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Welfare

E36 19 October 2018: Social Research and Policy Snippets

Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry

The Minister of Health, David Clark, has advised that an extension has been given for the report on the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry back to Cabinet. It will now be delivered by 30 November.  This is to recognise the 5,500 submissions were received on this topic.  (Note the submissions are considered sensitive and are therefore not available for public purview.)

By way of background, the inquiry is broad in scope, and the terms of reference enable recommendations to be made across all structures within the health and the broader public sector.  The inquiry is 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. The terms of reference acknowledge this health inequality, and require the panel to consider this matter, and to also work in ways appropriate to Māori, and in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi.


Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care

The Minister for Internal Affairs, Tracey Martin, has put out a media statement indicating circa 500 people have expressed interest in giving evidence into the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care. Fifteen staff are also apparently working with the Commissioner Sir Anand Satyanand in preparatory stages of the inquiry.

Yet what is missing from the media statement is any word on the appointment of other Royal Commission members – which is odd given this is such a significant inquiry, and it was announced over six months ago. That is, to date Māori input on this matter remains at zero – despite the draft terms of reference stating that, “a key focus of the Inquiry is to understand any differential impacts of abuse in state care for Māori”.  Māori tamariki comprise over half of young people in State care, so the Government needs to appoint people to this Inquiry with a strong understanding of Māori care and abuse specific matters; and the sooner the better in our assessment.


 Criminal Justice Sector Reforms – Further Consultation

The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, has announced that his advisory group for justice sector reforms will now hold a series of regional public consultation meetings. By way of background, this initiative is called, Hāpai i te Ora Tangata / Safe and Effective Justice, and commenced with a large national conference/hui in August. A key theme of the work programme is addressing and reducing Māori rates of criminal offending and reoffending; and as previously advised the working group has four Māori members: Quentin Hix, Tracey McIntosh, Carwyn Jones, and Julia Amua Whaipooti.  The following two articles highlight new data relevant to this policy initiative.
Justice Sector Reforms Public Consultation Meetings.

Date Time Location Venue
29 October 12:30pm – 3:30 pm Timaru Timaru Council Chambers
30 October 9:00am – 12:00pm Christchurch Aranui Library
5 November 1:00pm – 4:30pm Tauranga TBA
6 November 1:00pm – 4:00pm Whangārei Whangārei Central Library
13 November 1:00pm – 4:00pm Tokoroa Tokoroa Public Library
14 November 9:00am – 1:00pm Te Kuiti Te Kuiti Community Room
15 November TBA New Plymouth TBA
17 November 9:00am – 11:00am Palmerston North Palmerston North City Library

Homicide Victims Data Released

Last month the New Zealand Police published a report entitled Police Statistics on Homicide Victims in New Zealand 2007 – 2016: Summary of Statistics about Victims of Murder, Manslaughter, and Infanticide. The report showed between 2007 and 2016, 223 Māori were victims of homicide, which was 33% of all victims (686 in total).  Māori males comprised 22% (154) of all victims and 69% of the total number of Māori victims.  These statistics are a sad over-representation, given Māori comprise only 15% of the total population.

http://www.police.govt.nz/about-us/publication/homicide-victims-report-2017-and-historic-nz-murder-rate-report-1926-2017


Injury Data Released

Last week Statistics New Zealand released injury data. There are two stand-out areas for Māori: injuries from assaults at 37 per 100,000 people, and injuries from motor vehicle accidents at 67 per 100,000.  Both rates   are significantly higher than for non-Māori.  The overall injury data shows a similar rate of non-fatal but serious injuries (and a lower rate of Māori having falls).[1]

https://www.stats.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Serious-injury-outcome-indicators/Serious-injury-outcome-indicators-2000-17/Download-data/serious-injury-outcome-indicators-2000-17.xlsx

[1] Falls are associated more frequently with elderly citizens and there are fewer Māori elderly than others, i.e. a life expectancy disparity of 7 years.  This fact sheet does not probe such matters.

