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exerts from ominibus papers, links to policy papers and commentaries

PSA-V kiwifruit vine disease: from E43 week ending 7 December 2012

On Wednesday the Minister for Primary Industries, David Carter, declared the Psa-V vine disease as a medium-scale biosecurity event.  Along with this status announcement, Mr Carter also announced further Government support measures for affected growers.  Before the disease struck, the kiwifruit industry was valued at $1.5 billion, with Māori interests being approximately 10% of the industry.    Last year we advised that approximately 50% of the golden kiwifruit vines had been affected .  In addition, prior to the disease, up to 9,000 seasonal workers were employed in the sector, many of whom were Māori.  For more details on this matter refer to pānui 3 October 2011

Oil extraction matters: from E43 week ending 7 December 2012

This week the Government indicated that Brazil oil company, Petrobras, was exiting its oil exploration activities in New Zealand, and had returned its permit for that activity.  Petrobras’ permit for oil extraction along the North Island’s East Coast had been strongly opposed by Te Whānau-a-Apanui, and protest action last year resulted in some iwi members being arrested.  The iwi has indicated that it is pleased with this outcome, however, the Government has indicated that it is likely another company will seek to take up the permit.

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. 

Select Committee Report on the Ngāti Manuhiri Claims Settlement Bill: E26 from week ending 3 August 2012

Last week the Māori Affairs Select Committee released its report-back on the Ngāti Manuhiri Claims Settlement Bill. A key feature of this proposed settlement is the vesting of Te Hauturu-o-Toi (Little Barrier Island) for seven days with Ngāti Manuhiri, before the island is gifted back to the people of New Zealand.3 Some members of Ngāti Wai have objected to this aspect of the settlement.

Given these objections, the Committee recommends an amendment to the bill allowing for the possibility of other iwi becoming involved in the co-governance of Te Hauturu-o-Toi, under future Treaty settlements (i.e. Ngāti Wai and/or Ngāti Rehua). In our assessment, this appears to be a sensible option, and we note that Ngāti Manuhiri has now accepted this position, and has/will agree an amendment to its original Deed of Settlement with the Crown.

 

3 Note 1.2 hectares would remain in the ownership of the Ngāti Manuhiri post-settlement governance entity.

Māori news stories for the week ending 25 May 2012

  • Sir Wira Gardiner has been appointed to the Wellington Regional Governance Review Panel.  The Panel will assess governance options for councils across the greater Wellington region and will provide their recommendations in October.
  • Last Saturday Nelson and Wairoa voters rejected a proposal to establish a Māori ward on their respective Councils.
  • This week former senior students of the Morewa School senior satellite unit recommenced schooling at nearby Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Taumarere.  The students will also be dual enrolled with the Correspondence School for subjects not offered at the Kura (English and Maths).  In addition, financial assist will be providing to ensure teaching support and for general transitional costs (school uniforms, etc).
  • On Monday AFFCO and the Meat-workers union resolved their twelve-week industrial dispute.  Amongst other items, AFFCO will provide a $400,000 fund for workers affected by the lockout, a 3.2% wage increase, and the inclusion of seniority clauses in member’s contracts.  The Meat-workers Union have agreed to AFFCO drug testing their members.  The agreement was reached after mediation facilitated by the Iwi Leaders Group (ILG).  The ILG agreed to become involved noting that the situation was creating significant hardship for many Māori whānau.  We note the Talley’s family (owners of AFFCO) share fishing industry interests with iwi/Māori fishing companies; and would not desire to place that business at risk, particularly given upcoming reform in that sector (as discussed above).    
  • On Thursday Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara (two members of the ‘Urewera Four’) were sentenced to thirty months imprisonment for a range of firearms charges.  The two other members of the ‘Urewera Four’ Urs Signer and Emily Bailey still await formal sentencing.
  • On Wednesday Labour Party MP Shane Jones agreed to stand down from Labour’s front bench and his portfolio responsibilities.  This was because Labour Party leader, David Shearer, asked the Auditor-General to investigate Mr Jones’ ministerial conduct in relation to the approval of an immigration visa in 2008.  (The Visa was approved by Mr Jones against the advice of officials, and the person concerned, Mr Yan Yong Ming was this week on trial for immigration fraud.  However yesterday Mr Ming was found not guilty on all charges.)  The Auditor-General has not yet determined whether or not to investigate the matter – although both Mr Jones and Mr Shearer are of the view that an investigation is required to restore Mr Jones’ reputation. 
  • Last Friday afternoon the Minister of Primary Industries, David Carter, and Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams, released the second Land and Water Forum report, Setting Limits for Water Quality and Quantity: Freshwater Policy- and Plan-Making Through Collaboration.  The report provides thirty-eight recommendations on the framework for freshwater management in New Zealand.  It includes a significant reference to iwi interests, and a Māori model of water management.  We will be considering this report in full next week, and if appropriate, will provide further briefing information. 

