Chris Finlayson – valedictory statement

“Some people please wherever they go; other people please whenever they go.”

Chris Finlayson, National list MP since 2005 and ex Attorney general, Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, gave his valedictory speech in his last day in Parliament yesterday.

Praise for some (from several parties) – some were to be expected, but of note is a special mention for Nikki Kay’s determination. a few jokes and barbs, and quite a few suggestions – like promoting a four year term. And while he opposes term limits for MPs he suggests a a compulsory sabbatical after five three-year terms or four four-year terms, which “would allow MPs to re-enter the real world and if they are odd enough to want to come back, well, they can do so.”

Finlayson’s speech (with some edits):

Mr Speaker, I have to say, I’m delighted to be leaving. In fact, I would have gone sooner, but I stayed on a few more months for a few reasons. First, Jim Bolger advised me not to go straight after the new Government was formed but to wait until about October, and I always follow the advice of Jim Bolger.

I have to say, secondly, I’ve really enjoyed the camaraderie of the caucus, especially getting to know and work with the 2017 intake.

Thirdly, I’ve been very keen to progress reform of the law of contempt, a hugely important topic I had spent many, many years trying to advance, and it’s one of the ironies of politics that I succeeded in Opposition. The recent debate over suppression orders shows why the bill is so very important. It’s now in the Justice Committee, in safe hands, and so I don’t need to stay until the bill is enacted.

Could I begin with the acknowledgments. In no particular hierarchy or order, I want first to acknowledge my opponents. The Labour opponents that I had in Mana and Rongotai, Winnie Laban, Annette King, and Paul Eagle and their spouses, are very, very nice people. I really enjoyed their company. The campaigns were pleasant and issues-focused.

I have to say I have great respect for social democracy, though I prefer liberal conservatism. But I still admire the courage of the 1984-87 Labour Government in the economics area, even if the Labour Party doesn’t. The changes they made were essential and overdue.

Can I say something about the Greens—far from me politically in many areas, but we always got on well. Kennedy Graham is someone I regard as a good friend, a man of principle and courage, and someone who still has a lot to contribute, and I hope that party can look beyond divisions of the past and use his talents.

I also acknowledge James Shaw and, particularly, Teall Crossen, who was the Green candidate in Rongotai in 2017. I think she has a great future, or perhaps she had a great future till I started praising her.

… I now turn to talk about New Zealand First. The most I can say to them is: thank you very much for not choosing the National Party in 2017. As is well-known, I think we dodged a bullet. That decision lays the foundations for a National Government in 2020.

Then, there’s my National Party family, but especially Judy Kirk, whose decency and warmth helped the National Party recover in 2002.

I need to say something about the media, because they are not the enemy and should never be referred to in that way. Their work is essential to our democracy. I promised Tova O’Brien I would say this: I especially acknowledge the young, clever, and classy TV3 team, Audrey Young, who’s the best bush lawyer in Wellington, and I’d better mention Claire Trevett and Barry Soper, otherwise they’ll get snarky.

I’ve almost forgiven Guyon Espiner, who taught me a very good lesson: do not appear on Morning Report just after you’ve woken up. I remember very well the morning he interviewed me and put a proposition to me from Metiria Turei, and I said, “Oh, well that’s what happens when one is dealing with a left-wing loon.”

And he put another proposition to me, and I said, “Well, that’s what happens when one is dealing with a right-wing loon.”, and he said, “Well that commentator was John Key.” The message came down from the ninth floor that if I wanted to be Minister for Consumer Affairs I was on the right track.

‘ve worked for so many iwi over the years, so many people to mention: my old friend O’Regan’s sitting up there from Ngāi Tahu; Vanessa Eparaima from Ngāti Raukawa; the gentleman, kind Tiwha Bell from Maniapoto; the wise Tāmati Kruger from Tūhoe; Kirsti Luke from Tūhoe also of Ngāpuhi, who needs to go to Ngāpuhi to sort out of few of her cousins; and all of my wonderful colleagues in Taranaki. I especially mention my friends in Parihaka, who cannot be here tonight because of their commitment on the 18th of each month. People have said some nice things about me in recent days but these people are the ones who made the settlements happen.

I also acknowledge John Key and Bill English, without whose active support nothing would have been achieved.

I also acknowledge John Key and Bill English, without whose active support nothing would have been achieved. I say to Andrew Little that this is the best job in Government. Don’t worry about setbacks. Just when it seems a negotiation has gone all wrong something very good can and invariably does happen. I mean who knows, Sonny Tau could decide to go and live in Iceland!

Lastly and most importantly, my family: I acknowledge my mother, who is Annette King’s second cousin, a great person.

So that’s the nice warm stuff, and now for the inevitable lecture. Although I cannot wait to leave, I have great respect for the institution of Parliament. I think there are ways to improve our institution, and I outline a few of them now.

How long should the Parliamentary term be? I think it needs to be four years—three years is too short. A longer term will make for an effective Parliament. The proposal to lengthen the term failed in a referendum many years ago. It’s time to revisit the issue.

How long should MPs be permitted to serve? Imposition of term limits as a non-starter, but I think there should be a compulsory sabbatical after five three-year terms or four four-year terms—don’t look at me like that. A break would allow MPs to re-enter the real world and if they are odd enough to want to come back, well, they can do so.

How should parties be funded? A very important question, because generally I think our funding rules work well. But I have become concerned about funding of political parties by non-nationals. That’s why I think both major parties need to work together to review the rules relating to funding. I have a personal view that it should be illegal for non-nationals to donate to our political parties.

One of the things that amazes me in this place is that there really is a lack of practical understanding of the separation of powers. For example, the Ministry of Justice constantly fails to recognise the judiciary as a separate branch of Government, and sometimes the courts overstep the mark with Parliament when they go too far with Parliamentary privilege, as they did—David Parker knows these things. We passed the Parliamentary Privilege Act. Now, Parliament must deal with the consequences of the prisoner voting case. Parliament could nullify the decision, as we did in 2014, or recognise the court’s jurisdiction, provided Parliament makes it clear that there is no jurisdiction to strike down legislation. This will be an intensely important issue for Parliament in 2019. I shall be watching it with great interest from the sidelines.

Finally, I want to address a few comments to my fellow National MPs—my friends and colleagues for many years, a diverse and a talented bunch, you lot. I’ve said quite a bit over recent times about John Key and Bill English, so my praise for those two great New Zealanders can be taken as read. I have no intention of saying any more nice things about Ian McKelvie. He’s had his quota. But I do want to say something about two MPs I greatly admire.

First, Gerry Brownlee: when the history of the Key Government is written, his work rebuilding a shattered city will be regarded as that Government’s greatest achievement. I witnessed in Cabinet his absolute commitment to and compassion for his fellow Cantabrians. Sometimes I felt that his contribution has been taken for granted—well, not by me, because I think he’s a great New Zealander.

And secondly I want to acknowledge Nikki Kaye, who won Auckland Central in 2008 and has held it since then. Auckland Central is very like Rongotai, except Nikki wins Auckland Central. She was a Minister with a brilliant future and, as we know, was very unwell last year, but she fought that cancer and is doing a tremendous job in Opposition. I strongly support her bill on teaching foreign languages. She’s an example to all of us of grit, of courage, and of determination.

