Treaty of Waitangi

Trotter on John Key’s history lesson

Chris Trotter isn’t taking the lefty stance of mocking John Key’s version of history after the stupid Waitangi Tribunal decision.

THE PRIME MINISTER, John Key, has been much mocked over the past week for his claim that New Zealand was settled peacefully. Hoots of derision have echoed through the Twittersphere from those who profess to know their New Zealand history a great deal better than the Prime Minister.

Are they right? Is Mr Key wrong?

It might help to place the Prime Minister’s comments in context. His remarks followed the Waitangi Tribunal finding that the tribal chieftains of the far-North did not cede sovereignty to the British Crown when they signed the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840.

This finding is considerably more controversial than anything the Prime Minister decided to offer by way of commentary. The Auckland-based historian, Paul Moon, has already derided the Tribunal’s historical conclusions, and his intervention is unlikely to be the last.

The tribunal’s decision will likely be ignored.

A crucial element of the settled view is that the Maori chieftains who signed the Treaty, many of whom had enjoyed long and mutually beneficial relationships with the Europeans who had taken up residence in New Zealand since Cook’s exploratory voyages of the late eighteenth century, knew exactly what they were agreeing to at Waitangi on 6 February 1840.

Captain William Hobson was guaranteeing them the inviolability of their traditional territories and the safety of their people. In the light of what had befallen the iwi and hapu of Niu Tirani (New Zealand) between 1769 and 1840, the existential value of these guarantees is readily appreciated.

The indigenous population of these islands at the time of first European contact is estimated at 100,000. Between 1800 and 1830 as many as 30,000 Maori were killed and/or driven from their traditional lands by enemy iwi and hapu armed with the devastating military technology of the Pakeha. The protection of Queen Victoria (symbolising the world’s most powerful nation) was what they needed. Hobson offered it. The chiefs grabbed it with both hands.    Read more »

Muppet Mayor Mandates Maori quota

These muppets never give in, it is bad enough in Auckland having unelected Maori board members lording it over us all, but now the Mayor of New Plymouth is proposing that all councils have 50% of council seats allocated to Maori.

It is breathtaking racism and wonky thinking.

I doubt he will be mayor for long.

New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd has taken his fight for Maori representation a step further, calling for a law change so up to half of all councillors in New Zealand are Maori.

Judd, already fighting critics over his council’s plans to create a Maori ward, believes there should be more Maori representation across the country to better reflect the Treaty of Waitangi.

“The reasonable interpretation of the Treaty is that you would have fifty-fifty representation around the table,” Judd said.

“We should be incorporating the Maori perspective around council tables, and ultimately that would mean up to half the representation each.”  Read more »

David Rankin on the Waitangi Tribunal decision

Today the Waitangi tribunal tried to rewrite law by issuing their decision that that Maori chiefs who signed the Treaty of Waitangi did not cede sovereignty.

Shortly thereafter David Rankin of Ngapuhi issued a press release:

Iwi leader says Tribunal ignored testimony and defames his ancestor

The Ngapuhi leader David Rankin (a descendent of the nineteenth century warrior chief Hone Heke) says that the Waitangi Tribunal report on Maori sovereignty, which is released today, defames his famous ancestor.

Mr Rankin gave evidence at a Waitangi Tribunal hearing which led to this report.  His testimony included details of the oral history of the treaty signing and how the rangatira [chiefs] at the time regarded political developments that were occurring:

“When our tupuna, Hone Heke, signed the Treaty of Waitangi, he did so because he know it was the only option in terms of having a relationship with the British Crown.  But the tribunal is now telling us that all those chiefs saw the Declaration of Independence, which a few had signed in 1835, as being the basis of their relationship with the British.  That is a lie and that is not what the tribunal was told.

Mr Rankin says the Tribunal report defames the memory of Hone Heke, and of his whanau’s oral histories, and that if the tribunal refuses to alter the report to reflect the testimony he provided at the hearing, he will lodge a Treaty claim against the tribunal itself, which will be a first in Treaty history, for prejudicial effect.