Māori news stories for the week ending 9 March 2012

  • Retired High Court judge and historian Sir Rodney Gallen passed away last Saturday.
  • Te Putea Whakatupu Trust will be offering up to ten Rona scholarships to Māori students completing a degree in fisheries, aquaculture, or marine sciences.  The value of each scholarship is $10,000.
  •  The Bay of Plenty Regional Council will host Te Tōanga Mai o Te Ra, a one-day conference to promote and enhance ways to build Māori capacity and capability to contribute to Council decision-making.  Te Tōanga Mai o Te Ra is to be held on April 23, in Tauranga.
  • An interim report on the Rena grounding was publicly released yesterday by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission.  It has found the Rena was taking shortcuts to enter Tauranga harbour, in order to save time and beat the changing tide.
  • The Cabinet Office has posted Ministerial delegations on its website.  We note, of particular interest, that Tariana Turia’s role as Associate Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister has a delegation for leading the development of strategies and programmes to enhance and improve employment outcomes for Māori and Pacific peoples.  This is a new delegation and fits with the expressed intent in the National / Māori Party confidence and supply agreement to focus on employment programmes, and other comments from the Māori Party proposing that Te Puni Kōkiri be reoriented towards this task.  

Top Māori news stories for the week ending 27.01.2012

  • Māori Rugby Board member and chairman of Te Waipounamu Rugby Board Allan “Smiley” Haua passed away on Tuesday.
  • On Monday a ceremony was held in Paris to return 20 toi moko (preserved Māori warrior heads) back to New Zealand.  The toi moko were received by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa’s repatriation team.
  • On Thursday a ceremony to hand back 175kg of contraband pounamu, to Ngāi Tahu was held at Rehua Marae, Christchurch.  The pounamu was intercepted by New Zealand Customs in December 2010.
  • Ngāti Kuri Trust Board has purchased 300 hectares near Ngataki in the Far North. The land purchase will be the first land owned by the iwi for over 150 years, and the purchase is not part of the Ngati Kuri Treaty Settlement process.

Appointments -Māori New Years Honours: omnibus excerpt from week ending 27.01.2012

Member of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ);

  • Hone Hotere

Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM)

  • Robyn Bargh; Wharehuia Milroy

Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM)

  • Grace Dorset; Russell Feist 

Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM)

  • Piatarihi Callaghan; Margaret Kawharu; Merata Kawharu;
  • Bert Mackie; John Maihi; Hinerangi Raumati; Pio Terei; Beatrice Yates

Queens Service Medal (QSM)

  • Haami Chapman; Phillip Crown; Henry Ngapo; Tuihana Pook;
  • Richard Riki Rakena; Moengaroa Solomon; Millie Te Kaawa.

Geothermal exploration and feasibility study agreement signed: omnibus excerpt

Okere Incorporation and Ruahine Kuharua Incorporation have signed agreements with Mighty River Power to enable initial exploration and a feasibility study of geothermal energy on the Taheke field, 20km northeast of Rotorua.  The agreement, which will be known as Te ia a Tutea Development, provides for long-term co-ownership of any future development in the Taheke field.