General Article: The Children, Young Persons and Their Families (Advocacy, Workforce, and Age Settings) Amendment Bill – 3 June 2016 (18/2016)

 

  1. On Wednesday the Minister for Social Development, Anne Tolley, introduced The Children, Young Persons and Their Families (Advocacy, Workforce, and Age Settings) Amendment Bill into Parliament.  This is part of restructuring the services of the Children, Young Persons service (CYF) within the Department of Social Development.  The Bill introduces four key changes by:
  • extending the age of state care to a young person’s 18th birthday;
  • better ensuring the views of children and young people are taken into account at both a case level, and in service delivery;
  • establishing an independent youth advocacy service; and.
  • enabling a broader range of professionals to perform some functions under the Act. (Social workers would still be the main professionals responsible for carrying out these functions.)

Parliamentary matters and Māori news stories for the week ending 21 September 2012

  • On Wednesday the Local Government and Environment Select Committee tabled their report on the Mount Maunganui Borough Reclamation and Empowering Act Repeal Bill.  The Committee have recommended that the Bill is passed with minor amendments.  (This is supported by Tauranga Moana iwi, refer to E20/2012 for details.)
  • On Thursday the Commerce Select Committee heard oral submissions for the Gambling (Gambling Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill.  The purpose of this Bill is to increase community say over gaming machines within local authority areas, and includes a proposed power for communities to reduce the number of gaming machines.  The Committee will report back to Parliament by 9 November 2012.  (For details on this matter refer to Pānui E12/2012.)
  • On Thursday the Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill was read for a first time and referred to the Social Services Committee. The Bill passed by 69 votes to 50 with National, New Zealand First, Act and United Future voting in favour; whilst the Labour, Green, Māori and Mana parties voted against it.  (Refer to Pānui E32/2012 for details on this matter.)

Māori news stories for the week ending 21 September 2012

  • John Bishara has been appointed Chairman of the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board.
  • Des Ratima has been elected Deputy Chairman of the New Zealand Māori Council.
  • On Tuesday the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) held a hui with Iwi leaders.  The focus of the hui was to discuss the potential of building a stronger relationship between iwi and the Council in order to improve the working lives of Māori workers.  This follows mediation from some iwi leaders in relation to Affco strikes and lockouts (refer to Pānui E15/2012 for reference notes).
  • On Tuesday Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust completed presenting their case against the Ministry of Social Development in the Auckland High Court.  Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust are challenging the Ministry’s decision to end a Family Start contract, valued at circa $1.4 million.  The parties are now awaiting the judges’ decision.
  • The Tainui Group Holdings Te Awa Retail Centre (‘the Base’) has won a silver award at the International Council of Shopping centres Asia Pacific Awards, in Shanghai.

Māori news stories for the week ending 31 August 2012

  • Tina Ngatai has been appointed General Manager of Ngāti Whakaue Tribal Lands Incorporated. 
  • On Monday an application for bail for Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara (two of the Urewera four) was declined in the Court of Appeal, Wellington.  The men were seeking bail while they wait to have an appeal hearing against their convictions for their involvement in military style camps in Te Urewera National Park in 2007.
  • On Monday Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust commenced its claim against the Ministry of Social Development in the Auckland High Court.  Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust are challenging the Ministry’s decision to end a Family Start contract, valued at circa $1.4 million.
  • On Wednesday the University of Otago hosted, Hui Poutama Research Symposium – Māori research symposium.
  • This week Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust hosted, Ngā Whetū Hei Whai: Charting Pathways for Māori Industry Futures Conference.
  • This week the annual Māori Medical Practitioners’ Association conference is being held at Ahipara.
  • This week the Minister for Social Development, Paula Bennett, announced that some beneficiary jobseekers will be required to take a pre-employment drug test from July 2013.  Jobseekers will be sanctioned if they refuse or fail a drug test.  Sanctions have three degrees of severity; (first) a warning, (second) loss of 50% of benefit payment, (third) loss of full benefit.  Given Māori comprise 32% of beneficiaries, it is possible this policy will affect greater proportions of Māori than others. 
  • Iwi delegates attending the Pacific Island Forum (in Rarotonga) have expressed an interest in joining the forum’s Polynesian Leaders’ sub-group.
  • On Wednesday the Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, Steven Joyce, and the Education Minister, Hekia Parata, released action plans on the Better Public Service targets relating to boosting skills and employment.   The information presented is largely a reiteration of existing planning in these areas.  There is some Māori-focused content, but it is not significant.  We are presently reviewing these materials, along with the recently released Māori Strategy of the New Zealand Qualification Authority.  

