Calls for more than handouts for Māori

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Development minister Shane Jones have preceded Waitangi Day celebrations with announcements of hundreds of millions of dollars in development grants, but this approach has been questioned and in some cases slammed – see National leader Simon Bridges urges RMA reform over $100m for Māori land ownership

NZ Herald editorial: Handouts are no substitute for a Ngapuhi Treaty settlement

The Prime Minister is doling out a great deal of money on her extended visit to Northland for Waitangi Day.

At a Kaipara marae on Sunday she announced $100 million of the Government’s $1 billion provincial growth fund will be set aside as capital for Māori developments.

Yesterday at Mangatoa Station near Kaikohe she announced $82m from the fund will be used to set up regional training and employment “hubs”, and a further $20m from the fund will go to establishing regional digital “hubs” to help small towns and marae get internet connections.

In two days, with Regional Development Minister Shane Jones at her elbow, they have committed about a fifth of the original fund which is already depleted by some grants of dubious value he made last year.

While the projects announced at the weekend will be spread around a number of regions Northland is one of the most needy, which is why successive governments have been working so hard to try to help Ngapuhi get organised for a Treaty settlement.

After a year of trying, Justice Minister Andrew Little seems to be no closer than previous ministers came to finding a bargaining partner all Ngapuhi hapu will accept.

Now the Government seems to be giving handouts instead.

The Government may be right that Māori land is the underdeveloped asset that can provide those parts with more wealth. But providing seed capital is the easy part. It has to do much more to ensure the seedlings are not mulched.

Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom):  Ardern’s Waitangi sequel a test of relationship

Heading to what has traditionally been a tempestuous occasion for prime ministers, Jacinda Ardern’s Waitangi debut in 2018 went about as well as she could have hoped.

While Waitangi Day organising committee chairman Pita Paraone believes Ardern will receive a similar reception this year, he suggests there may be “a bit of murmuring” from Māori over some areas of discontent.

There has always been murmurings of discontent at Waitangi.

Matthew Tukaki, chairman of the National Māori Authority, agrees there will be plenty of expectation from Māori for the Government to deliver on its many promises.

“We’ve had a year of inquiries, we’ve had a year of investigations … 2019 for this Government must be the year of action.”

Many of the issues prioritised by Māori are the same as for the wider population: Paraone mentions mental health and housing, while Tukaki talks about high suicide and unemployment rates.

Tukaki says there is value in “universal principles that guide your waka”, but argues that is not enough: it must be supported by targeted reform and policies to succeed.

Solutions will not come in the form of short-term fixes, he says, but a longer-term vision that can be sustained over years or decades.

The handouts look to be more short term political fixes, or attempted fixes, but fundamental problems remain.

“For too long, government agencies and offices and ministries have been working on solutions and then saying to Māori, ‘Here’s a solution to whatever problem’,” (Labour MP and deputy Prime Minister) Kelvin Davis says.

Like “here’s some money”.

“Really what we need to say is, here’s a problem, how do we work on a solution together so it actually meets the needs of the people who we’re working for?”

There is a lot of work to do there, more than meeting a next year holding to account deadline that Ardern seems to be trying to address.

Māori will be looking to the future too, and whether Ardern’s government can deliver on its promises: perhaps with an added degree of wariness, but also hope.

They will be hoping for more from Ardern and her Government.

 

NZ First want to make immigrants ‘respect’ stipulated values

Respect is usually earned, not imposed, but somehow want to make immigrants respect values that they want to stipulate.

What next – making non-immigrant New Zealanders adhere to prescribed values?

RNZ: ‘Their values do not necessarily match up with our values’

The obvious point to make here is that ‘our values’ are quite diverse.

New Zealand First is one step closer to campaigning on a law that will force immigrants and refugees to sign up to a set of core values.

They already have to do something that none of us who were born here have to do – pledge allegiance to the Queen. That’s a value I don’t put much weight on – I’m glad I haven’t been made to pledge to that.

The remit, which passed with some opposition, was hotly debated by party supporters at the 25th annual conference in Tauranga at the weekend.

If enacted the Respecting New Zealand Values Bill would require new migrants to respect gender equality, “all legal sexual preferences,” religious rights, and the legality of alcohol.

Respect the legality of alcohol? Would that disallow disrespecting the huge amount of problems caused by alcohol abuse?

Wairarapa NZ First supporter Roger Melville said the law could not come soon enough.

Mr Melville described the attitudes he had encountered from immigrants throughout the North Island.

“Arrogance, downright ignorance of putting people down and forcing their ways and means.”

Former NZ First MP Mahesh Bindra also supported the remit.