On top of that Paul Moon, a notable historian has also come out saying much the same thing.  Read more »

Waitangi National Trust busted in a lie

The Waitangi National Trust has found themselves in a spot of bother.

They decided to start charging Kiwis again for access to the Treat Grounds at Waitangi and have mounted a PR campaign to justify it.

Lazy media have bought their cry of poverty…like the Herald.

Visitors to the splendid Treaty grounds at Waitangi probably assume the taxpayers of New Zealand happily pay for the facilities there. What could be a more worthy or natural public expense than the preservation of that place? In fact, it is run by a private trust with income from the estate of a former Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, supplemented by a charge to visitors.

Fortunately the grounds are not completely fenced and it is possible to reach the historic site for no charge, but the convenient entrance has always carried a fee. The entrance has been made attractive and informational, taking visitors through a building containing displays. The $12 door charge caused no audible outrage from the public, but in 2008 Helen Clark’s Government argued, quite rightly, that New Zealanders should not have to pay. The Waitangi National Trust agreed and made entry free for everyone except overseas tourists who would be charged $25 to cover the lost income.

In recent years the trust has struggled to cover its costs, blaming a decline in tourism following the Global Financial Crisis.

Read more »

Taking property by deceit

Stephen Franks blogs about The Historic Places Trust being able to literally take your property on the basis of some weasel words in the legislation.

It deserves wider attention, and so I re-post it in full.

I’ve been around the law and politics for some time. Legislation is moulded by politics. Some politicians insist on obscure language to disguise the real effect of law, to delay opponents realising how far it goes. I understand that. We live in a democracy. Democracies need politicians who act to minimise the number who want to vote them out. So a law-writing  hand may get  an irresistible urge to obfuscate .

Until recently we had some protection from Parliamentary Counsel. There was a convention supporting some gate-keeper role in rejecting such deceit, but it seems that semi-constitutional filter has gone.

There are less cynical and offensive ways to deceive the public, but deceptively written law is becoming “normal”. Few lawyers in Parliament have the background to detect it, which may have something to do with selections for identity group ‘reflection’ instead of established merit.

The increase may also be because the deceitful hand is not necessarily that of  the politician.  Officials with an agenda their elected masters won’t like have the time to hide their obfuscations deep in dense language. Politicians may not work out what they are voting for until too late.

A Bill well through the Parliamentary process ‘updating’ the Historic Places Trust legislation is a classic example. The 1993 Act over-rode property rights, but only for the unfortunates who happen to own really old places, The replacement Bill turns that limited exception into general contempt for the property rights. Now they are to be confiscated from pretty much anyone with property that “Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga” finds appealing. The Board can declare a place to be category 1 or 2 protected (economically seized for practical purposes) if they are satisfied of its “significance or value in relation to” any one or more of its:

  • ‘Technical accomplishment, value, or design’;
  • ‘Symbolic or commemorative value’;
  • ‘Community association’;
  • ‘Public esteem’;
  • ‘Potential for public education’;
  • ‘Importance to tangata whenua’;
  • ‘Extent to which it forms part of a wider 
cultural area’.

Observe that none of those need have anything to do with history.   Read more »

Wall Street Journal praises tribe: are you watching up north?

Ngai Tahu comes in for significant plaudits from one of the highest sources of praise possible – the Wall Street Journal.

Then, in 1998, the tribe made a bold bet. Rather than distribute a historic 170 million New Zealand dollars (US$144 million currently) settlement with the New Zealand government among its people, it invested the money in everything from real estate and stocks to tourist attractions.

A series of astute investments have since transformed Ngāi Tahu’s fortunes, enabling leaders to pump funds into restoring its meeting houses and supporting health and education programs. In doing so, the 50,000-strong Ngāi Tahu has become one of New Zealand’s wealthiest tribes even as it eschews opportunities such as gambling that run counter to its values. A number of New Zealanders of Ngāi Tahu descent have gone on to international success, including rugby player Piri Weepu.