Māori news stories for the week ending 10 August 2012

  • This week the Treaty Tribes Coalition and the Māori Fisheries Trust held the seventh National Māori Fisheries Conference in Auckland.  The conference focussed on fisheries trading in the present economic climate, and on sector regulatory changes. (Notable regulatory changes include the pending prohibition on the use of foreign-chartered vessels; refer to pānui E17/2012 for details.)
  • On Wednesday the Court of Appeal dismissed the legal challenge from the ‘Independent Purchaser Group’ (a consortium led by Sir Michael Fay), to prevent the sale of the sixteen former Crafar dairy farms to Shanghai Pengxin.  Māori interests (from Ngāti Rereahu and Tūwharetoa) involved in the challenge have ruled out any further legal action.
  • Last Wednesday Te Uri o Hau and the Northland Regional Council signed a memorandum of understanding.  The memorandum confirms a role for Te Uri o Hau in environmental, economic and social matters within the purview of the Council.
  • Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga  have commissioned researchers from the University of Canterbury to study and identify the qualities which make high achieving Te Arawa students successful learners.  The study, Ka Awatea, will be completed in 2014.
  • The Human Rights Commission is consulting on the meaning of ‘rangatiratanga’, in the context of modern Aotearoa / New Zealand.   Further information is available on their website.
  • On Wednesday a financial recovery plan was announced for Rata Te Āwhina Trust.  The Trust is a Whānau Ora provider, which was  placed under the control of a change manager in July, after an independent report identified issues of mismanagement. 

Māori news stories for the week ending 3 August 2012

  • Doctor Katarina Edmonds and Doctor Poia Rewi have been appointed to the Board of The Maori Language Commission. They will replace outgoing members, Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and Ruakere Hond.
  • This week Ngāti Tūwharetoa confirmed that Sir Tumu te Heuheu has withdrawn from his role as chair of the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board. Sir Tumu te Heuheu remains paramount chief of Ngāti Tūwharetoa.
  • On Monday the launch of Indigenous New Zealand was held in Auckland. Indigenous New Zealand is a collective of eighteen Māori food and beverage producers, working together to increase recognition within local and international markets.
  • This week the Māori Affairs Select Committee continued to hear oral submissions for the Inquiry into the Determinants of Wellbeing for Māori Children.
  • On Monday the Office of the Auditor-General announced that they will not hold an investigation into funding aspects of Te Raukura, Te Wharewaka o Poneke. (In April an unnamed party lodged a request with the Office for an investigation, alleging matters of financial impropriety.)
  • On Wednesday the Ministry for Primary Industries opened a special round of funding, Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), for Māori agri-businesses. The fund will provide $1 million for co-investment into projects that will encourage sustainable resource use in Māori agri-businesses. Applications close on 31 August.
  • This week two Māori writers won awards in the New Zealand Post Book Awards. Chris Winitana (Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāi Tūhoe) won the Māori Language category for his book, Toku Reo, Toku Ohooho: (My Language, My Inspiration). Paula Morris (Ngāti Wai) won the fiction category with her historical novel, Rangatira.
  • This week one case relating to the misuse of Whānau Ora funding at the We Against Violence Trust in Dunedin was heard, with Michael Logan Wong-Tong pleading guilty to conspiracy to sell cannabis. Overall, charges relate to dishonestly offences, with the Police Statement of Facts alleging that public funds were used for the purchasing of illegal drugs. Cases against other people related to this matter are continuing.

