Iniquity: Government covers up "historical" abuse
Cullen boasts of his government's iniquity in his own press statement:
Dr Cullen congratulated Tūranga Manu Whiriwhiri on the constructive and collaborative approach to negotiations. He said that, by working together, Tūranganui-a-Kiwa members had been able to agree on a more significant settlement package than might have been possible had each negotiated separately.
Well imagine what Maori could achieve - following Cullen's logic - if all Maori negotiated together. But to quote Doug Graham on the settlement process:
Land claims cannot be treated as a claim by all Maori people acting as one.
The resolution process must be consistent and equitable between claimant groups.
Cullen implies this isn't true now (if it ever was). This Gisborne settlement negotiation is just one of many deals the government has signed up to in the last few months. Why? It's not just so Labour can have some runs on the board in the marginal Maori electorates, it's not just because Cullen has to spend his surplus before Key uses it for tax cuts, it's because on Monday a law passed by Labour comes into effect meaning the Waitangi Tribunal can no longer hear any claims of Crown injustice dating back before 21 September 1992. Claims already in the system will be heard, but nothing lodged after tomorrow will count. These settlement agreements coming thick and fast from Cullen are a diversion from Monday's deadline.
Why 21 September 1992? The Crown, like some gangster Burlesconi, has given itself immunity from the Waitangi Tribunal for what it sees as "historical" crimes. If the matter hasn't had a case filed with them by tomorrow, then essentially it cannot be considered by the Tribunal. Their statute of limitations is less than 20 years - Why that date?
From the National government's 1995 Crown Proposals, Doug Graham explains:
The Crown has many demands to meet and has to carefully assess how much can be put aside to settle claims. The Crown has accordingly decided to set aside a settlement sum of $1 billion to be available over a period of about 10 years. This has become known as the 'Fiscal Envelope' or the 'Settlement Envelope' and confirms the Crown's commitment to settle claims. This Settlement Envelope covers all 'historical' claims, which the Crown has defined as claims where the act or omission by the Crown occurred before 21 September 1992. It is not for claims about acts or omissions of the Crown which occur after that date. The costs of settlements that have been put into effect since 21 September 1992, including the Sealord fisheries settlement, are to be charged against the Settlement Envelope.
This billion dollar quantum was soundly rejected at hui everywhere and there were demonstrations against it. Because of the outrage it was publicly dropped at the time, but it is the policy the Crown has acted on ever since. Every settlement offer and signing has conformed closely to the fiscal envelope. The fact the government has now set their immunity from liability at the date they began their allocation process for the $1 billion envelope is evidence that it remains the guiding policy of the Crown to this day - and beyond.
The latest one will fit into the Office of Treaty Settlements random scale of arbitrary cash/value amounts:
The Agreement in Principle broadly outlines a settlement package agreed between the parties. It includes financial and commercial redress of $59 million, and cultural redress including a cultural revitalisation plan and vesting of specific sites of cultural significance.
Sealords, Tainui and Ngai Tahu were each $170m each. Funny that. Like it was divided beforehand. Like maybe there is no point in "negotiating" if the amount you will receive at the end of the process is going to be exactly the same as the Crown's initial allocation which itself is designed to slot into their pre-determined, capped aggregate amount. That is how Crown justice works
What Maori are left to "negotiate" with the Crown is protecting the remnants of their land that the Crown currently holds. Land that the Crown has seized and then sold or given to Pakeha remains land which Maori have been legally barred from ever having returned by successive governments. Quite often these deals do not even amount to the Crown reversing the title back to its rightful owners - it remains in Crown hands with co-management or consultation agreements over its use. That's often sweet FA for considerable losses.
The money the iwi groups accept is the price to extinguish their title over the things that were seized by the Crown. The Crown has set the total money cost to itself to repay the damage to Maori communities and to extinguish native title over all land that has gone through the Crown system at $1 billion. That's peanuts. If you turn it the other way around and ask how much would be allocated in a fiscal envelope to end all claims against the Crown if the government had seized Pakeha land the way they seized Maori land the bill would be considerably more than $1 billion, wouldn't it. Wouldn't it.
It the government stole your section in 1991 and said they would offer a pre-set amount regardless of the actual value of the land that worked out to 0.5-2% of its current value and it's a one-time offer, no judicial remedy, would you be upset? Maori are expected to accept this state of affairs. It is a form of duress and it is unacceptable and unjust.
The List of Treaty Settlements [W] total $900m. There's only a fraction of that available for everyone yet to settle.
Claims of Crown injustice against Maori that occured before 21 September 1992 under the Treaty of Waitangi terminate on Monday. Labour passed a law to do this. The two big Pakeha parties and the government administration are determined to enforce the Crown terms of occupation. These are not just deals to acknowledge the Crown broke the terms of the peace Treaty, but deals to legitimise the Crown gains made while in breach of that Treaty.
Would the world welcome a policy from the Israelis that said all its land confiscation and all its action before 1992 and the start of the Oslo accords will be locked in and that they can only discuss with the Palestinians injustices and incursions after 1992? That would be absurd. For Maori this sort of treatment is a reality.
Maori are a compliant and colonised people adopting ad hoc non-violent protest action against the Crown after military defeat. Maori are and will always be (as long as governments continue to have an immigration policy running at 50,000+ per year) a minority in their own country. Maori have chosen to talk instead of fight and have acheived less - and in a longer time - than other colonised nations. Most New Zealanders think their governments have been the beacon of human rights for the world to follow. "Best race relations in the world" is a mantra as strong today as it was when the government first promulgated it to cover-up their abuses.
I've listened to Pakeha talk passionately about Palestinian rights, about Israel's occupation and confiscation of Palestinian land, and they will say that the illegal settlements should be removed etc. - and I often wonder if they realise that if we strip it down, we face the same basic issue right here, right now.
This bullshit deadline is supposed to end the grievances - it just created another one.