…New Zealand needs a liberal conservative Government in 2020. Some say we have no friends; I think friendship’s overrated—just a joke. But I actually think we’re turning back into a two-party State.

I think the SOE model is past its use-by date; in particular, Landcorp needs to go and its farms need to be sold to iwi. In my nine years as Minister for Treaty of Waitangi negotiations, I regret to say—well, Ron Mark knows these things—I always found Landcorp difficult and uncooperative.

We need to continue to update our constitution. The Senior Courts Act is now law and soon we’re going to have a Parliament Act—I hope. Then we need to review the Treaty of Waitangi Act. There have been some complaints recently that insufficient attention is paid to the tribunal’s recommendations; it would help if they were more practical. The shares plus decision, for example, was described as incoherent and ignoring basic principles of company law. And finally, we need to pass the Te Ture Whenua Bill in the first 100 days of a new administration. The product of a careful review and many years’ consultation, it’s going to provide landowners with a world-class regime of registration and dispute resolution.

When I delivered my maiden speech from this very seat in November 2005, I said the liberal conservative was concerned to govern and the public good and the national interest, confident in the knowledge that this is a great country full of talented and decent people. Other countries have problems; New Zealand has a project—an exciting, sometimes difficult, but nevertheless achievable project. As I give my last speech in the House today in the same place where I started, I stand by those words. I’m very pleased to be going, but grateful I’ve had the opportunity to serve.

Members probably know the old wisecrack, “Some people please wherever they go; other people please whenever they go.”, and I’m sure many will be thinking the second part applies to me—although, I understand, not Mr Robertson. I have it on excellent authority that he’s distraught and is currently undergoing counselling.

In 2005, Michael Collins said in the Address in Reply debate that he wasn’t convinced of “this sort of Latinate habit of everyone kissing each other after every maiden speech”, and I agree. It’s a dreadful habit. I think the same principle applies to valedictories, so Mr Speaker, fellow members of the House, that’s all from me. If anyone needs a lawyer in the future, don’t bother me. All the best. Goodbye.

See also Imminent departure of MP Chris Finlayson

Imminent departure of MP Chris Finlayson

Chris Finlayson entered Parliament as a list MP in 2005. He had been ranked 27th on National’s list, high for a non-existing MP. National leader John Key placed Finlayson at 14 in his shadow cabinet, giving him some weighty responsibilities: Shadow Attorney-General, Shadow Treaty Negotiations Minister and Shadow Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister. He was also the Deputy Chairman of the Justice and Electoral Select Committee.

Retiring National MP Chris Finlayson at Parliament, Wellington, this week. Photo / Mark Mitchell

MP Chris Finlayson at Parliament, Wellington, this week. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Finlayson had a strong legal background which included treaty negotiations representing Ngai Tahu.

Finlayson was admitted to the Bar as a barrister and solicitor in 1981.[3] He was a partner in Brandon Brookfield from 1986 to 1990 and then in Bell Gully from 1991 to 2003. He has practised as a barrister sole at the Barristers.Comm chambers since 2003.

At Bell Gully he spent years fighting for Ngāi Tahu against the government, pursuing its treaty claims through a series of high-profile court battles. “I used to love going to the office in the morning when we were suing the Crown” Finlayson said in a speech in 2009. “Ngāi Tahu mastered the art of aggressive litigation, whether it was suing the Waitangi Tribunal and [National Treaty negotiations minister] Doug Graham or the Director-General of Conservation. It was take no prisoners and it resulted in a good settlement.”[5] The signing of the Treaty deal with Ngāi Tahu in 1997 was the highlight of his legal career.[4]

When National took over Government in 2008 until they lost out last year (2017) Finlayson was:

  • 32nd Attorney General of new Zealand
  • Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations
  • Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage

His role in treaty negotiations was generally praised.

Claire Trevett:  National MP Chris Finlayson’s farewell tour

His imminent departure from Parliament is having something of a liberating effect on National MP Chris Finlayson.

Within the first hour with the Weekend Herald he has told a story about a nun and a fly swat, described US President Donald Trump as “a dick” and described NZ First leader Winston Peters as much, much worse.

Finlayson is taking the Weekend Herald on a road trip of his favourite places by way of a farewell before he leaves Parliament and starts to spend more time in Auckland.

He will go back to what he calls his “first love”, law.

The exact field of law he intends to work in is rather boring – commercial arbitration – so let us not dwell on it.

Finlayson is famous for his intellect, his often-biting wit, and his effectiveness.

He is not famous for being a man of the people – he left that to the likes of former Prime Minister John Key.

I think that Finlayson was a very good example of a list MP, someone with a lot of experience and expertise who contributed a lot to Government but who didn’t have local electorate responsibilities.

On Trump:

But the first stop is the cafe next to the Khandallah swimming pool where he swam as a child.

He points to a photo of Jimmy the Cat, a much-adored cat, who was recently killed by a dog.

He tells the people at the cafe why we are there and assures them the cafe was the very top of his list of favourite places.

It is here, while posing for a photo, that he says whenever he has to force a smile he just thinks of US President Donald Trump.

Asked why, he says “because he’s a dick”.

He later says this is because he does not like populist politics.

“It gives me the creeps. It’s not the way I think countries should be organising themselves.”

Finlayson certainly wasn’t into populist politics.

Finlayson will deliver his valedictory on Tuesday, signing off on a career in politics that began in 2005.

In that time he oversaw an overhaul of the spy agencies’ powers.

His personal highlight was his appearance at the International Court of Justice in 2013 to set out New Zealand’s objections to Japan whaling.

But his most visible and enduring work was in Treaty settlements.

To Finlayson goes the credit for securing 59 Treaty settlements in nine years – the highest rate of any government.

That’s more than six settlements a year. His previous experience from the other side of the negotiating table was an obvious advantage in getting up to speed.

When National went back into Opposition, Tuhoe’s negotiator Tamati Kruger paid tribute to Finlayson for the emotional and intellectual connection he had with iwi.

“Easily we call him our friend.”

The Tuhoe settlement was a major success.

Alas, Ngāpuhi proved his Everest.

His successor Andrew Little has just learned for himself how intractable the Ngāpuhi hapū can be.

He insists he felt no moment of schadenfreude when Little’s attempts to get Ngāpuhi back to the negotiating table failed following a vote this week.

“I like Andrew, he’s doing a good job as the minister and I think it’s very important in that area that National and Labour do not criticise each other. I don’t think anyone could have done more than he did.”

Refreshing to see his non-partisan praise of Little.

Asked what he will miss about Parliament, he says “frankly, not much.”

He may miss the camaraderie of the caucus.

He did not like some modern developments in being an MP. He does not understand or want to understand social media, for instance.

Social media is an integral part of modern society and of modern politics, like it or not.

He lists his Favourite People.

It is pointed out he did not mention National leader Simon Bridges in his list.

“The fact is, you have your good years and your bad years but I think the party is still in very good heart and Simon can be very pleased we’ve ended the year on 46 per cent in the party vote.”

He does not pay much attention to the popularity of a leader.