Māori news stories for the week ending 27 July 2012

  • On Wednesday the Coroners’ Office (within the Ministry of Justice) released a report on the deaths of Cru and Chris Kahui – twin babies murdered in 2006.  The investigating coroner, Gary Evans, reported that “the traumatic brain injuries which led to the deaths of Chris and Cru Kahui were incurred whilst they were in the sole custody, care and control of their father Chris Kahui”.  In 2008 Chris Kahui was acquitted of murdering the twins.  We are reviewing this document further, and will provide further analysis if appropriate in the coming weeks.
  • This week Hika Group Limited, in association with Vodafone New Zealand, launched ‘Hika Lite’ – a Māori language learning ‘app’ (application) for mobile phones.
  • On Thursday Statistics New Zealand released Te Āhua o Aotearoa: 2012, a Māori language translation of the Statistics New Zealand in Profile: 2012Te Āhua o Aotearoa: 2012, contains an overview of New Zealand’s people, economy, and environment.
  • On Thursday a Tauranga High Court Judge dismissed charges against Elvis Teddy; a Te Whānau ā Apānui fishing boat captain.  Mr Teddy had been charged after protesting at sea against oil exploration in the Raukumara Basin, off the East Coast.  
  • Last week the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Industry Training Organisation (ATTTO) launched ‘Tourism Aotearoa’.  This is a twelve-month (work-based) training programme, which enables tourism operators and employees to gain a base knowledge of Māori customs and history, and how this relates to their work within the tourism sector.  On successful completion, Tourism Aotearoa learners will be awarded the National Certificate in Tourism Māori, level 3.
  • The West Coast District Health Board has specified that Rata Te Awhina Trust is required to improve its services within six months, or risk funding reductions.  Rata Te Awhina is a health and social services provider and a member of Te Waipounamu Whānau Ora Collective.  The Trust receives circa $500,000 per annum from the Health Board, for the delivery of community-based Māori Health services.

Māori News Stories for the week ending 6 July 2012

  • Last Wednesday Nelson-based Wakatū Incorporation lost a High Court claim against the Crown for claimed breaches of fiduciary duty, and good faith in its dealings with the Māori owners of land in the Nelson and Motueka regions.  The decision allows the Crown to proceed with Treaty settlements with iwi groupings at the top of the South Island.
  • Last Friday a high court judge granted Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust the right to deliver (temporarily) the Family Start programme.  A full hearing into the Ministry of Social Development decision to terminate Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust Family Start programme will be held in August.  The Trust has also called a meeting of other Māori social sector providers to discuss a potential Treaty of Waitangi claim against the Crown, alleging that contractual terms and conditions are unjust.
  • On Monday the Minister for Climate Change Issues, Tim Groser, announced amendments to New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).  Among the changes is provision to retain the allocation of second tranche compensation for forest owners, where off-setting is not taken up.  This policy will be of significant interest to Māori forest-owners.   (For further details refer to Pānui E11/2012.)
  • This week Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (a Māori Centre of Research Excellence) published a first edition of Mai Journal: A New Zealand journal of Indigenous Scholarship.  The publication will be biannual.
  • On Tuesday an application for bail for Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara (two of the Urewera four) was heard in the Court of Appeal, Wellington.  The men are seeking bail while they wait to have an appeal hearing against their convictions for their involvement in military style camps in Te Urewera National Park in 2007.
  • On Wednesday Orete Incorporation was fined $45,000 for polluting a stream with dairy effluent near Waihau Bay last September.