From week ending 11 November 2011

Telecommunication companies offer Māori scholarship and graduate programmes: omnibus excerpt

Hautaki Trust, Te Huarahi Tika Māori Spectrum Trust, and 2degrees have created a scholarship and graduate programme for Māori studying information and communications technology at Auckland University.  Vodafone have also announced it will extend its current graduate programme by allocating an additional five places for Māori graduates.  These announcements follow the establishment of Ngā Pū Waea, the Māori Broadband Working Group, and are clear examples of the early results arising from the efforts of this group.

Māori news stories for the week ending 11 November, 2011: omnibus excerpt

  • Broadcaster Te Kauhoe Wano died last week.
  • The Federation of Maori Authorities (FoMA) will hold its annual conference in Mount Maunganui on the 12- 13 November.
  • Te Kōtahi Research Institute – Māori research institute has opened at Waikato University.
  • Te Runanganui o te Pihopatanga of Aotearoa (the Maori Anglican Church) has rejected a proposed Anglican Communion covenant; on the grounds that they were at risk of ‘signing over their rangatiratanga’.
  • This week the winners of the Ngā Kupu Ora, 2011: Māori Book Awards were announced.  The winners are Tina Makereti  (fiction) Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa; Chris Winitana (Te Reo Māori) Tōku reo, Tōku Ohooho, Robert Jahnke (Arts) Tirohanga o Mua: Looking Back;  Joseph Pere (Biography) Wiremu Pere; and Te Ara Encyclopaedia of New Zealand (Non-Fiction) Te Taiao: Māori and the Natural World.

From week ending 11 November 2011

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

Report from Chief Scientific Advisor (and Taskforce) on Adolescence: omnibus excerpt

From week ending June 3, 2011

On Wednesday, The Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister, Dr Peter Gluckman, released a report on adolescence; Improving the transition: reducing social and psychological morbidity during adolescence.  The report is an extensive synthesis of national and international academic literature of adolescence, and the risks that present for that age group.  This is a part of the Drivers of Crime policy work, to reduce levels of at risk young people.

Dr Gluckman and his team determine that at least 20% of young New Zealanders are at risk of negative long-term outcomes.  They further deduce that risk indicators first present in early childhood, and are best addressed in those younger age years.

In relation to policy interventions, Dr Gluckman’s Taskforce asserts that many social policy interventions in New Zealand do not have a sufficiently strong scientific basis, resulting in ineffective programmes and expenditure across education, health and social services sectors.

In relation to Māori, risk levels are noted to be higher than non-Māori, but no statistical figures are provided.  Dr Gluckman and his team conclude that, “a major focus should be the development of policies and practices that address the issues that place Māori and Pasifika young people at greater risk”.  The report also emphasises that it is a young person’s context that matters most.  That is, children who experience multiple risk factors (e.g. poverty, violence) are most likely to present as at-risk adolescents – regardless of ethnicity.

There is a specific chapter on Adolescent Development for Māori, prepared by Professor Chris Cunningham. This chapter outlines theories used to explain Māori economic and social disparities.  It concludes that Māori children are over-represented in at-risk settings, that there is much descriptive research on this, but few robustly proven interventions.   

In our assessment, this report does not offer new information for those engaged in the social policy sector.  That is acceptable, however, as the report’s intent was to apply an objective, evidence-based lens to the existing policy settings – a task which is thoroughly undertaken.  For the Government the report reconfirms that early intervention is the key to lifelong social wellbeing, that many of its programmes need to be challenged for effectiveness, and that targeting resources to specific at-risk groups is required.  In our assessment this is a useful outcome.  (It would be interesting, for example, if the scientific base that Dr Gluckman’s suggests is essential for better outcomes, was tested for in emerging policy – such as the findings of the Welfare Working Group.) 

For subscribers with sufficient time, this 300 page report does contain a full discussion on social policy and research matters relating to adolescence.  For those with less time available, the 15 page Executive Summary clearly presents the main issues and key recommendations.  For those with an academic interest in theories of Māori social policy, the Cunningham chapter will also be of interest.  However overall we found the essence of Dr Gluckman’s report to be well captured in the succinct opening three page letter to the Prime Minister.