Tariana Turia, Co-Leader, Maori
Scoop 18 November 2004
I want to acknowledge the Chairs who have
this process through the House. I want to also recognise
those who originally took their case to the Court of
Today we are witnessing the Death
through the tyranny of the majority.
Mr Speaker, over the
last two days this House has witnessed some desperate cries
for credibility from the Maori members of the Government,
whose Maori seats will be sacrificed by this Government to
save the General Members’ seats. Cries of Confusion. Cries of
Complicity. We heard the plea, ‘we need a vision
of what New Zealand is today – not one of the 19th century’.
Yet Mr Speaker, what this Bill does is take us right back to
those days. A period in the mid-1880s when this Parliament
will recall a shameful history, where the majority of Maori
males were not then eligible to vote on the general
electoral roll. At that time we were the majority. To be
on the electoral roll males were required to hold a minimum
amount of private property, whereas nearly all Maori then
did not own property individually but communally.
would put to all Members today, is show me the difference
between then and now.
This Bill is a discriminatory Act -
treating private property rights as more important than
customary property rights.
When I was a child, other
children used to say ‘What’s mine is my own’. Now what
Maori children will say is ‘What was mine is
everybodys’. This backroom deal with New Zealand First has
made an absolute mockery of the select committee process. Only the
privileged were listened to. That is, everyone
except tangata whenua. When Members try to convince us
that this Bill is all about New Zealanders, they seem to
forget that tangata whenua are also New Zealanders.
collective group of New Zealanders who have special
constitutional status by virtue of the relationship signed
up to by all our ancestors. Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
listen to members desperately trying to convince themselves
that this Government is proud of the ongoing fiduciary
obligation they have with tangata whenua. The basis of a
fiduciary relationship is that of trust.
Does anyone in
this House honestly think tangata whenua will be fooled into
thinking they can trust a Government which has sacrificed,
extinguished, confiscated the last piece of customary land
that we held by default?
The only fiduciary relationship
we believe in is that vested between tangata whenua and the
Crown in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
Our position with respect
to Te Tiriti o Waitangi is unequivocal – it is a cornerstone
of the constitution of Aotearoa.
Well let’s look instead,
at what this minority Government is pinning all its hopes
on, the fiduciary relationship they will have with tangata
whenua through the establishment of reserves.
groups must, in line with section 34c, make application to
the High Court to apply for the establishment of a
reserve. If successful in their application the High Court
then directs them to prepare a charter by which the Board
will administer the reserve. The High Court then directs,
as set down in Section 34D (a) for the board to be
established as a legal entity. Then in Section 34D (b) the group has to
present a charter to the High Court again,
itemising a host of technical specifications for this new
legal entity. Such an exhaustive process for compliance,
hardly represents to me an action of trust.
I recall the
Minister for Treaty Settlements the other night, throwing
off that during the Court of Appeal case while there were 34
lawyers acting in the interests of iwi, the Crown only
needed four. Of course she neglected to mention the huge
departmental infrastructure available to the Crown, or the
unlimited Public Purse.
What this Bill does is just add
further to the labyrinth of legal processes that our people
must push through. In the case of New Zealand First, the
party that has made its name out of criticising the
so-called gravy train, they are now proudly standing by a
legislative sham which sets into play an excessive reliance
We’ve gone from the gravy train to the whole
railway network. If our people aren’t going to be borne
down with the weight of compliance costs, the confusion
created by this legislation in its use of terminology will
be the final straw.
This minority Government has tried to
mislead our people by promoting the idea that Maori groups
that would have won aboriginal title claims can now opt to
become guardians of reserves. Guardianship is about
whakapapa, it’s about mana.
Contrast that with the meaning
of guardianship in the Foreshore and Seabed Bill, to mean
the ‘members of the board of a foreshore and seabed
reserve’. In other words, a concept which we see as
intimately connected to kaitiakitanga, is reduced to
‘members of a committee’. The terminology promulgated in
this Bill for the concept of guardianship is totally devoid
of any Maori interpretation. Creating reserves in this
Bill is just another way of trying to influence Maori to
believe they will have a management right. But all those
reserves will be subject to the existing rights of access,
and other laws, which protect the coastal areas, like the
Resource Management Act. This Bill further suggests that
kaitiakitanga will be expressed through the review of the
Resource Management Act. Given that Maori consultation has
always been so poorly carried out in the context of that
Act, what confidence can whanau and hapu have in this
So let me get this right.
Government, with the full support of NZ First, is going to
strip our people of their birthright, their customary
property of takutaimoana; in exchange for what? They
expect us to willingly take on an arduous process of
negotiating with local authorities to confirm a management
plan. What is even more bizarre is that the members of the
board of the reserve, these so called guardians, are to do
so for the benefit of the public. And they are to manage
the service with no capacity to receive any resources or
other form of payment for any activities undertaken as
specified in section 34b (2).
We’re not only being
robbed but we’re being asked to do community service for the
rest of our lives.
Maori have experienced the
large-scale, legitimised theft of land through the policy of
raupatu. And yet we punish Maori and other New Zealanders
who steal. These are the double standards that serve to
confuse and enrage our people. Stealing land by Government
is accepted as legitimate, whereas theft is punishable by
law. The so-called One Law for All New Zealanders.
Speaker, this nation is tired of double talk, of deliberate
confusion, of unseemly haste. This nation is tired of the
divisive intent of this Bill. This Bill never needed to
happen. This Bill was never about the fictional crisis
that New Zealanders would not be able to go to the beach for
Christmas. Tangata whenua have never denied access to
others: it is not part of our philosophy. We are not on
about fences or gates. Those are the barriers built by this
Government and now New Zealand First that will remain
between the peoples of this land and our people and their
land. The issues have never been about contiguous
use. The issue is about tikanga, and that is what has been
In this Bill they have now created another
situation for New Zealanders to be put through the hoop just
to ‘be’. They have created a legal minefield, where
processes are unnecessarily complicated, arduous, and
Two simple changes could have been made
to existing legislation. Changes to the Ture Whenua Act to
prevent the alienation of land. And we could have changed
the Resource Management Act to give certainty to access.
A movement was born from this Bill and I mihi
movement that looks to reflect the thousands of New
Zealanders who marched on Parliament, the thousands more
that spent hours and hours, writing submissions, the people
who have travelled down here today, the others who are
demonstrating their grief throughout the country.
Maori Party vehemently, on behalf of all those we represent
and for the sake of all our future generations opposes this
The fight for justice will continue. One
all is about access to justice. This Bill is about Justice
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