Māori news stories for the week ending 29 June 2012

  • Sir Eddie Durie and Maanu Paul have been appointed co-chairs of the New Zealand Māori Council.  Sir Graham Latimer becomes the first president of the organisation.  The Council has also indicated that it is the only legislatively-enabled, pan-Māori organisation – and should be a natural choice for Crown-Māori dialogue.  (We presume that this is in response to increased Crown dialogue with the Iwi Chairs Forum.)
  • On Monday William Rātahi Pitman, former National President of the 28 (Māori) Battalion Association passed away, aged 94 years.
  • On Monday Major Hone Hikitia Te Rangi Waititi, company commander of the 28th Māori Battalion passed away, aged 91 years.
  • Greg McManus has been appointed as the new chief executive of the Waitangi National Trust.  Mr McManus will commence his role in August.
  • Rea Wikaira has been appointed to the Health Promotion Agency board.  The Health Promotion Agency will bring together the functions of the Alcohol Liquor Advisory Council, the Health Sponsorship Council, and some health promotion work of the Ministry of Health. The new agency will be established on 1 July.
  • On Thursday the Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust legal challenge against the Ministry of Social Development decision to terminate their Family Start programme commenced in the Auckland High Court.
  • On Wednesday Statistics NZ launched Te Ao Mārama, 2012, an online-publication showing economic, social, cultural, and environmental statistics on Māori.
  • From Sunday Māori Television will introduce a new programming format where Te Reo tuition programmes will broadcast from 10am-3pm.

Key Māori news stories for the week ending 22 June 2012

  • On Monday Nga Pae o te Maramatanga (the Māori-focused Centre of Research Excellence), announced funding for six projects:
  • Investigation into the fisheries resources and interests of iwi, hapū and marae within Tauranga Moana and the impacts caused by the grounding of the CV Rena (Associate Professor Paul Kayes, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi)
  • Networks of support for Māori mental health: The response and recovery of Tangata Whaiora through Ōtautahi earthquakes (Dr Simon Lambert, Lincoln University, )
  • Ka Awatea: An iwi case study of Maori student experiencing success (Professor Angus Macfarlane, University of Canterbury)
  • Indigenous agroecology (Dr Marion Johnson, University of Otago)
  • Tiakina Te Pā Harakeke: Māori childrearing within a context of whānau ora (Dr Leonie Pihama, University of Waikato)
  • Aue Ha! Māori men’s relational health (Mohi Rua and Professor Darrin Hodgetts, University of Waikato)
  • Humphrey Wikeepa has been appointed to the board of Network for Learning Limited, a new Crown-owned company.
  • Last Wednesday an Iwi Education Authority was established, to ‘improve achievement of tamariki and mokopuna’. Twenty-three kura are reported associated with the initiative.
  • A number of Māori providers have been successful in gaining contracts, (or have become preferred bidders), for the supervision and care of young beneficiaries as a part of the welfare reforms. (Refer pānui 2 March E6/2012 for details, i.e. the outsourcing and extension of the former Youth Transition Service). Māori providers includes Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou (Gisborne), Te Rūnanga o Turanganui a Kiwa (Gisborne), Tui Ora (Taranaki), Whai Marama (a division of Te Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa) (Hamilton), Solomon Group (Manurewa), and Ngāti Hine Health Trust (Whangarei).
  • On Thursday Urs Signer and Emily Bailey (two members of the ‘Urewera Four’) were sentenced to nine months home detention for a range of firearms charges. Signer and Bailey have indicated that they will appeal their sentences.

 

Māori news stories for the week ending 4 May 2012

  • The Auckland Independent Māori Statutory Board has commenced a series of six hui to consult on health and wellbeing issues such as Te Reo Māori, housing and co-governance of natural resources.  Feedback from hui will be used to develop the Tāmaki Makaurau – Māori Wellbeing Plan.
  • Ngāti Kahungunu iwi continues to support locked out AFFCO (Wairoa) workers and their whānau through the provision of weekly food parcels and welfare advice.  The AFFCO  (Wairoa) plant is now in its tenth week of industrial action.
  • On Tuesday, Just Speak, the youth arm of Rethinking Crime and Punishment released a preliminary position paper called Māori and the Criminal Justice System: A Youth Perspective.  The position paper is highly supportive of research and recommendations made in Moana Jackson’s 1988 report He Whaipaanga Hou.