“It’s a sad reality the leader of the Opposition always gets bagged. Low polling results are not necessarily an indicator of a lack of success.”

Not necessarily.

His least favourite people include Winston Peters, who had a hand in dispensing this fate: “someone once described Ronald Reagan as a triumph of the embalmer’s art. On a bad day, that’s what Winston reminds me of.”

I’m not surprised that Finlayson isn’t a fan of Peters the populist panderer (who was also a lawyer many moons ago before becoming an MP).

He enjoyed Opposition in his first term, from 2005 to 2008. But after nine years as a minister, it has somewhat lost its appeal. “I’ve found this year pretty boring, actually.”

It was an ideal start for Finlayson in Parliament, three years in opposition to become familiar with how Parliament worked, followed by nine years of putting things into practice.

Also not surprising that he is now bored with being in Opposition.

“I’ve done my dash, and I’m washed up,” Finlayson tells him.

Twelve years is probably long enough for a non-career politician with outside career prospects to battle in the bear pit.

He finds it ironic that it is Mallard – whose nickname for Finlayson was Tinkerbell – called a review into bullying, but thinks it is a good thing for the staff at Parliament.

Mallard long operated on the more bullying side of politics, but that shouldn’t detract from his efforts now to address it, at least between MPs and staff.

He has a good rep from the his own former staff as a generous boss.

So, he may after all be a man of some people. Just not people in general and certainly not Winston Peters or Donald Trump.

For the people in general, albeit distanced from most.

Finlayson ends is Parliamentary career as he started, ranked 14th in National’s shadow Cabinet.

Highlights of his 9 year Ministerial career include:

  • Signing 59 deeds of settlement with iwi, far more than any previous Minister and a record which will be impossible to beat
  • Reforming the legislation governing the intelligence agencies and securing major increases of funding so that the agencies are well equipped to protect New Zealanders against evils like terrorism and cyber crime.
  • Appearing for New Zealand in major international forums like the International Court of Justice on whaling and the U.N Security Council on terrorism.
  • Reforming much of the cultural legislation of this country, being responsible for the widely acclaimed New Zealand presence as guest of honour at the Frankfurt book fair in 2013, and being responsible for the World War One commemorations.

Legal blunder left 6 month NZSIS surveillance gap

Some journalism continues under the noise of media click baiting and copy/pasting and repeating.

David Fisher at NZH: Our spies disarmed by legal blunder amid ‘high threat operations’ against terrorists

A law-making bungle deprived our spies of a key weapon against terrorism in the wake of classified briefings warning of “an increasingly complex and escalating threat environment” in New Zealand.

NZ Security Intelligence Service documents revealed the blunder left our spies unable to use video surveillance tools to watch terrorism suspects in their cars, homes or workplaces for six months last year.

The documents, declassified and released through the Official Information Act, also revealed our spies have been involved in “high threat operations”.

It did not state what those operations were and NZSIS director-general Rebecca Kitteridge, in an interview with the NZ Herald, would not elaborate other than to say they involved police assistance.

She would not give details of the operations but said the NZSIS had taken active steps with the police to stop people who wanted to carry out terrorist attacks in New Zealand.

The details about the security situation in New Zealand is an unnerving backdrop to the blunder over warrants allowing visual surveillance.

Kitteridge revealed the hole in the law to former NZSIS minister Chris Finlayson last year.
In a memo on June 30, she said “the NZSIS no longer had the power to apply for a visual surveillance warrant” or to use emergency power to act without a warrant in emergencies.

The memo said warrants to allow visual surveillance were to “detect, investigate or prevent a terrorist act”.

But she said the NZSIS was unable to do so for six months after the old law expired on April 1 2017 because the new Intelligence and Security Act did not apply until September 28 2017.

Finlayson said he had gone through the law change “clause by clause with officials” and had told them “they had one last chance to indicate any concerns they may have had”.

“There were none.”

Finlayson said Parliament was in its closing stages prior to the election and he had “no intention of trying to ram stop-gap remedial legislation through the House”.

The new NZSIS Minister supports Finlayson’s judgement.

NZSIS minister Andrew Little said he supported Finlayson’s exercise of judgment and would have made the same decision.

A follow up at Newsroom: Officials to blame for spy law blunder – Finlayson

Former spy minister Chris Finlayson has thrown government officials under the bus for a blunder which deprived Kiwi spooks of visual surveillance tools, saying they would have been to blame had a terrorist attack occurred.

Speaking to media on Tuesday morning, Finlayson said he opposed an urgent law change due to the lack of time between the discovery of the blunder and the general election, coupled with criticism of his government’s previous use of urgency for intelligence laws and the drafting process for the new law.

“I had gone through that legislation, the draft legislation…clause by clause and I distinctly recall at the end of the meeting saying to people, ‘Right, state any further concerns or forever hold your peace, end of story’.”

There were “other mechanisms” that could have been used to cover the lack of visual surveillance powers, he said.

While the NZSIS had not explicitly raised the prospect of an urgent legislative fix, he believed Kitteridge’s briefings were “a precursor” to such a request.

Asked who would have been to blame had a terrorist attack occurred during the six months the NZSIS was without the powers, Finlayson replied bluntly, “They [the officials] would have been.”

Additional support from Little:

Current NZSIS Minister Andrew Little backed Finlayson’s decision to oppose urgent legislation, and said he did not believe New Zealand had been markedly more vulnerable during the six-month period.

“The security and intelligence agencies have a number of means and mechanisms to keep tabs on people who are regarded as a risk: visual surveillance is one of them, but in the relatively short period of time that they didn’t have access to powers to do that they were able to cover their needs off through other means,” Little said.

It’s difficult to know whether any damage was done by this blunder, but the danger period has now passed.

Contempt of Court law to be considered by Parliament

It’s a bit ironic that after nine years as Attorney-General it is from Opposition that Chris Finlayson is got a bill into Partliament that will consider Contempt of Court law changes that would toughen up on criticism of judges, especially via social media, and also publishing information that could prejudice an arrested person’s right to a fair trial .

Audrey Young (NZH): It took a move to Opposition for Chris Finlayson to make progress on contempt law

A proposed new law of contempt, setting boundaries for what can and can’t be said by the media, particularly social media, about defendants, trials and judges is going to be examined by Parliament.

One of the most controversial parts of the bill is likely to be penalties for making untrue allegations against judges, which will attract a fine of up to $50,000 or up to two years imprisonment.

Some abuse of judges was calculated to intimidate judges individually or collectively, said the bill’s sponsor, former Attorney-General Chris Finlayson.

I’ve seen what look like examples of this on a particular website that shouldn’t (mustn’t) be named here (for legal reasons).

“Such abuse is capable of undermining the rule of law. Judicial independence and impartiality is at the heart of the rule of law.”

The previous National Government commissioned the Law Commission to look at the law of contempt. It came up with plenty of recommendations and a draft bill to implement them.

But Finlayson was unable to convince the Ministry of Justice to make it a legislative priority so it languished.

So in Opposition Finlayson adopted the Law Commission’s bill as his own private member’s bill – which was recently drawn from the biscuit tin in the regular ballots for members’ bills.

So it is just by the luck of the draw that has enabled this to be considered by Parliament.

