Greens, Kermadec sanctuary, Treaty of Waitangi

When the Government announced the Kermadec ocean sanctuary the Greens applauded it.

But the Greens are usually also staunch about Treaty of Waitangi issues, and so far they appear to be virtually silent over the Maori protest about the lack of consultation over the sanctuary and the scrapping of fishing quota given as part of a Treaty agreement.

Greens applaud great start by Government over Kermadecs

The Green Party is excited by the news that the Government is creating an ocean sanctuary at the Kermadecs and hope that more is to come.

“We’re delighted the Government has picked up the Kermadec ocean sanctuary concept that has been in a Green private member’s Bill drafted by Gareth Hughes several years ago,” said Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The Green Party has plenty of other great initiatives and ideas and we’re more than happy to work with any party to get the best outcome for New Zealand and its people.

Last month in parliament Sage pushed for more sanctuaries:

Eugenie Sage questions the Minister for the Environment about deep sea marine protection

Eugenie Sage: Given the widespread support for the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, is he really convinced that his new marine protected areas legislation cannot provide a simple process to create new marine protected areas in the exclusive economic zone, which comprises 94 percent of our ocean environment?

Two weeks later…

Eugenie Sage speaks on the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill first reading

The Green Party is very pleased to be supporting the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill, establishing a new marine reserve in New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone around the Kermadec Islands. We have had a member’s bill in the ballot, prepared by Gareth Hughes, for some time, to establish a marine protected area at the Kermadecs. We congratulated the Government when it announced its intention to create this ocean sanctuary at the United Nations in the run-up to an international oceans conference last year.

We are very pleased to support the bill.

Sage went on to praise the bill and the sanctuary, but did raise a concern about the lack of “engagement with Māori interests prior to it being announced”.

There was one concern: the departmental disclosure statement did note that because of the secrecy around the project, there was not engagement with Māori interests prior to it being announced.

That was disappointing, but we note that there has been extensive consultation with Ngāti Kurī and Te Aupōuri subsequently.

Te Ohu Kaimoana has raised a concern about the potential impact on fishing rights allocated to iwi under the fisheries settlement, but I would note that there has been no fishing undertaken in the Kermadec region using the settlement quota in the past 10 years, so Te Ohu Kaimoana seems concerned about the potential fishing rights rather than the actual ones—and the biodiversity values far outweigh the fishing values.

So Sage expressed ‘disappointment’ that there was no Māori consultation but doesn’t refer to any Treaty of Waitangi commitments, instead saying simply that that “the biodiversity values far outweigh the fishing values”.

What about the importance of a fishery quota agreement made with the Government?

Yesterday six prominent Maori leaders slammed the decision to create the sanctuary, saying they weren’t consulted and it takes fishery quotas off them that they were given in a Treaty of Waitangi agreement with the Government.

See Kermadec sanctuary and Treaty of Waitangi

So far Greens appear to have commented very little on this.I can’t see anything on their website in News or on their blog. Nothing on their Facebook page.

Leader Metiria Turei has a ‘Protect our deep oceans’ image prominent on her Facebook page but no mention of the Maori protest there.

Eugenie Sage did link to Māori leaders fight Kermadec sanctuary plans on her Facebook page yesterday, but added these comments:

Currently at Kermadec science symposium where speakers are outlining the many wonders of the Kermadecs. We need to keep parts of our oceans for nature, free from fishing, mining and drilling and other exploitation. Not sure how TOKM thinks that will be achieved without the law changes. Is TOKM saying that quota rights are absolute ?

TOKM refers to the Māori fisheries trust Te Ohu Kaimoana which filed a case against the sanctuary in the High Court in Wellington last month.

There has been a big public discussion about the value of protecting the last six years and as Harry Burchardt of Ngati Kuri said this morning, the establishment of a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary and protection of Rangitahua, the stopping place is a decision equivalent to making Aotearoa nuclear free.

Greens are usually staunch about doing things properly when there’s any Treaty of Waitangi issue.