Omnibus briefing for the week ending 17 February 2012

This week’s omnibus brief outlines emerging issues relating to Māori social, economic and treaty matters to 12 noon, 17 February 2012.  Key matters to note are:
  • NZQA – Draft Māori Strategy;
  • Families Commission Research on Financial Hardship;
  • Waka Māori – Survey Report;
  • Crafar Farms sale suspended;
  • Six Treaty Settlement Bills Progressed in Parliament;
  • Te Puni Kōkiri – Brief to Incoming Minister;
  • Whānau Ora – Brief to Incoming Minister

If you wish to have full access to our weekly briefing papers follow the link to our subscription page: http://panui.co.nz/subscribe/

Act Party: manifesto commitments:omnibus excerpt

ACT Party – Māori focused matters

The ACT Party has nineteen policy statements, and Māori interests are captured almost exclusively in one of these, entitled the ‘One Law for All’ policy proposal.  (The only other place the word Māori appears is under Welfare where ACT notes the high numbers of Māori on welfare.)  The ‘One Law for All’ proposal is, as the name suggests, a proposition that Māori-focused representative interventions are not required, and should be abolished from legislative frameworks at all levels.  For example, removal of Māori electorate seats in parliament, no Māori-wards at local government level, removal of Māori consultation requirements from the Resource Management Act, etc.  

Although not accepting Māori-specific representative mechanisms, the ACT Party does acknowledge the existence of Treaty of Waitangi grievances, and supports the acceleration of Treaty compensation processes.  (We note other parties tend to speak of Treaty settlements not ‘compensation’ per se, in recognition of the low value of settlements relative to the scale of the grievances, and value of assets lost through Treaty breaches.)

The ACT Party notes significant disparities between Māori and non-Māori in the social sector, and suggests the solutions to these are increased choice for Māori, in order to access better services.  Increased choice, however, does not extend to Māori language in schools, which Party Leader, Don Brash, yesterday dismissed as a policy option.

In our assessment, the ACT Party policy positions on Māori interests are reflective of two bygone eras.  First, limited Māori-specific input on social representative structures is reflective of the 1950s and 1960s when Māori had little input in macro policy developments, such as urban planning.  Subscribers familiar with Māori history will be aware this was a period of intensive (and facilitated) Māori urbanisation, and decision-makers (non-Māori) deliberately elected a Māori ‘pepper-popping’ housing approach.  This period is now acknowledged as a central disconnecting point for Māori communities, contributing significantly to the breakdown of inter-generational Māori language transmission, and a loss of iwi and marae identity amongst Māori at that time.  Given those types of historic negative outcomes, it is difficult to see any usefulness for Māori in foregoing representative models of decision-making in today’s context.     

The second aspect of ACT’s policy position is to create ‘market-choice’ in the social sector.  This is reflective of social policies attempted in the mid-1980s.  Again, the historic experience for Māori during this time period was significant social upheaval with negative social policy outcomes, such as record (25%) Māori unemployment.   There is no evidence that market-choice at that time improving Māori wellbeing – in fact the results of this policy era lead to a ‘closing the gaps policy in the mid-1990s.  As an example, research shows ‘choice-theory’ in the school lead to school selection of students and ‘white-flight’, leading to resources actually being shifted away from Māori – and consequently less educational provisions for Māori communities (and ultimately educational results for Māori learners did not improve).  Again then, the historic experience of this type of policy framework does not demonstrate policy advancements for Māori.