And Justice Minister Andrew Little will seek the support of his Cabinet colleagues to adopt it as a government bill after it passes its first reading, which is likely to be next week.

“Now that it has been drawn and has to be considered, we might as well do it properly,” Little said.

That’s very good to see from Little. He has made a good start as Minister of Justice in the Labour led government, on more than this issue.

The Administration of Justice (Reform of Contempt of Court) Bill will set those laws out in one place and come up with rules that will apply equally to mainstream media, and people commenting or blogging, tweeting or posting publicly through social media on the courts.

It will also cover disruptions in court, jurors who breach the rules by doing their own independent research, the enforcement of court orders, and malicious attacks on judges.

A lot of the time, people did not know what the boundaries were, including tweeters sitting in the back of a courtroom.

“I want to get this thing properly debated for the sake of the system,” said Finlayson.

“I think there is a danger in our system that we become obsessed when looking at justice questions with ‘law and order’ type issues and we don’t look at the other areas that are so fundamental to the efficient and successful running of our state.”

One of the issues on which he expected there would be debate was on criticism of judges.

Judges should not be immune from criticism for their decisions, he said.

“I’m not concerned about judges being criticised for their judgments but I am concerned about the abuse of judges and the attempts to intimidate judges, be it individually or collectively.

“Fair criticism is different from abuse.”

The aim of the bill was to make sure the boundaries were clear and people knew what they can and cannot do.

In the modern era of social media it will be good for this to be clarified.

Little has some concerns about what limitations are put on the criticism of judges.

Free speech versus the functions and  integrity of the judicial system.

What the bill does:

  • A person or organisation commits an offence if it publishes information that could prejudice an arrested person’s right to a fair trial, and is liable for up to six months imprisonment or a fine of $25,000 for an individual or $100,000 for an organisation.
  • Publishing untrue accusations against a judge punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine for individuals and $100,000 for organisations.
  • A person wilfully disrupting court proceedings may be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to three months.
  • A person disobeying a court order may be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned for up to three months.
  • A juror convicted of intentionally researching information relevant to the case is liable for a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to three months.

That’s what is being considered by Parliament, it hasn’t been agree on yet.

The first one is of particular interest to users of social media – it is important that the law is clear on this.

Little has concerns about the last one.

He is also opposed to making it an offence for jurors to research cases…

“Most jurors get a pittance as a substitute for their wages. Most are reluctant to be there and they are doing it out of a civic duty,” he said.

“A better balance needs to be struck but that can be dealt with at select committee.”

I would think it would be difficult to discover let alone convict a juror for intentionally researching information relevant to the case.

Finlayson: negotiations ‘essentially a fraud’

Chris Finlayson, who was Attorney General  in the last government and is now Shadow Attorney General, was scathing of Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and the coalition negotiations in his Address in Reply speech in Parliament yesterday.

He says that “the negotiations after the general election were essentially a fraud”, and that National has “dodged a bullet”.

From draft Hansard:

I do want to comment a little bit on the campaign. I normally stand up and say here that it’s great to be back, but it’s kind of good to be back.

I would much rather be on the other side than where I am here, but I have to say I’m in that category in the National Party that said we dodged a bullet, because while I have some regard for some of my New Zealand First parliamentary colleagues, I have absolutely no regard for the Rt Hon Winston Peters, and I have had no regard for him from the time I acted for the National Party caucus in the early 1990s, when he was removed from the caucus for disloyalty.

Old habits don’t change very quickly. He has made absolutely no contribution to New Zealand, in my view, and it is becoming abundantly clear, as Judith Collins said recently, that the negotiations after the general election were essentially a fraud.

So I believe we’ve dodged a bullet, and I’m very happy that the National Party conducted itself with propriety and dignity.

Last week from Newshub: Winston Peters ‘not genuine’ in coalition talks – Judith Collins

Judith Collins says the post-election negotiations between her party and Winston Peters appear to have been a fraud.

It was revealed on Thursday the New Zealand First leader’s legal action against journalists, the head of the Ministry of Social Development, a number of National MPs and their staff was filed the day before the General Election, which was held on September 23.

Ms Collins told The AM Show on Friday morning it now appears Mr Peters was playing the National Party, and never intended to sign a coalition agreement with them.

“At the time, we were very much convinced on our side there were genuine negotiations going on. But I’ve got to say, it’s not looking like it was quite so genuine anymore.”

“I think Winston Peters should really explain himself to the public because there were a lot of voters who were disappointed in his decision,” said Ms Collins.

“I think New Zealanders are owed an explanation. Was he being genuine, or was it just a play?”

I think voters are owed an explanation, but I doubt that Peters will give a straight answer.

The first call in Court on Peters’ legal action was on Monday. Stuff – Winston Peters’ lawyers aim sights at journalists involved in leak:

The NZ First leader’s legal team served court papers last week on nine people including former National Party government ministers, journalists and a government department chief executive over the leak which occurred in the leadup to this year’s election.

Peters’ lawyers are requesting documents from the parties named in the legal action to try and get to the bottom of where the leak came from, and who was involved.

The first call for Peters’ case was heard in front of Justice Anne Hinton on Monday morning at the High Court in Auckland. It was a largely procedural hearing, with all parties represented by lawyers.

Peter’s legal counsel Brian Henry told the court some of the journalists who were leaked the story may have been politically motivated, and not neutral reporters.

Newsroom co-editor Tim Murphy and Newshub journalist Lloyd Burr were both served documents as they knew about the leak before it became public.

“The situation is about an illegal act, not dirty politics. When it comes to the journalists, it is our understanding some of the journalists were not ‘journalists’ but political agents,” Henry said.

“This was a political set up from woah to go,” he said.

Henry said they were considering challenging the pair’s journalistic privilege.

Justice Hinton told Peters’ lawyer they will need to file documents with the court detailing exactly what they are alleging against the parties involved.

Justice Hinton set down a hearing for March next year where it will be ruled if the parties will need to disclose the documents.

In a statement on Monday morning, the National Party said: “The National Party people named all continue to refute any suggestion they had any involvement in the leak of this information and will be responding accordingly.”

With this action planned since before the election coalition between NZ first and National seems an unlikely outcome of negotiations, or if it had happened it would have started with a degree of tension and toxicity.

On making his announcement after extended negotiations Peters had claimed that the decision to support a Labour led Government was made 15 minutes before making the announcement.

Perhaps that refers to a decision on something like ‘will we accept what Labour has offered us or push for more?’.


Euthanasia bill does not infringe human rights

David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill has been passed by the Attorney General, who is required to check bills against the Bill of Rights Act.

RNZ:  Euthanasia bill gets legal tick from Attorney-General

A bill proposing to legalise euthanasia has been given a legal tick by the Attorney-General, who said it would not infringe basic human rights if enacted.

Proposed laws are tested using routine assessments by the Attorney-General Chris Finlayson, who weighs legal validity under overarching legislation such as the Bill of Rights Act.

In a report, Mr Finlayson said the bill was consistent with rights regarding freedom of conscience and freedom of expression.

His report related to the legal framework, not any moral or philosophical questions.

