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Treaty of Waitangi Day events (2)

  • February 9th, 2010

For those who enquired, yes of course Marae's Great Debate had a studio audience hand-picked to deliver the range of opinions you saw. Shane Taurima's notes identified everyone in their place as "for" or "against" "with a few "neutrals". So the voting at the end was a charade. I think we actually managed to move some to our side.

I do not complain of the charade. They chose the audience well. They gave voice to people who have for years been gagged by the consensus of the media anointed over what may, or may not, get coverage in this area. But it would have been too much to expect them to pick an audience likely to deliver a verdict against the fake Treaty. It is too soon in the pendulum's swing for anything like that. Nor, I suspect, would it yet be representative of citizen opinion.

Much more significant is the Government's solid and respectful work to marginalise those who can only wield power in a climate of permanent "them and us" division.

John Key's speech is worth a careful read. With his sunny disposition John looks to the future, to our joined prospects, insisting on a near term end to the navel gazing and recrimination. Not for him Hana O'Regan's joyful contemplation of hundreds of years of national "conversations" about 'the Treaty" (i.e. about race privileges in law and our constitution).

It is superbly pitched to put the Treaty right where it belongs after completion of the current round of settlements –  as an honoured part of our history, but not constitutional millstone. 

Without any grounds for offence to a reasonable person, it gives not a skerrick of comfort to those for whom the Treaty (the fake one) is the ticket to a front seat in a permanent negotiation over race privileges. The bogus partnership gets no mention. The spurious principles are left where they should have always been left – in the imaginations of the unhappy judges obliged to invent something to flesh out the politicians' weasel references to them.

The pictures of John enjoying Pita Sharples' company, after his decisiveness over flying the tino rangatiratanga flag, and his resourcing of the settlement process with a high calibre team under Chris Finlayson (including two former Labour Ministers) are the substance behind the sizzle. It is hard for racists to demonize a man who is so patently not racist.

I just hope they do not take the  offers of "co-managements" or symbolic guardianships from the settlement process to the seabed and foreshore area. They could become the lever for the next generation's claims. Though they may seem cheap now they will be ued in the long game as acknowledgments of the legitimacy of claims that in fact have nothing in law to justify them.

And the next generation will want genuine property rights, not the smoky imitation represented by the power to veto and to frustrate and to demand consultation (instead of genuine property  rights of exclusive use, enjoyment and disposition).

The Hon Eddie Jury's report on the Seabed and Foreshore was legal fluff, interesting mainly in its clear understanding that the existing common law and the Treaty were no adequate foundations for Maori to get what they ask for. Dury's foundation is instead a nebulous permanent privilege of indigenaity.

So telling Aucklanders to get used to co-managment of the volcanic maunga is fine. Just do not extend that to the 5000km of coastline, where the interests of us all demand an ownership and governance structure that does not pitch Maori into perpetually demanding ransom payments for any change of use, as the only way to extract value from what is "vested" in them.


  • Norm Grey
  • August 1st, 2010
  • 4:43 pm

After watching Q & A this morning I accidentally discovered MARAE and then your wonderful explanation of how the Treaty is holding back NZ's progress. Every word you said, I have believed to be true for some time, but you said it better than I ever could. I would love to see your wisdom more widely available as I am sure there are others who would discover that you are putting into words what they have been thinking for a long time.
Thank you very much. I will be watching MARAE next Saturday to see what Matthew Hootton has to say, but mostly to hear if you are given the right of reply.
When does your book come out?
Regards Norm Grey                                            

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