Although we have tried to highlight potential positives and negative  aspects within the policy framework of all parties reviewed, in the case of ACT it is challenging to see any degree of responsiveness to Māori collective issues based on historic evidence or stated Māori aspiration.  This is, of course, part of the political positioning of this party, on the political right, with a focus on individuals (not groups), and a focus on market driven choice (not targeted interventions). 

From week ending 11 November 2011

Mana Party: manifesto commitments: omnibus excerpt

Mana Party – Māori focused matters

Despite its relative newness, the Mana Party has developed twelve broad policy platforms, all of which take into account specific Māori interests.  These policies, and salient features, are highlighted in the table that follows.

Mana Party Notes – salient aspects of Māori-focused policy proposals
Livelihoods and Economic Justice policies Abolish GST, and replace with a transaction tax, to increase Government tax revenue; introduce a requirement for all SoE and Māori corporate entities to prioritise the employment of New Zealanders, or face financial penalties; increase the minimum wage
Treaty Settlement policy (Draft) Increasing resourcing to the Waitangi Tribunal and empower the Tribunal to make binding decisions; establish an independent Treaty of Waitangi Commissioner; increase the value of treaty settlements by removing the ‘full and final’ aspect of existing settlements
Welfare and housing policies Provide a $1,000 one-off grant to all earning less than $30,000 before 25 December 2011; raise welfare payment levels, build 20,000 new state houses in two years
Te Reo Rangatira – Te Reo Māori policy Establish an independent Te Reo Māori Authority, elected by Māori to administer all government funding in this sector; target is for all New Zealanders to speak Māori by 2040
Education policy Free early childhood education; reduce costs of tertiary study; fund Māori providers (wānanga) as Treaty partners
Health and Disability Issues policies Reduce access to tobacco; ban the advertising of alcohol; community veto on ‘pokie’ machines; free medical care for under 16s and senior citizens; free family planning and contraceptive advice
Environment and Energy policy Iwi and hapū to have decision-making powers in local government environmental policy (and be resourced for this), ban deep-sea oil drilling; stop the partial sale of State-owned Enterprises

 

A number of these policies are similar to other parties that are positioned on the political left (e.g. increase the minimum wage, Māori representation at local government, increases in support for those in receipt of welfare, etc).  The unique stand-out feature, however, is that the Mana Party proposes that these initiatives be funded through a new transaction taxation system, with GST being abolished altogether. 

In our assessment, overall the Mana Party proposals suffer from the same lack of resource considerations as the Green Party. That is, no costings and little implementation information is provided, which shifts ideas away from robust policy analysis, and towards the realm of political platitudes.  For example, the Party’s most radical suggestion, a new transaction tax, has no research or evidence-base published with it.  This means it is entirely unclear how this might function to replace the $15 billion per annum the Government receives in GST payments.  A second example is that there are no details on how existing ‘full and final’ treaty settlements might be amended.

Mana Party – economic and social policies of interest

Within specific Māori economic areas, we are unconvinced that the Mana Party proposal to impose financial penalties on Māori corporate entities (iwi-owned companies) that do not first employ New Zealanders is neither required, fair nor useful, in improving productivity.  In our view, placing more restraints on Māori entities than others will actually disadvantage those Māori interests.

In the social policy realm, we note the Mana Party is alone in prompting the replacement of The Māori Language Commission with an independent, Māori-elected Te Reo Authority.  In our assessment, policy changes in this area are long overdue.  As discussed more fully previously (pānui 29 April 2011), there is little justification for current arrangements, where Māori have such limited say in this sector.  The current Māori Language Commission is a Crown Entity, and Māori/iwi have no formal role in the appointment process, nor in directing its business planning or language services.  Accordingly, in our assessment, the Mana Party is ahead of other parties in giving this matter greater consideration. (Although the Mana Party target of 100% of New Zealanders speaking Māori within three decades does read as overly ambitious). 

