The biggest debate in Maoridom?

Fran O’Sullivan in her omnibus article in the Herald touches on a key point for me about Maori politics:

The Waitangi Treaty plays a role as the founding document for this nation. But grievances still dominate.

I agree with Shearer that we all need a break from the anger and dysfunction that has come to represent Waitangi Day.

But the Maori and Mana parties seem determined to leverage it as the fulcrum for their discontent over the Government’s plan to ensure that the partial sale of state assets is free of any encumbrance from the Treaty of Waitangi clauses in the existing state-owned enterprises legislation. That plan may already have come a cropper. But is it really the biggest debate in Maoridom?

If we gave ourselves a break from the tensions that Waitangi Day provides, we might just find Maori concentrate on the long overdue debate they need to have.

The debate about why a two-tiered Maori society has developed: The major iwi leadership groups keen to invest in the state-owned assets when they go up for sale, and the ordinary Maori who have waited for far too long for tribal aristocrats to invest a major portion of the proceeds of the settlements in developing their prospects.

Former Labour Cabinet minister John Tamihere is starting to beat a drum on this issue. He walked the Bastion Point heights and lamented the dreadful living standards many urban Maori live in while the elites build their intergenerational wealth. He wants them to fund today’s generations – not just tomorrow’s.

I’ll start listening to Maori carping about some clauses in legislation regarding asset sales when they stop killing their kids with alarming frequency. These are the issues that Maori politicians should be focussing on not featherbedding the Maori elites and bro-racracy. John Tamihere is right in focusing the issues of that are actually affecting Maori.

Maori are the top of all the wrong statistics, but we see their “leaders” focus on tiny insignificant clauses in legislation. It is bizarre that the Treaty can affect a modern construct such as Mixed Ownership Model.

The treaty has no bearing, influence or control over private companies or private citizens, it is high time we all moved on from looking backwards to 1840 and started focussing on the New Zealand we want in 2040.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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