released.

Rātana Celebrations 26 January 2018 (Edition 1/2018)

On Wednesday, the Māori political year commenced with politicians of all stripes attending Rātana Pā celebrations as per usual, along with iwi and Māori dignitaries. The event is historically the celebration of the birth of the Māori prophet Tahupōtiki Wīremu Rātana, (1873-1939), although as we’ve advised previously the event has grown into a bit of a large political race meet over recent years.  From this political perspective we note:

  • the former Prime-Minister, Bill English – who performed very well last year in the dressage with a 3-minute speech in Te Reo Māori – was well out of favour this year, being publicly rebuked for his recent comments around Te Reo Māori being mainly for Māori to revive (which we will discuss in depth next month); and further in our view his negatively orientated message that the Labour Party is a controlled-obsessed herd breed which threatens Māori rangatiratanga just seemed to lack sufficient lustre and personal authenticity;
  • conversely Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a simple trot out, easily jumping fences to ensure it was clear that in her view the 1936 partnership between Tahupōtiki Rātana and Michael J Savage was continuous; acknowledging that Government needed to learn about manaakitanga from Māori, and extending policy words further to indicate that the Treaty partnership cannot be said to be achieved until inequalities between Māori and non-Māori are addressed. So a strong performance for this Māori audience, although to be fair given she is less than 100-days into a 1,000 day ride she has had no real impediments to deal with as yet.  This quote sets her agenda for Māori outcomes:[1]

“I’ll tell you it’s my belief we will never have fulfilled our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi or the prophesies of Rātana until we make sure Māori are no longer over-represented in our unemployment statistics, that they are no longer over-represented in our prison population, that they no longer have tamariki living in poverty, and that our rangatahi, particularly those who live in the regions, have every opportunity for a decent job and a decent future.” 

Prime Minister J Ardern, 24 January 2018.  

A bit more about T.W. Rātana and the Rātana Movement

Mr Rātana began his spiritual mission after a vision / experience he had in November 1918, in which the Holy Spirit visited him, and instructed him to focus on faith in God, to achieve spiritual and physical healing.  This occurred in very tough times; whilst the Māori population was suffering severely from the Influenza epidemic, and just before the end of World War One.  (It is this vision that the Church is now celebrating the 100 year anniversary of.)

The Rātana faith healing movement grew overtime, and the Church established their temple at Rātana Pā in 1920.  Although the Rātana Church has always been pro-Māori wellbeing, it was originally against Māori historic religious practices – tōhunga in particular – which was seen as a form of witchcraft which Māori needed to repent from.  (Despite that stance the Rātana Church was rejected by other Christian-centred churches, such as the Anglican Church.)

The Rātana movement also quickly became political, and began a campaign for the legal ratification of the Treaty of Waitangi.   It is reported 30,000 Māori signed the petition, i.e. the majority of Māori adults at that time.  In 1924 Rātana and a group of followers set out for England to meet with King George IV, to discuss matters with him, including land confiscations, and to present their petition.  (He also took a kapa haka group with him to perform and raise money to cover costs.)  But the New Zealand Government blocked any such meeting with the King.  The group also tried, but were unsuccessful in presenting their concerns to the League of Nations in Geneva.  However all was not in vain, as in response to the petition in 1926 the first Commission of Inquiry into the confiscating of Māori land was established (the Sim Commission).

Further notwithstanding his initial treatment by politicians, in 1928 Mr Rātana foresaw that the movement would gain a hold of all four Māori parliamentary seats, and six years later in 1936 an agreement to achieve this was reached with Michael J Savage.  Then in 1943 – fifteen years after that vision/goal was established – the movement did finally gain all Māori Parliament seats; (which of course was the only Māori representation in Parliament, as Māori were prohibited from standing in general seats.)  However Mr T.W Rātana never saw that in the flesh, as he had departed for the spiritual realm in 1939.[2]

[1] By 1,000 days we mean roughly the 3-year election cycle.

[2] There are many references for Rātana information, however for this article we have relied largely on Te Ara – The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, New Zealand History (.Govt.NZ), and Wikipedia.

Māori News Stories for the Week Ending 2 April 2015

 

  • The Ngāpuhi treaty settlement entity Tuhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority (Tuhoronuku IMA) has appointed its first three Treaty settlement negotiators. They are: Alison Thom (Ngāti Horahia, Ngāti Toki), Joe Davis (Ngāti Kopaki) and Hemi Toia (Te Māhurehure).
  • Last Friday the Environment Court ruled in favour of Ngāti Kahungunu in its claim against the Hawkes Bay Regional Council.  The Council was seeking to change its planning objectives relating to obligations to maintain and enhance water quality (particularly regarding aquifers).  The iwi argued in effect this would reduce the obligations of the Council, which the Court agreed with.
  • Last Saturday Winston Peters (NZ First Party) won the Northland by-election by a 4,000 vote majority.  One impact of this change is that the National Government will now need to rely further on its Confidence and Supply partners to progress its legislative programme.  This being the case, from a Māori policy perspective, this by-election result effectively increases the likely influence of the Māori Party within this parliamentary term.
  • On Monday the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council confirmed that Mr Teina Pora should not face a retrial for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett.  Pānui 6/2015 provides details on this matter.
  • On Wednesday the Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley announced that an independent panel has been established to review the Child, Youth and Family Service (CYFS).  The panel members are: Paula Rebstock (Chair), Helen Leahy, Police Commissioner Mike Bush, Duncan Dunlop and Professor Richie Poulton.
  • On 1 April (Wednesday) the HomeStart programme commenced. The HomeStart programme increases the value of Government grants available to people seeking to purchase a first home via their KiwiSaver accounts, Pānui 2/2015 refers.  The new adult minimum wage also came into effect, Pānui 5/2/14 refers.
  • On Monday the Minister of Energy and Resources, Simon Bridges, announced the annual tendering of oil and gas exploration blocks.  Pānui 19/2014 and 41/2013 refer.