“It is a hand up, not a handout,” said Mark Solomon, chairman of Ngāi Tahu’s tribal council.  Read more »

A reader emails about John Key, Act and Maori

A reader emails:

New Zealand National Party leader John Key wit...

New Zealand National Party leader John Key with the press (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi Cam

I would like to make some comment that picks up on a series of posts that have run on your blog over the last month or so covering 3 broad subjects.

The post subjects broadly are:

1. Your most recent post with John Key mixing it up with students at Auckland Uni

2. The possible rejuvenation of ACT and the appointment of Richard Prebble as Campaign Director; and

3. John Key attending (should he?) Waitangi Day;

Bear with me as I pull this all together.

In your post on John Key’s visit to Auckland Uni titled “This is why John Key is the most popular PM in history” your opening statement stated “John Key loves to be himself.  It is a major reason why people warm to him and he continues to be our most popular PM in history.”  Dead right.

I want to put forward what I believe is the other major reason he is the most popular PM in NZ history.  In my view the other major reason often lost sight of is the fact that National voters and potential National voters are represented in every grouping in NZ – the poor, students, public servants, Maori, attendees  at Te Ti Marae on Waitangi and the list goes on, and John Key recognises this and makes a point of engaging with most of these groups being himself.

A critical mistake any political party can make (and in my view a mistake National is all to often guilty of) is to assume that there are little or no votes in particular groups.  Media play on this.  For example media give the impression that Maori only vote for Labour and more recently the Maori Party and Mana.  Bullshit.  There are plenty of Maori that vote for National, and ACT for that matter.  While I am at, there are also Pakeha who vote for the Maori Party which really blurs what Tariana Turia was referring to when she used to use the statement  “our people”.

John Key I think recognises this.  He generally does not fear or favour particular groups.  Gay Pride? sweet I will attend.  Kingi doesn’t want me at Waitangi Day 2015? Tough shit I will attend.  Auckland Uni (and any Uni for that matter) a hotbed of radical idealistic Marxist youth – yeah I’ll visit.   Read more »

All about votes? Rubbish, I’ll cost votes

Some Ngapuhi are claiming that John Key’s offer of a cash inducement to settle Ngapuhi’s long outstanding claims are all about votes.

Adam Bennett reports in the NZ Herald.

Ngapuhi factions say Prime Minister John Key used his Waitangi Day speech as a platform to prematurely force a historic settlement with Ngapuhi in election year for political gain.

In his speech yesterday, Mr Key held out the prospect of an advance payment against the eventual settlement for New Zealand’s largest iwi.

He challenged Ngapuhi to put aside its differences to enable that and said he was keen to see a deal struck this year.

He noted other iwi had previously received similar advance payments.

Chairman of Ngapuhi’s runanga Sonny Tau welcomed the offer but said it would seek a final settlement of as much as $600 million – four times bigger than the landmark Tainui, Ngai Tahu or Tuhoe settlements.

Mr Key’s response was: “You’ve got to dream big but it doesn’t mean we’ll be writing a cheque for that amount.”  Read more »

Thoughts on Waitangi Day and Te Tai Tokerau

Of course today is meant to be the day we celebrate being New Zealanders, have some national pride and put aside our differences to share the day together as one people. It is not meant to be a day of protesting, discussing treaty claims or even looking negatively on the past through anger tinted glasses but one for looking into the future.

But we all know that is a load of bollocks don’t we. It is a day for the Harawira clan and their fellow protesters band of angry mud and fish slinging thugs to hijhack (with a lending hand by the media) for their own agenda. One would gather from watching the yearly feral fandangle that there was mass public protests against a  group of people who are continuously suppressed and disadvantaged by successive governments for decades, mistreated  and deliberately isolated from inclusion of society. Read more »

Clever stuff by John Key

John Key is a master politician.

Check this out from Waitangi:

Before the fish protest Key had attempted to convince local iwi leaders that fossil fuel exploration was in Maori interests. He invited the leaders of the hikoi to Wellington to spend a week with his ministers going over the facts around environmental risks and job creation.

“If I am wrong and you are right, I will walk out and join that protest,” he said.  Read more »