Except when there’s something that’s more important to them, like a marine sanctuary?

Leave a comment


  1. Cody

     /  12th April 2016

    Its absolutely delicious when PC meets PC and nobody knows which way to look. Of course Maori won’t see it that way, more a breach of contract.

    I wonder if Metiria Turei feels like meat in a sandwich- Morris dancing meets tikanga.
    If I was her I would go with the Morris dancing as she’s already a non-entity within Maoridom.

    What do you think Pickled Possum.? Would you like to give the forum a Maori perspective from the Ngapuhi point of view?

    • Pickled Possum

       /  12th April 2016

      No Cody I would not like to put myself up against people with a firmly held view against all that is Maori including the Treaty I do not have the energy today plus the garden is calling Again, and for future reference I am NOT Ngapuhi I just live in TTT thru consequences of family needs. 🙂

      • Corky

         /  12th April 2016

        To set the record straight I posted with the wrong name. It should have read Corky for the above comments. Enjoy your gardening.

  2. Brown

     /  12th April 2016

    This is just a case of a govt doing something stupid some years ago and not liking consequences. Dumb is as dumb does – Maori have always been good at chasing a $ and were never guardians of the resources they make themselves out to be. The Greens can be ignored because they should be.

    • @ Brown – And Maori culture couldn’t possibly change, advance or evolve, right? Not like our culture does.

      Resource use and guardianship has always been an incredibly complex task for any people, yes, even before European ‘Law’, involving inevitable compromise. What do you think a karakia or prayer means before cutting down a tree or cutting harakeke? It’s an acknowledgement of making a compromise with Nature … whatever else it may be for Maori (which I don’t know) … leastwise that’s my Pakeha take on it …

      One thing you make a very sound argument for Brown, is that a pervasive Pakeha attitude hasn’t changed much … grotesquely ugly and spirit diminishing though it is … a poverty of spirit I refuse to share with you …

      If it was a bunch of Pakeha entreprenuers “chasing the $” you’d be applauding them.

      • Traveller

         /  12th April 2016

        How anyone can disagree with the wonderful creation of a marine sanctuary, free of commercial plunder astounds me.

        Māori aren’t winning any friends from any quarter. They want to retain the right to commercially fish in an area they haven’t taken single fish in over a decade, and they want to do this why? Because they claim it runs counter to a 1992 agreement.

        Dr Smith however says that the Government “always retained the right to create protected areas where fishing would be disallowed”, which makes perfect sense. Clearly this will be taken to court by the complainants but I’m hoping there are some moderate voices in Māori who can get in first and show some unfamiliar largesse and put the environment, marine sanctuary and the greater good before their own commercial greed.

        • Gezza

           /  12th April 2016

          That might put a different light on things but it would still have been wise to go to them and say that. The result of not doing so is this. I don’t agree with compensation by the way.

        • Sorry, I don’t know for certain the complainants want to prevent the marine reserve?

          Perhaps they have “the greater good” in mind, it being the government keeping its 1992 agreement? Keeping its promises? The outcome might be they agree to the sanctuary?

          The situation might also signal runctions within co-called ‘Maoridom’, which plays into the hands of those predisposed to harsh ‘universal’ judgement across-the-board. As I understand it, aside from being individual people, Maori are independent hapu and iwi ‘polities’ who may hold differing views. We accept this among Pakeha people and groups?

          For the above reason I apologise for saying “pervasive Pakeha attitutes” instead of “pervasive attitudes of many Pakeha people”.

          As a Maori spokesman said on RNZ, “Just because I own a vacant section in Auckland doesn’t mean the government can take it off me, even to create a reserve”.

    • Corky

       /  12th April 2016

      Quite true Brown. Maori, like Europeans of that time, were products of that time- ignorant in many ways by today’s standard. The poor Moa was wiped out, along with hapu who couldn’t hold their own in the continuous inter-tribal warfare raging up and down the country. That of course left little time for the so-called ” protection of resources” revisionist history would have us believe.

