All of the way through
Listening to the second reading debate now on the radio. What is happening is quite sad. The dynamic of Tariana being fanatically anti-Labour along with the Nat's out-flanking a disorganised and ineffectual Maori Party team is reaching a sorry dénouement with this Takutai Moana Coastal Marine Area bill. The Green co-leader Metiria Turei is laying it out - she's disgusted with what is happening - as am I. On Maori submitters: "They never took any notice - they needn't have bothered coming! [to the select committee]". It sure feels that way.
Avid readers will recall the meeting last Monday with Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell where he told me I had a week. He has reneged on even that risible commitment. From his email of late last night:I have responded via email and I reproduce the relevant parts here. I was asked to produce a a response for Hapu/Iwi, thus the wording and the unusually subdued tone. I sent it today.
This address is on behalf of the [Hapu/Iwi]
Our Rohe Moana is most important to us. The proposed revision of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 by way of this new Takutai Moana bill is deeply concerning because it retains the main elements and mechanisms of confiscation and for that reason alone we must reject it. We must also protest at the unnecessary and orchestrated haste of the bill's progress, the curtailment of the select committee process and the Maori Party's connivance in this tactic.
Your response is disappointing, your actions and attitude toward your constituents and hapu and Iwi, inconsiderate. Your assertions about having Friday as a deadline is contrary to the one week undertaking you made at a public meeting [...] on Monday night 28 February. Your refusal to give a firm timetable for progress of the bill is seen as a further effort to discourage us. Despite this we offer the following advice in order to improve the bill and enhance outcomes for hapu and Iwi. We urge you to consider this seriously and act today:
Firstly, we ask once more for an extension of time to properly consider the wording of the bill. This could be achieved by splitting the bill into two:
- a Takutai Moana (Public Access, Navigation and Recreation) Bill (needs own title, commencement, purpose and interpretation sections plus sec. 6, 27-29, repealing corresponding sections of FSA2004 and to state that it applies to all titles in foreshore and seabed inc. freehold title, sets the scene for a better bill on title) to be progressed immediately.
- and a Takutai Moana (Marine and Coastal Area) Bill to have further consultations and progressed later being the remaining sections not in the first bill.
Secondly, if that cannot be done at the second reading committee stage then we ask for a special [Hapu/Iwi] clause (the explicit recognition of [Hapu/Iwi] 'mana tuku iho'/title) and/or an explicit declaration in the bill that there is no Crown (non-Maori) title exisiting in the Rohe Moana [Hapu/Iwi]. Failing this an agreement for separate legislation (similar to the Rohe Moana Ngati Porou bill currently before House, and/or waterways legislation for awa and [harbours] similar to the Waikato Tainui Act for their river) to recognise our interests to be introduced into House.
Thirdly, we ask for "recreational activity, unlawful or unauthorised activity, or any intermittent, temporary or seasonal use or occupation by members not of the applicant group" be added to the fishing and navigation tests at sec.60 and 61.
Fourthly, we ask for the Maori Land Court to be the jurisdiction in which Maori title claims are determined and Maori Appellate Court to hear appeals.
These are reasonable things that will make the bill better and ought to be acceptable to a reasonable government. If the Maori Party were to adopt them as bottom lines then walking away from the bill - should National refuse them - would be the honourable course of action and we would support that action. Impressing the National Party with your loyalty to them over this bill diminishes your commitment to us and our confidence in your continued representative function.
Finally, you must be made aware that if there is no meaningful changes in the direction we have indicated in our advice then options of non-co-operation, aukati etc. remain open to our [Hapu/Iwi] to pursue in order to resist all raupatu legislation including the 2004 Act and any form of re-statement of it in this new bill. Raupatu is a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and constitutional principles generally and will always be rejected. We have rejected it since the Crown invasion [...] and we reject it now and in the future. We will not stop objecting to it until it is gone. In order to preserve our territorial and property rights, policy may be developed by us so we can issue our own title over the marine areas and waterways on a unilateral basis without any Crown input should the bill remain as it is.
Our principal objections:
1. Does not explicitly or in any way challenge confiscations that have happened under FSA2004. If "No raupatu in our time" is a policy that means anything then all alienations of foreshore and seabed from 2004 must be reviewed in some way to ensure it is not a confiscation of Maori interests.
2. "The tests" (sec. 60, 61?) are still the "white man's touch" of the FSA2004, only now instead of just navigation being excluded as a means of extinguishment of Maori title fishing has also been added; but this barely changes the effect. Recreational activities (apart from fishing) are not excluded, therefore building sandcastles and riding bikes etc. are included as ways in which Pakeha/Crown could argue they have extinguished Maori title. This was never tikanga Pakeha let alone tikanga Maori.
3. Jurisdiction is inappropriate and unfair. The "white man's touch" tests will be determined in tikanga Pakeha at the High Court instead of using the Maori Land Court in which the expertise to deal with these things surely resides.
4. Does not limit confiscation effect of other bills and statutes, eg. commercial aquaculture and the minumum 20 year leases/grants proposed, mineral licences etc.
5. Hypocrisy of letting a Minister under s.245 of the RMA give permission to issue freehold title in reclaimed land, but disallowing a Minister giving permission to issue Maori title after negotiations with hapu/Iwi.
6. Uncertainty with how local and regional councils are to interact with Iwi plans.
There are many other concerns, but time has limited us to focus on these ones only.
You may think we have missed our last chance, Mr Flavell, but for many of us this could be seen as your last chance... to do the right thing.
Pita Sharples now speaking. He says some have spoken at meetings against this new bill, but at the end no-one objected to it. I've heard a report on RNZ that him and Te Ururoa said they had support from their electorates. Really? What support? Support from people who don't know anything but what they are being told? People who are conned by the Maori Party's poorly spelt brochures on the issue? "Treaty-based conversation..." he's waffling on about in his passionless, but unapologetic, speech. Sad.
UPDATE | 5:30PM: Just heard Hone Harawira's speech. Now that's how to give a speech. His first as an independent - not that the Maori Party MPs hung around to hear it in the chamber from what I take from Hone's comments. He called it "this racist piece of legislation" a dozen times or so and ended by begging the Maori party MPs to "do the honourable" thing or they will dwell in a "cold and lonely place". He was glad he wasn't in the caucus and predicted this bill would "break their backs." He took up Tariana's video comments about the bill being unfair, unjust and immoral. The bill has the same exclusivity tests as before and that is what makes it a continuation of the confiscation. I find myself in total agreement with him on this issue, and more disappointed than ever with the Maori Party MPs - confirmed when Bill English referred to them as having courage.