Born in Mumbai, Mr Bindra came with his family in 2002 and was the party’s ethnic affairs spokesperson.

“We do have certain cultures, or subcultures coming into the country, and their values do not necessarily match up with our values.

“There are certain practises – I don’t want to name any religion – that are not conducive to our way of living.”

That fairly obvious swipe at some religions seems at odds with respecting religious rights.

Pita Paraone, another former NZ First MP who dropped out of Parliament at the last election, is also a fan of the proposed policy.

“I think the fact there’s discussions about young girls being married off at a young age or being betrothed to older men is certainly something that runs against the New Zealand psyche.”

While probably largely historic has he not heard of the New Zealand psyche of shotgun weddings? Threats of having a baby taken away if you don’t get married?

But the youth wing of the party was not convinced.

William Woodward said it was good to have debate but it was not a policy that was needed.

“Speaking form a young NZ First point of view, New Zealand as a free first-world country has all of those avenues for people to be able to express their religion, to express their freedoms in a very free and safe way.”

Good on him for speaking up, but I think that in NZ First the youth voice is a fairly small minority.

Party leader Winston Peters said the law was needed.

“If someone’s over here who wants to change this country and doesn’t want to support this country’s law … who thinks women are cattle and second-class citizens, that person should not be here, sorry.”

What about politicians who see other politicians as second class? What about parties who bring in laws to make MPs not just second class but evict them from Parliament if they don’t agree with their party leader?

What about all the journalists who Peters has made clear he thinks are worse than second class?

I wonder if one value they would consider would be the value of politicians being open and honest with the public and not refusing to give straight answers.

This proposed law trying to impose some sort of conformity is both dumb and dangerous.

The only good thing about it is it is unlikely to get wider support. Labour and National should reject any attempt to set standards or values for immigrants or any group of people here beyond laws for everyone to adhere to – ‘one law for all’. Surely the Greens at least would stand up against it on principle.

This proposed law looks like pandering to intolerant minorities.

Would NZ First want something like determining acceptable values to the people via a referendum?

Or do they only want people who agree with their defined values to decide what values everyone should be forced to abide by?

Respect can’t be forced by law.

NZ First party list announced

Yesterday most media attention was on the leak of Winston Peters’ superannuation overpayment, but they also released their full party list.

The top 20:

  1. Rt Hon Winston Peters
  2. Ron Mark
  3. Tracey Martin
  4. Fletcher Tabuteau
  5. Darroch Ball
  6. Clayton Mitchell
  7. Mark Patterson
  8. Shane Jones
  9. Jenny Marcroft
  10. Mahesh Bindra
  11. Pita Paraone
  12. Ria Bond
  13. Denis O’Rourke
  14. David Wilson
  15. Richard Prosser
  16. Jon Reeves
  17. Stu Husband
  18. Andy Foster
  19. Melanie Mark-Shadbolt
  20. Helen Peterson

NZ First currently have 12 MPs. They got 8.66% party vote in the 2014 election.

Key points:

  • 3 newcomers placed ahead of sitting MPs
  • Shane Jones at 8 (requires NZ First vote of about about 6%)
  • Pita Paraone drops 3 places after stepping aside for Jones in Whangarei
  • Richard Prosser drops from 3 to 15
  • Denis O’Rourke drops from 7 to 13
  • 1 female in the top 8, 3 in the top 15

Barbara Stewart, currently NZ First Whip, is not standing again.

Full NZ First list

Details: Our People (does not include non-MP candidates)

Te Tii Marae off Waitangi welcoming duties

Te Tii Marae will be informed this morning they will no longer host official welcomes preceding Waitangi Day celebrations.

Newshub:  Te Tii Marae will no longer host Waitangi welcomes

A meeting will be held at Te Tii Marae this morning where trustees will be informed they will no longer host official welcome ceremonies for dignitaries and Members of Parliament.

Chairman of the Waitangi National Trust, Pita Paraone, says those ceremonies will instead be held at Te Whare Rūnanga, the upper marae at the Treaty grounds.

“I think there will be some resistance… so I just wanted to have the opportunity of speaking to them face to face,” he said.

Mr Paraone says although he received repeated requests in recent years to move the celebrations up to the Treaty grounds, the latest problems were the last straw.

“I’ve been reluctant to act on that request, but I think this year has brought it to the conclusion that we perhaps need to move the powhiri away from Te Tii Marae and allow them to just settle down and reflect on the consequences of what they chose to do this year.”

“People had respect for both our visitors and our taumata (elders) ,” Mr Paraone said. “Unfortunately that’s been lost over recent years and people have tended to forget what is the real intention of welcoming visitors. They seem to have forgotten that concept.”