      So it should come as no surprise when PZ proffers comments like this:

      ”One thing you make a very sound argument for Brown, is that a pervasive Pakeha attitude hasn’t changed much … grotesquely ugly and spirit diminishing though it is … a poverty of spirit I refuse to share with you … ”

      Talking of “grotesquely ugly and spirit diminishing” I think that same description could be applied to short-comings in Maori attitudes, if only we could have a conversation about those without harking back to European culture and beliefs.

  3. Conspiratoor

     /  12th April 2016

    Time has made the treaty redundant and the international law of ‘rebus sic stantibus’ should apply “treaties become inapplicable because of a fundamental change of circumstances”.

    Perhaps it is time we let the democratic majority decide whether to treat the treaty as a historic relic and annul the thing. Far from protecting the rights of indigenous people it has degenerated into a mechanism for lining the pockets of a select few troughists.

    Let’s get serious about a real constitution and begin the journey towards a republic

    • @ Conspiratoor – “Let’s get serious about a real constitution and begin the journey towards a republic”.

      I totally agree with you; a process within which the position of Te Tiriti o Waitangi ‘going forward’ will be absolutely unavoidable. Bring it on!

      International law is essentially Western and greatly informed by colonisation. It doesn’t recognise many forms of law which co-existed with it all along or possibly pre-date it.

      “Democratic majority” decision where indigenous colonial minorities are concerned is especially prone to ‘tyranny of the majority’ due to institutionalised racism, among other factors.

      And there’s ‘troughers’ all around us … all races, colours and creeds of troughers …
      Troughers here, troughers there, troughers everywhere!

      • Dougal

         /  12th April 2016

        To be fair Parti, the wider majority of troughers are in Wellington.

        • @ Dougal – You just haven’t worked it out yet and hence you can’t recognise corporate troughers when you see them. Perhaps you are one?

          You think the contract policy makers, friends of neoliberalism to a man, aren’t troughers? Meanwhile a person who commits their life to public service and therefore gets paid by the government is a trougher, right? Some of the contract troughers are, in fact, former bureaucrats who fitted the neoliberal mold, who were prepared to write the ‘right’ policy.

          More likely you haven’t been stung by a corporate trougher yet? Unlike so many ‘mum and dad’ investors in the GFC.

          “In New Zealand, universities almost uniquely have a statutory duty to preserve and enhance academic freedom and act as critic and conscience of society” Education Act 1989, secs 161 & 162(4)(a)(v).

          Bloody troughers eh!?

          • Conspiratoor

             /  12th April 2016

            Key difference party boy. Corporate troughers don’t generally feed at the tax payers trough. They milk their own shareholders, folks that have a choice. Dwell on that for a mo

            • Dwelt on it for all of about 7 seconds Conspiratoor.

              What’s the most lucrative form of corporation? SOE? Government procurement and supply? Local Body infrastructure services provider? Private strategic policy advice contractor to government [and others]? Merchant bank, sale of state assetts? Plenty of corporate troughers getting paid in part or full by the taxpayer.

              Not to mention corporate troughers who get or got paid by the taxpayer to set policy whereby they can or could trough their own investors, with all the responsibility falling on the investor to do due dilligence. Not ethics. Never up-front ethics. Due diligence. Sanctioned troughing.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  12th April 2016

        You’re still failing to grasp the distinction so I’ll have one more attempt
        Private companies with government or local body contracts are milking the taxpayer. These are open to rort but there is generally a high threshold of probity so we are reasonably safe there.
        This might seem harsh but mum and dad investor who have been fleeced by blue chip or Hanover need to look at themselves in the mirror.
        And why 7 seconds? You’re slipping

        • Yep that’s right, as I’ve pointed out. Analogously, it’s entirely the parents’ and childrens’ responsibility to keep themselves safe around dangerous dogs …

          No need for the Blue Chips and Hanovers and Lombards or any of the other 33 collapsed finance companies (I know of) to act responsibly …

          Let the dogs rule!


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