Mr Seymour’s bill provides for a legal landscape in which people with a terminal illness or a ”grievous or irremediable” medical condition [have] the option of requesting assisted dying”.

“It allows people who so choose, and are eligible under this bill, to end their lives in peace and dignity, surrounded by loved ones.”

Seymour is pleased his bill passed this test.

“Critics of my bill, short of substantive arguments, have called it ‘poorly drafted’.

“[The] report from the Attorney-General debunks those claims.

“Opponents will now need to explain why they would not allow dying people, in extreme suffering, to have a choice about how and when they die – rather than hiding behind those straw men.

“The report says that the eligibility criteria are narrow enough, and the safeguards strict enough, that the bill will not cause wrongful deaths, and that assisted dying will be available only to the group the bill intends – incurably or terminally ill, and in unbearable suffering.”

Parliament will rise next week and ity looks unlikely the Members’ Bill will get it’s first reading before the election.

Ghahraman versus Finlayson

Since joining Twitter recently Green candidate Golriz Ghahraman is learning how fraught

mixing politics with quick fire tweeting can be. She has been given a lot of attention, and in some cases has given as good as she has got.

She seems to have come unstuck over a swipe and Attorney General Chris Finlayson.

She tweeted…

Remember Finlayson changed the rules so QCs don’t need to be barristers, then gave himself the honour? Classic Nats

…in response to Guy Williams: Arise, Sir John

It reminded me of National MP and solicitor Chris Finlayson who, after becoming National’s Attorney General, changed the rules so that solicitors could become Queen’s Counsel, and then proceeded to become a QC! It’s insane.

She virtually repeated what Williams said. This has attracted attention, including:



Graeme Edgeler has stepped in to put the record straight.

1. It was Parliament (at the behest of *Margaret Wilson*) who changed the rules to allow non-barristers to become SCs.

2. and then Parliament (at the behest of Finlayson) who *reversed* Wilson’s change, so that you had to be a barrister.

3. any change to allow non-barristers to be QCs is irrelevant to Finlayson anyway, because most importantly, Finlayson is still a barrister!

I figured the error was from ‘s column. And assumed he’d just mis-remembered what happened as the opposite of what happened.

In politics it’s easy for ambitions and agendas to live by the tweet, die by the tweet.


Finlayson’s speech – Parihaka reconciliation

Today the Crown signed a Deed of Reconciliation with the Parihaka community in a ceremony held at Parihaka – see Parihaka Deed of Reconciliation.

RNZ:  Tears as Crown apologises for Parihaka atrocities

People openly wept as the apology was read out by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson.

He apologised for the wrongful arrests and imprisonment of Parihaka men and their leaders Te Whiti o rongomai and Tohu Kakahi.

Mr Finlayson also apologised for the rape and molestation of the women and girls who were left behind when the men where imprisoned in the South Island.

He said it was a shameful part of New Zealand’s history which both Maori and pakeha found hard talking about, for different reasons.

Representatives from the Kīngitanga and other tribes were welcomed onto the papakainga this morning.

Here is Chris Finlayson’s speech from the reconciliation ceremony.

Mihi Te maunga tupuna, Taranaki Tū mai, tū mai rā Ngā uri whakaheke Koutou ngā kaikawe o ngā tohutohu a Tohu Kākahi, a Te Whiti o Rongomai Karanga mai, mihi mai, whakatau mai. He rā tino nui tēnei mo te Karauna He rā tino nui tēnei mo te Motu Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.


We are at Parihaka today to participate in this historic ceremony which marks the reconciliation between Parihaka and the Crown. This is a day when we need to look back at the history of the Crown’s actions at Parihaka and acknowledge the suffering those actions have caused for generations of people at Parihaka. This is an important part of reconciliation. But it is also a day when we look forward to a future where the vision of Parihaka is finally achieved. For the vision of Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai was not one of protest and resistance. Theirs was a vision of self-determination, cooperation and peace. In the past the Crown felt threatened by that vision and sought to undermine it. Today the Crown comes to Parihaka to make a contribution to the fulfilment of that vision. Parihaka has waited a long time for this day.

When I was here a year ago to sign the compact of trust I spoke about the sense of responsibility I feel as Attorney-General for this reconciliation. The colonial government failed to uphold the rule of law at Parihaka and I am grateful for the opportunity, as the current Attorney-General, to be able to play a part in helping right that past wrong.

This is not a Treaty settlement. However, as Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, I know that reconciling with Parihaka is a vital step towards addressing historic grievances in Taranaki, as will be the signing of an agreement in principle with Ngāti Maru and the completion of negotiations around Taranaki Maunga and the signing of a milestone document in the Taranaki Maunga negotiations. Te Ururoa Flavell and I are also involved in ongoing discussions with the Taranaki Trust Board about the annuity.

The history

Those of you here today know the history of Parihaka, but it is important to put the events of the past on the record. First, I want to say something about Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai.

As young men, both received formal instruction in traditional Māori knowledge and in Christian theology. Their spiritual and political views, and the principles that came to underpin the community they established at Parihaka, therefore drew on ideas from Pakeha and Māori systems of thought. Both men had lived for a time at the mission farm at Warea on the Taranaki coast. It had its own flour-mill and became economically successful by selling flour and other produce to settlers in New Plymouth. These experiences contributed to the two leaders’ lifelong promotion of peace and their determination not to reject the Pakeha world, but to engage with it for the economic and other benefits that it offered.

I now want to outline what happened at Parihaka. I do this because while these events are among the most shameful in the history of this country, they are even today not known or understood. In part, this is because the history of Parihaka is an uncomfortable one. For some it may raise questions about our history that we would rather not confront. For many people here today, the history of Parihaka is uncomfortable for a different reason. For them, the sense of grievance that arises from that history is anything but historical. It is remembered and lived every day. That is why the Crown comes today offering an apology to the people of Parihaka for actions it committed almost 140 years ago.

It is also important to recognise that the Crown’s response to the challenge of Parihaka deprived this settlement’s residents of fundamental legal rights which applied as much to them as to any other New Zealander. Today, it is almost impossible to imagine any New Zealand government responding to the protests of its citizens by legislating away their right to a trial, legalising their continuing detention, or retrospectively legitimising the destruction of their homes and possessions. But these things did occur. That is why they must be recorded and remembered. Some in our country today are very vocal about one law for all. A fine sentiment which was not applied to Parihaka citizens in 1881. That is why we are here today.

Ultimately, there can be no reconciliation where one party remembers while the other forgets. This is why the Crown’s apology, which Te Ururoa Flavell and I are about to read, includes a brief summary of the history of the Crown at Parihaka, and why the apology will be recorded both in the deed of reconciliation and in the legislation that will be passed later to serve as the permanent and legally-binding record of the Crown’s commitment to Parihaka.

A few short years after guaranteeing to Māori the undisturbed possession of any lands they wished to retain, the Crown began systematically to dispossess the tangata whenua of Taranaki of their lands. By purchase deed, force of arms, confiscation and statute, the Crown took the rich lands of Taranaki and left its people impoverished, demoralised, and vilified. The Crown reiterates the apologies it has made to iwi of Taranaki for its many failures to uphold the principles of partnership and good faith that the Treaty of Waitangi embodies, and for the immense harm those actions have caused to generations of Māori in Taranaki.