Mr Paraone believes moving the ceremonies away from Te Tii Marae is the appropriate decision for the time being.

It had become an attention seeking farce, with no sign of any serious or effective effort to sort it out, so this change isn’t surprising.

Key invited back to Waitangi but…

John  Key will be invited back to Waitangi next year and will be allowed to speak, but there is already talk of protests.

Stuff seven hours ago: Unanimous decision for John Key to return to Waitangi with full speaking rights

At a meeting at Waitangi on Saturday, the organising committee and Ngapuhi elders voted unanimously to invite Key back to Te Tii Marae with no conditions on what he can and can’t speak about.

Chair of the organising committee and NZ First MP, Pita Paraone, said even he was “surprised by the ease in which it went through”.

It’s good to see Paraone in a constructive role.

Paraone said he “couldn’t guarantee” it would be smooth sailing between now and February, but the fact Taurua was on board was significant.

“The fact Kingi led the charge on the reinstatement of powhiri for everyone, I think, carries a lot of weight.”

While Taurua agreed to support Key’s invitation, he won’t be speaking on the marae at Waitangi because of his “personal views” about the Government’s signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

But by 2:50 pm the he3adlin had changed to Protest warning after iwi decision to give John Key speaking rights at Waitangi and the lead paragraph is now:

A Ngapuhi elder held responsible for John Key ditching Waitangi this year has warned protests could flare up if the Prime Minister attends commemorations in February.

And later:

Kingi Taurua, a Ngapuhi elder, who earlier this year warned Key there would be riots if he turned up, said he didn’t know how far protesters would go next year.

Taurua said a lot of iwi were unhappy with him supporting Key’s invitation. While he won’t be involved in any protest, he said he also doesn’t have any control over them.

“If people don’t protest then the Government will think everything is above board. It’s not, so I think the protests should continue,” he said.

So Key will get an invitation with full speaking rights, but will anything change?

Dictatorial ‘Bilge Rat’ politics

Winston peters has accused John Key of being dictatorial and involved in ‘bilge rat politics’:

PM Stoops To ‘Bilge Rat’ Politics On Auckland Housing

Auckland Council is a victim of the ‘bilge rat’ politics of Prime Minister John Key, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“Mr Key is bullying the council. Fix housing or we put in commissioners. That’s dictatorial. It’s arrogant.

Typically colourful language to attract attention, as Peters is adept at. And Key does appear to be at least a little dictatorial on housing in Auckland.

But is Peters’ accusation a bit pot/kettle? He has been seen as and accused of being dictatorial within the NZ First party.

Little seems to be seen or heard of the other eleven NZ First MPs.

With the party’s rise in prominence in polls and raised chances of NZ First holding a pivotal role in the make up of the next government more exposure of the whole line up of MPs is important. I presume Peters won’t demand all the plum positions in Cabinet for himself and leave all his colleagues out in the cold.

Peters dominates the NZ First presence in Question Time in Parliament.

The most recent questions asked by NZ First MPs:

Peters seems to often ask both NZ First questions when they have two allocated.

I think Peters was not at Parliament in the first two weeks of May so duties were shared around, but with deputy leader Ron Mark ask more questions (four) than the other three combined.

But unless there is an ejection or walkout from the chamber the NZ First MPs other than Peters seem to get little media attention.

So is the media the problem? Are they guilty of focussing too much on headline makers like Peters and ignoring much of what goes on with the other MPs?

A search in Google news for the last week for “Ron Mark” gets two hits but they are press releases at Scoop.

In comparison Labour deputy Annette King features in 12 articles.

Going back a month, excluding press releases, there are a smattering of stories featuring Mark:

Again King has significantly more, about three times as many.

Looking at News releases on the NZ First website it is apparent that a number of NZ First MPs are busy churning out statements.

30/05/16

27/05/16

So seven MPs other than Peters put out press releases non budget day, but that was into a very crowded media market.

26/05/16

25/05/16

24/05/16

23/05/16

22/05/16

21/05/16

20/05/16

Obvious prominence of Peters but quite a few contributions from other NZ First MPs there.

They just don’t make headlines, and seem virtually invisible in the news.

Is this a problem? Or just how things work with list MPs who are not in leading positions?

If this low profile for most NZ First MPs continues the public may not know much about them until they are thrust into a coalition spotlight should they get that opportunity after next year’s election.

I don’t know if Peters is dictatorial in the NZ First caucus or not, but his MP colleagues are working on getting their messages out.

Is the media too dictatorial in what gets put in front of the public?

Are significant media resources pored/poured into trying to find smidgens of connections in a myriad of Panama papers a more worthwhile service to the New Zealand public than informing us about those who may well end up playing a part in running the country in eighteen months?