Māori News Stories for the week ending 12 December 2014

 

  • Last Friday, Auckland High Court Judge, Justice Mark Woolford, ruled in favour of the Crown’s appeal against a District Court decision to discharge without conviction Korotangi Paki on a charge of driving with excess breath alcohol.  Mr Paki is the son of King Tuheitia, and the charge relate to an incident in October 2013.  Justice Woolford convicted and discharged Korotangi Paki for the offence.  Mr Paki has been disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for eight months.
  • Last Saturday, a book launch of a biography about Parekura Horomia was held in Tolaga Bay. The biography is entitled ‘Kia Ora, Chief’, and was written by Sir Wira Gardiner.  ‘Kia Ora, Chief’ was a common term of greeting used by the former Minister of Māori Affairs.
  • This week, the Kōhanga Reo movement gathered at Tūrangawaewae Marae, Ngāruawāhia, to consider options for new governance arrangements for its National Trust. The options were prepared by Ngā Tuara Whānui, a review group chaired by Sir Toby Curtis, following concerns about financial management and governance at the Trust.
  • The Northland Regional Council’s Te Tai Tokerau Māori Advisory Committee is proposing rates for the four councils in the Far North are collected by one agency.  The Northland Regional Council states they are owed circa $4 million of unpaid rates and penalties, with two-thirds of the said debt pertaining to Māori owned land.  Te Tai Tokerau Māori Advisory Committee also proposes that the Department of Conservation pay rates on some of the land they manage in the area.

Māori news stories for the week ending 4 October 2013

  •  Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has released their annual report to 30 June 2013, which shows the group’s net profit after tax (i.e. all Ngāi Tahu entities) of circa $122 million. A large proportion of this profit comes from a government ‘relativity payment’, which is part of the Treaty settlement agreement between Ngāi Tahu and the Crown, and is not derived from trading activities. (That is, the Ngāi Tahu settlement is required to remain at 16.1 per cent of the total value of all Treaty settlements.) Ngāi Tahu have also confirmed that they are now entering into arbitration with the Government over the relativity payment, to ensure the correct amount of settlement redress is received. We also advise profits from Ngāi Tahu regular trading activities have reduced from the previous financial year.

  •  The New Zealand Māori Council have indicated that Archdeacon Harvey Ruru is no longer the Chair of Te Tau Ihu o te Waka a Maui District. There was disagreement between the Archdeacon and the Council Executive as to whether the correct election processes had been held.

 

  • On Tuesday a partnership initiative between Aotearoa Fisheries, Sealord, Sanford, and the Government announced they were trialling ‘precision seafood harvesting’, in order to reduce by-catch and to better target fish of particular sizes. In essence this technology replaces traditional fishing nets with PVC fishing tubes which allow small fish to escape, and undesired species to be released without harm. (Conceptually similar to traditional hinaki.) The ‘new’ technology is expected to increase New Zealand’s ability to export live fish.

 

  • On Tuesday the Minister of Housing, Nick Smith, launched a new home purchasing initiative called ‘First Home’. The initiative involves the government gifting 10 per cent of a deposit to low income earners to assist them to purchase vacant state houses. Also on Wednesday, to further progress the Government’s social housing programme, the Associate Minister of Housing, Tariana Turia, officially opened five new kaumatua houses built by Te Rūanga of Kirikiriroa and Te Rauawaawa Charitable Kaumatua Trust in Hamilton.

 

  • On Wednesday the Government commenced consultation for decreasing the size of wānanga (and university) councils. Presently these councils have up to twenty members, with a representational appointment approach. The proposal is to reduce membership to between eight and twelve members, with a greater focus on competency-based appointments. Consultation closes on 12 November. We advise this week the Government has also released a new draft Tertiary Education Strategy, and a report on tertiary education. We are reviewing implications for Māori from these documents and will provide an analytical assessment in the next Pānui briefing paper.

 

  • Nursing Council Chief Executive, Carolyn Reed, has advised that Māori now comprise 13 per cent of graduates from nursing programmes. (Māori presently comprise 7 per cent of the nursing workforce.)

 

  • On Tuesday deregistered lawyer Davina Murray was sentenced to 50 hours community work for smuggling contraband to a prisoner.

Treaty matters: from E43 week ending 7 December 2012

Ngāti Pāoa sign Tāmaki Collective Deed of Settlement

Last Saturday Ngāti Pāoa became the eleventh iwi to sign the Tāmaki Collective Deed of Settlement in Auckland.  In September ten iwi initially signed the deed (refer pānui E32/2012 for details on this settlement).

Ngāti Toa signs Deed of Settlement

Today Ngāti Toa signed a Deed of Settlement with the Crown.  The total value of the settlement is circa $75 million (comprised of redress of $70 million, plus interest, plus capacity building payments.)  The settlement also includes the right to purchase a number of Crown properties in the Wellington region, including the Wellington Police Station.  Cultural redress includes the vesting of Kapiti and Taputeranga islands with the iwi, and the subsequent return of these to the Crown (although the iwi will retain ownership of a small proportion of Kapiti Island).  Te Rauparaha will also be recognised in the settlement legislation as the composer of Ka Mate, Ka Mate.