From week ending 11 November 2011

Green Party – manifesto commitments: omnibus excerpt

Green Party Māori focused matters

This election the Green Party is the only ‘mainstream’ political party to produce clear Māori specific policy.  It is noteworthy that both National and Labour have, since the last election, jettisoned specific Māori-related policy documentation.  We consider the size of the Māori voting electorate (15%), and the significance of issues (constitutional reform, treaty settlements, etc), to be sufficient to warrant policy views from all three of these larger political parties.

The Green Party has identified twelve key principles which lead to five ‘policy points’.  These policy areas are noted in the table below, along with salient aspects of the proposals.

Green Party – Māori Policy Salient aspects of the proposed policy
Respecting Rangatiratanga Legislative recognition of the Māori language version of the Treaty of Waitangi; entrenchment of Māori seats in parliament; new processes for Māori engagement in local government
Affirming and supporting Kaitiakitanga Rejecting the use of conservation land for Treaty settlements; processes for shared guardianship (with iwi) of natural heritage
Ensuring Access to Economic Prosperity Focus on increasing Māori employment levels via ‘sustainable’ employment; protection of Māori cultural intellectual property
Supporting Whaungatanga Māori language to be taught more in schools and within the wider community, whānau interactions with schools to be improved, Māori (restorative) justice initiatives to be advanced, recognition of the leadership role of Māori wahine
Health as Taonga ‘build capacity of Māori to manage their own health’; support rongoa Māori practitioners; greater funding for Māori health initiatives

 Overall the emphasis within the Green Party documentation is for greater Government resources to be spent on Māori areas of interest (for example Māori language, rongoa, etc);, and for increased Māori autonomy and representation (e.g. local government representation, restorative justice, etc).  We note most of these ideas have the potential to improve the wellbeing of Māori.  However we also note the documentation does not provide any actual quantitative measures for these ideas (e.g. how much more Te Reo in schools), and most importantly, it does not provide an estimate of resource to be set aside to achieve these outcomes. In our assessment, political parties that are serious about their policies provide ‘projected’ costings, and seek to demonstrate how they will reallocate resources or increase revenue to accommodate their proposed initiatives.  Because the Green Party does not do this with its specific Māori-focused policy the actual statements read closer to ‘wish list’ ideas rather than an actual policy programme.

We also note that the Green Party’s strong environmental focus permeates throughout its Māori-policy, and this has the effect of portraying Māori interests in a particular light – typically as ‘kaitiaki’ (guardians/carers) only on resource matters.  This is narrow, and ignores the diversity of Māori interests, including Māori industry developments and agricultural activities (refer to the Ngāi Tahu farming article below as an example).  This limitation extends to Treaty matters, with the Green Party indicating that they see Crown Conservation land as sacrosanct, and unavailable for settlement redress (regardless of how it was sourced); and that iwi and hapū have rights under the Treaty of Waitangi to manage their resources “within the constraints of sustainability”.   While this might be a good idea, we are fairly certain this concept is not contained within either linguistic version of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Green Party – economic and social proposals of interest

The Green Party’s key social policy proposal is to reduce child poverty, which is estimated at 235,000 children.  You will be aware from the pānui of 16 September, that financial hardship is disproportionally affecting significant numbers of Māori children (potentially circa 90,000).  Accordingly the Green Party social policy framework is focused on an issue of direct interest to Māori.

Proposals for reducing financial hardship for families include: (i) extending Working for Families tax credits to beneficiary families, (ii) increasing training opportunities for sole parents, (iii) raising the minimum wage, and (iv) creating health standards for rental properties.  To pay for this social programme, the Green Party proposes the creation of 100,000 new jobs within the renewable energy sector (with tax takes from these jobs creating Government revenue).  For example, the Party believes 20,000 new jobs can be created by extending the home insulation programme, and rebuilding in Christchurch, and a further 20,000 can be created in bio-fuel creation.  Consistent with other political parties, there is insufficient data to review this in full, but on the surface, these jobs creation numbers appear exceedingly optimistic.

From week ending 11 November 2011