The Crown now offers the following apology in English and Te Reo Māori to the people of Parihaka, past and present.

Crown Apology

In 1866, the settlement of Parihaka was established as a final refuge for Taranaki hapū whose homes and cultivations had been repeatedly destroyed by Crown troops, and who had recently suffered the indiscriminate confiscation of traditional lands that had sustained them and their tupuna for generations, and which formed the very bedrock of their identity.

At a time of unprecedented loss and continuing Crown violence, the people of Parihaka chose to establish their new community under principles of compassion, equality, unity, and self-sufficiency. Under the leadership of Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai, the community at Parihaka asserted their customary rights to land and political autonomy through symbolic acts of protest while promoting peaceful engagement between Māori and Pākehā. Parihaka became a place of refuge and a source of inspiration for thousands of people from across Taranaki and from elsewhere in Aotearoa.

The Crown acknowledges that it failed to recognise or respect the vision of self-determination and partnership that Parihaka represented. The Crown responded to peace with tyranny, to unity with division, and to autonomy with oppression.

The Crown therefore offers its deepest apologies to the people of Parihaka for all its failures, and in particular for the following actions:

For imprisoning Parihaka residents for their participation in the ploughing and fencing campaigns of 1879 and 1880, and for promoting laws that breached natural justice by enabling those protestors to be held in South Island jails without trial for periods that assumed the character of indefinite detention; For depriving those political prisoners of their basic human rights, and for inflicting unwarranted hardships both on them and on members of their whānau and hapu who remained behind and sustained Parihaka in their absence; For invading Parihaka in November 1881, forcibly evicting many people who had sought refuge there, dismantling and desecrating their homes and sacred buildings, stealing heirlooms, and systematically destroying their cultivations and livestock; For the rapes committed by Crown troops in the aftermath of the invasion, and for the immeasurable and enduring harm that this caused to the women of Parihaka, their families, and their uri until the present day; For the arrest and detention of Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai for sixteen months without trial in the South Island; For its imposition of a pass system which regulated entry into Parihaka, denied residents the freedom of movement, and prevented supporters from providing Parihaka with supplies following the invasion; For compounding these injustices by returning land under a regime that deprived owners of control and ultimately the ownership of much of the Parihaka reserves, and which remain in place to this day.

The Crown denied Parihaka the right to develop and sustain itself on its own terms, and then failed for many years to address the resulting grievances in an appropriate way. The Crown profoundly regrets these actions, which have burdened the people of Parihaka with an intergenerational legacy of grievance and deprivation, and which have burdened the Crown with a legacy of shame.

On the 7th day of November every year, the whānau of Parihaka come together to remember those tupuna who, in 1881, met the Crown’s soldiers with songs and gifts of food, and who honoured their commitment to peace while their homes and gardens were destroyed and leaders imprisoned.

The Crown now joins Parihaka in paying tribute to the men, women, and children who responded to the Crown’s tyranny with dignity, discipline and immense courage. It is the Crown’s sincerest hope that through this apology, Parihaka and the Crown can now acknowledge their shared past, move beyond it, and begin to work together to fulfil the vision of peaceful coexistence that Tohu and Te Whiti described.

He whakapāha hukihuki nā te Karauna ki a Parihaka

I ngā tau i muri tata mai i te kī taurangi ki te Māori, e kore nei e whakararurarungia tana pupuri ki ngā whenua i pīrangitia ai e ia, ka tīmata tā te Karauna āta pāhua i te tangata whenua o Taranaki. Nā te kirimana hoko, nā te riri ā-patu, nā te muru me te ture hoki i riro ai i te Karauna ngā whenua mōmona o Taranaki, me te aha, noho ai tana iwi i roto i te rawakore, i te ngākau-kore, i roto hoki i te whakahariharitaetanga. Ka whakaū te Karauna i ana whakapāha ki te iwi o Taranaki mō te nui o ana korenga i hāpai i ngā mātāpono o te mahi tahi me te mahi pono e whakatinanatia nei e te Tiriti o Waitangi, mō te nui whakaharahara hoki o te kino i hua ake i aua mahi rā ki ngā whakatipuranga Māori o roto o Taranaki.

I tēnei wā, e tāpae ana te Karauna i te whakapāha e whai ake nei ki te iwi o Parihaka o mua, o nāianei hoki.

I te tau 1866, kua whakatūria te pā o Parihaka hei punanga whakamutunga mō ngā hapū o Taranaki, i rite tonu rā te ukuukua o ō rātou nei kāinga me ā rātou nei māra e ngā hōia o te Karauna, ka mutu, nō nā tata tonu rā rātou i pāngia kinotia ai e te muru kurī noa ihotanga o ngā papa kāinga nā reira i ora ai rātou me ō rātou tūpuna mō te hia whakatipuranga, i noho rā hoki hei tūāpapa ukiuki mō tō rātou tuakiri.

I te pāhuatanga kāore anō i kitea i mua, i te rere tonutanga hoki o te tūkino a te Karauna, ka whakatau te iwi o Parihaka ki te whakatū i tō rātou kāinga hou i raro i ngā mātāpono o te aroha, o te tauritenga, o te kotahitanga me te tino rangatiratanga. I raro i te ārahitanga a Tohu Kākahi rāua ko Te Whiti o Rongomai, ka whakaū te iwi o Parihaka i tō rātou mana ki te whenua, i tō rātou mana motuhake hoki mā te tohe whai tikanga i a rātou e whakatairanga ana i te rangimārie ki waenga i te Māori me te Pākehā. Ka noho a Parihaka hei punanga, hei whakahihiritanga hoki i te tini tāngata puta noa i Taranaki, otirā, i Aotearoa whānui tonu.

E whakaae ana te Karauna i tino kore rawa atu nei ia i whakaae, i whakamana rānei i te whakakitenga o te tino rangatiratanga me te noho tahi i whakatauiratia rā e Parihaka. Ko tā te Karauna urupare ki te rangimārie ko te ngarengare, ki te kotahitanga ko te whakawehewehe, ki te mana motuhake ko te tāmitanga.

Nō reira, e tāpaetia nei e te Karauna tana whakapāha nui whakaharahara ki te iwi o Parihaka i ōna hapa katoa, otirā, i ēnei mahi e whai ake nei:

I te mauheretanga o ngā tāngata o Parihaka mō tā rātou whai wāhi ki ngā mahi parau me te whakatū taiapa o te tau 1879 me te tau 1880, i te hāpai ture hoki e takahi ana i te tika me te pono mā te tuku kia mauheretia aua tāngata ki ngā whare herehere o Te Waipounamu me te kore i whakawāngia mō ōna wā e kīia ai tērā he mauheretanga whakawā-kore; I te korenga o te mana tangata o aua mauhere ā-tōrangapū i manaakitia, i te whiunga take-koretanga nei hoki o rātou tahi ko ērā o ō rātou whānau me ō rātou hapū, i mahue iho rā ki te ukauka i te pā o Parihaka i tō rātou tamōtanga, ki te whakawiritanga; I te pāhuatanga o Parihaka i te marama o Noema, i te tau 1881, e peia rā te tokomaha i āta haere ai ki reira ki te kimi āhurutanga, e turakina ai, e hāparutia ai hoki ō rātou kāinga me ō rātou whare tapu, e tāhaetia ai ngā kura tongarewa, e āta ukuukua ai ā rātou ngakinga me ngā kararehe; I ngā pāwheratanga a ngā hōia o te Karauna i muri mai i te pāhuatanga, me te taumaha hārukiruki, me te roa o te mamae o tēnei tūāhuatanga i pā atu ki ngā wāhine o Parihaka, ki ō rātou whānau me ō rātou uri ā mohoa nei; I te hopunga me te mauheretanga o Tohu Kākahi rāua ko Te Whiti o Rongomai i Te Waipounamu mō te tekau mā ono marama, me te korenga i whakawāngia; I tāna whakature i tētahi pūnaha whakauru e whakarite ana i te urunga ki Parihaka, e whakakore ana i tā ngā tāngata whenua haereere noa, e aukati ana hoki i tā te hunga tautoko tuku i ngā ō ki Parihaka i muri mai i te pāhuatanga; I tana whakahē kē atu i ēnei takahitanga o te ture mā te whakahoki whenua i raro i tētahi kaupapa nā reira i kore ai i noho ki ngā tāngata whenua te mana whakahaere, otirā, te rangatiratanga o te maha o ngā whenua rāhui o Parihaka, e mau tonu nei i tēnei rā.

Nā te Karauna i takahi te mana o Parihaka ki te whakawhanake, ki te ukauka hoki i a ia anō i runga i tāna i pai ai, ka mutu, kāore hoki i tika te whakatauria o ngā whakamau i hua mai ai mō te hia tau nei. Inā te ngoto o te whakapāha a te Karauna i ēnei mahi kua whakataumaha nei i te iwi o Parihaka ki te whakamau me te takaonge tuku iho mō te hia whakatipuranga, kua here nei hoki i te Karauna ki te whakamā tuku iho.

I te 7 o ngā rā o Noema, i ia tau, karapinepine ai ngā whānau o Parihaka ki te maumahara ki ngā tūpuna nā rātou nei i tāpae atu te waiata me te koha kai ki ngā hōia o te Karauna, i te tau 1881, ā, nā rātou nei hoki i whakahei tā rātou ū ki te maungārongo i te wā tonu e ukuukutia ana ō rātou kāinga, ā rātou ngakinga, i te wā anō hoki e mauheretia ana ō rātou rangatira.

I tēnei wā, e tū ana te Karauna i te taha o Parihaka ki te mihi ki ngā tāne, ki ngā wāhine, ki ngā tamariki hoki i utu rā i tō te Karauna ngarengare ki te tū rangatira, ki te whakawhenuatanga me te māia whakaharahara. Ko te tino tūmanako o te Karauna, mā tēnei whakapāha e wātea ai a Parihaka me te Karauna ki te whai whakaaro ki tō rāua ao o mua, e anga whakamua ai, e tīmata ai hoki tā rāua mahi tahi ki te whakatinana i te tūrua pō mō te rangimārie o te noho tahitanga i kōrerotia rā e Tohu rāua ko Te Whiti.

Deed of Reconciliation

The Deed of Reconciliation we are about to sign is a legally binding agreement between the Crown and Parihaka which sets out what we will do to mend our relationship now and into the future. The deed contains the historical summary and Crown apology I have just read.

It also includes a legacy statement that describes, from Parihaka’s perspective, the key phases in the history of the settlement, the principles that guided – and continue to guide – the Parihaka community, and the future aspirations for this unique settlement.

The deed also includes a relationship agreement between nine Crown organisations, three local authorities and Parihaka. Under the agreement the Crown and local authorities commit to assist you with your development projects. The agreement will be administered by Te Puni Kōkiri. They have considerable experience with similar agreements and a strong relationship with Parihaka already. I want to thank the councils for being part of this agreement and for the offers of assistance they have made.

The deed also establishes an annual leaders’ forum where we can discuss progress with your development plans and any other matters that effect our relationship. The Minister for Māori Development, and other Ministers as required, will represent the Crown on the forum. The forum gives you access to the highest echelons of government.

There is a commitment in the deed to develop Parihaka legislation. The legislation will be developed between us and will form a permanent public record of Parihaka’s history, the Crown’s apology for its actions and our commitment to a new relationship. Work has already started on drafting a bill and it is my intention to introduce legislation before the House rises in August.

Financial contribution

Finally, the deed records the fact that the Crown will make a special payment of $9 million towards Parihaka’s development. This money will help you to fix many of the problems you have with power, waste water and other infrastructure. I appreciate that some of you were disappointed that the Crown wasn’t able to make a larger financial contribution. I understand that. However, I see this as the first step towards revitalising Parihaka and I am confident that over time more funding will become available through government programmes and from private or legacy donors.


Before I conclude I want to acknowledge some of the people who have contributed to this reconciliation process.

I acknowledge the leaders of Taranaki Iwi here today. It was their determination, back in 2015, to see special assistance provided to Parihaka that set us on the path to this reconciliation ceremony.

I want to thank the members of Kawe Tutaki:

Dame Tariana Turia, who chaired the working group and has been a strong and enduring advocate for her people;          The Rt Hon Jim Bolger, who went to school in this area but lamentably was taught very little of Parihaka’s history;          Hon Mahara Okeroa, who grew up at Parihaka and represented Taranaki Iwi on Kawe Tutaki;          Amokura Panoho and Dr Ruakere Hond, who so ably represented Parihaka.

Their expertise and experience was crucial in helping the Crown to understand what was needed to heal its relationship with Parihaka. It is good to see members of Kawe Tutaki here today.

I must make special mention of the trustees of the Parihaka Papakāinga Trust. I know very well how demanding this work has been. You have gone to great lengths to ensure that all the members of your community had the opportunity to participate in the reconciliation process and you have been guided by the community’s views at all times. It is thanks to your efforts, leadership and courage we have been able to reach agreement on the deed to be signed today.

On the Crown side, while I have been the spokesperson I am part of a much larger team. I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues who have supported this work and in particular the Minister for Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell. He has been a strong advocate for Parihaka. I have been grateful for the interest and advice I have received from local members of Parliament. I also want to thank my officials at the Office of Treaty Settlements who have supported me and led many of the discussions with the Papakāinga Trust. I also acknowledge the representatives from other government agencies and councils who have contributed to this work and made a commitment to continue to support Parihaka.


The deed provisions I have described provide a strong platform for the future of Parihaka. But the deed alone cannot make vision into reality. It is now up to us – the people of Parihaka and the people of the Crown – to bring these provisions to life. This will require us all to work, to talk, to make decisions, and to continually remind ourselves about what the ultimate vision for Parihaka is. In this I am immensely encouraged by the fact that this work is already happening. I am encouraged by the genuine goodwill and trust which has grown between the Crown and the representatives of Parihaka over the last two years. I am encouraged by the determined and principled leadership of the Parihaka Papakāinga Trust. Above all, I am encouraged by the generosity of spirit and the extraordinary humanity of you, the people of Parihaka.

I hope that one day your legacy will be understood and valued by all New Zealanders. I know this is your ambition and it is one the government supports. I want today to mark a turning point in our relationship. A day that future generations will look back upon and see as the time when Parihaka again welcomed the Crown, and when we put aside the conflict and disharmony of the past and committed to working together to forge a better future for Parihaka and for New Zealand.

Tēnā koutou, Tēnā koutou, Tēnā koutou katoa

Parihaka Deed of Reconciliation

One hundred and thirty two years after atrocities were committed and injustices imposed on the settlement of Parihaka the crown has officially apologised.

Chris Finlayson:  Deed of Reconciliation signed with Parihaka

The Crown has signed a Deed of Reconciliation with the Parihaka community in a ceremony held at Parihaka, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today.

“In the second half of the 19th century, the Crown devastated Parihaka which at the time was the largest community in Taranaki and a centre for peaceful protest.

“It is important the Crown apologise directly to the people of Parihaka for the actions it committed almost 140 years ago so we can begin to look forward to a new era of collaboration.”

The Crown’s failings included:

imprisoning 405 Parihaka residents for their participation in the peaceful ploughing and fencing campaigns of 1879 and 1880 and promoting laws that breached natural justice by holding those protestors in jails without trial; invading Parihaka in November 1881, forcibly evicting many people who had sought refuge there, dismantling and desecrating homes and sacred buildings, stealing heirlooms and systematically destroying cultivations and livestock; and arresting and detaining Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai, the leaders of Parihaka, for 16 months without trial.

“Basic requirements of natural justice and the rule of law (which are the birthright of all New Zealanders) were denied to our citizens at Parihaka and they were left without any legal remedy,” Mr Finlayson said.

“Signing this Deed of Reconciliation is a significant milestone for the Crown, Parihaka, the iwi and community of Taranaki and many others who believe in Parihaka’s legacy of peace.

“The Crown has previously acknowledged and apologised to iwi of Taranaki, through individual Treaty settlements, for the treatment of their tupuna who were at Parihaka but today’s ceremony is for the community as a whole.”

The Deed provides for a Crown support package of $9 million to assist Parihaka to strengthen its infrastructure and help the community achieve its aspirations. It also includes an agreement with Crown agencies and local authorities to work with Parihaka on development initiatives.

Legislation will be introduced to record the history of Parihaka, the Crown’s apology and the commitment to a new relationship between Parihaka and the Crown.

Parihaka is located in South Taranaki.  It is closely affiliated to Taranaki Iwi and has connections with other iwi whose members sought sanctuary from conflict there. Parihaka is also connected with peace movements both in New Zealand and overseas.

A copy of the Deed of Reconciliation is available online at:

Parihaka Pa, circa 1900, with Mount Taranaki - taken by an unidentified photographer.

Parihaka, depicted in this painting by George Clarendon Beale (1856–1939), was New Zealand’s largest Maori community by 1881. Its prophets attracted followers from around the country.

Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi had established the pacifist community of Parihaka (formerly Repanga) in the shadow of Mt Taranaki in 1866. During the 1870s Parihaka became the largest Māori settlement in the country.

Tītokowaru had developed a relationship with Te Whiti through his association with Te Ua. This relationship strenghtened through the 1870s. In 1878 the government began surveying the confiscated southern Taranaki lands for European settlement. In May 1879, under the initial direction of Tohu, Parihaka men went out to reclaim this land by ploughing it. Increasingly it was Tītokowaru who saw to the logistics of the protests. He was imprisoned three times.

Tītokowaru’s presence was not lost on the authorities when plans were made to invade Parihaka in November 1881. Native Minister John Bryce took no chances, assembling a force of more than 1500 men. The settlement’s key figures, including Te Whiti, Tohu Kākahi and Tītokowaru, were arrested without resistance. Most of its inhabitants were driven away and Parihaka was largely destroyed. Much of central Taranaki now became Pākehā farmland.

New Zealand History:  Occupation of pacifist settlement at Parihaka


New Zealand in History: Parihaka

Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa setlement

It’s good to see that a Treaty settlement between Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa and the Crown has been reached.

Newshub: Government signs $100m treaty settlement

The government has apologised to Wairoa iwi and hapū at the signing of a $100 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

Following a ceremony between the Crown and Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa at Tākitimu Marae in Hawke’s Bay on Saturday, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the settlement provided for a stronger cultural and economic future.

The settlement provides an acknowledgement, apology and reparation for the Crown’s historical breaches of the Treaty.

“The historical grievances of Te Wairoa iwi and hapū relate to the loss of the vast majority of their rohe, intense military campaigns and socio-economic depravation, the effects of which can still be seen today,” Mr Finlayson said.

The settlement – the fifth largest ever in financial terms – covers seven cluster groups of iwi and hapū in northern Hawke’s Bay, southern Gisborne, the town of Wairoa, Lake Waikaremoana and the Mahia peninsula. It covers more than 30,000 people.

It includes the assets of the Wharerata and Patunamu Forests, a number of Department of Conservation sites, and a social and economic revitalisation strategy in partnership with government agencies.

“This settlement has received overwhelming support from the claimant community. It will benefit the iwi and hapu of Te Rohe o Te Wairoa as well as the wider Wairoa region,” Mr Finlayson said.

Finlayson has done a lot to progress Treaty settlements, but this settlement has taken a long time.

From Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa website:

The progression of Treaty of Waitangi claims against the Crown has a long and significant history in Wairoa stretching back to the early 1980’s with the lodgement of initial claims across the Wairoa Inquiry District (the Waitangi Tribunal reference for the area between Tūranganui-a-Kiwa and Mōhaka). Many of our iwi and hapū tried unsuccessfully over the years to progress their Treaty of Waitangi claims, often being thwarted by changing Crown policies.

In response to this, a group of iwi and hapū with interests across the Wairoa Inquiry District came together at Rangiāhua Marae in 2002 to discuss how to work together to collectively resolve historical Treaty of Waitangi claims against the Crown.

Despite the fact that the Crown had (and continues to have) a policy of only negotiating with Large Natural Groupings (or LNGs), these iwi and hapū decided that our whakapapa and whanaungatanga, the kinship and family connections between us was a major asset in allowing us to work together to negotiate our historical claims with the Crown. This group of iwi and hapū were initially known as “The Wairoa Inquiry District Working Group” until it was renamed Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa, the name that stands today.

After coming together in 2002, we took three years to decide the best course of action to move our historical Treaty claims forward in consultation with our iwi and hapū. The outcome of three years of intense discussion was a decision to progress through direct negotiations with the Crown in seeking one comprehensive settlement for our historical grievances.

2005 then became a pivotal year for Te Tira Whakaemi o Te Wairoa where we began to formally interact with the Crown in setting the foundations for negotiations.

Sitting beside this was a firm commitment to our people in seeking their mandate to find a path to allow them to still have their stories told and recorded on the public record. This was a response to the fact that in deciding to proceed directly to negotiations with the Crown, we forfeited the right to hold a Waitangi Tribunal hearing.

Although the (milestones) and achievements made seem to have occurred over a long period, it is in fact quite typical of the Treaty settlement process whereby we have successfully navigated the checks and balances and stringent Crown requirements in between the milestones in moving through this process.