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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Takutai Moana Bill: Begging questions

At the core of the government's - that is to say National or Labour's (and supposedly the Maori Party's too, but that seems more untenable by the day) - position on the Takutai Moana Bill and the foreshore and seabed generally is that Maori should always have a lesser right than the non-Maori, the Pakeha in particular, to everything. And if it's possible to take everything off Maori and give it - literally give it away - to Pakeha, then they will, because that is what they consider their job to be. That transfer of territorial resources from Maori to Pakeha can only occur via the Crown, thus the NZ government as its franchisee is the tool of confiscation. This hostile theft and invasion process is what the NZ government defaults to operationally and pursues through legislation such as this new version of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004.

The simple way to tell if the bill - or any bill - is racist is to ask why it is not consistent. What are the reasons for the differences and why one is less or more than another. What is the story given of what things are said to be and why things are to be changed. In this bill there are numerous examples. Ask yourself: would the government apply the same "exclusive use and occupation" test on Maori dry land? A Maori can live in his home and his garden, but everything else is confiscated because it doesn't meet the test the Crown has come up with? A freehold owner doesn't face that. Why does a Maori face the extinguishment of rights because of an unlawful act by a third party? A freehold owner doesn't face that. And finally ask yourself if a single chief would have signed the Treaty if they were told that the Crown was to claim absolute ownership of all their waterways and coastline and go about giving other people title and rights over it without their consent. This is obviously an unfair, discriminatory (and therefore racist) bill and also obvioulsy in breach of the Treaty.

Another breach in a long process of abrogation. Maori have been attacked by the NZ government since 1860 and Britain has let the NZ government act with impunity since 1865 in regards "native policy." So long as the Treaty is unrecognised by British statute and so long as the NZ government purports to restrict its application domestically then this country remains in an unconstitutional void, the victims of which are destined to be Maori. The NZ government is a persisting colonial regime: there is no independence day. The colonial laws and the European settler concepts of why the state exists and whose purpose it serves stem from 1840, and continue unreconstructed and uninterrupted.

Is there any intention of bringing the Crown - and the UK - into adherence with the Treaty? Of restoring the British citizenship of Maori? Of restoring the lands, forests, fisheries and other estates and property that Maori wished to retain but were seized of by the NZ government under the guise of the Crown?

As long as it doesn't cost the taxpayers of Britain anything, the UK government may entertain the idea of a South Western Pacific settlement involving the recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi and other undertakings to other islands and may be ready to account for both good and ill which has occured under the their nominal sovereignty. It would leave a much better taste in the mouth for the British than their exit from Hong Kong, and will be accompanied by considerably more honour for themselves and more local affection than the many precipitive and chaotic transfers of power that they have presided over in the past.

The main way in which NZ decolonisation will be different from say Rhodesia or Samoa is that it will reflect the population imbalance caused by the NZ government's immigration policies of reducing Maori to a small minority of the population and thus democratically emasculated. Other pathways from British/colonised to independent nation have typically involved land redistribution and the financial burden of compensating white landholders has fallen on the UK government. In the NZ situation neither the financial support from the UK or widespread and complete land distribution will be politically possible. A long timeframe and fair system to resolve the land claims rather than a short period (10 years in the case of Rhodesia and Sourth Africa) may be the way to acheive a durable and equitable settlement, especially if it is begun some time before the UK quits and can carry on - without the need for a set period of external liability - after independence.

There are over 20 years before the fundamental questions present themselves. There is also more than 20 years to prepare the NZ Crown and its institutions for the block.

The institutions, the statutes, the regulations, the operations, the management and staff of the government are either in accord with the Treaty and the measures and standards demanded by the new constitution or they are not - and if they are not and continue in breach then any transfer into the new governance arrangements will be moot. Some institutions should not continue if they prove intransigent or incompatible.

For any transfer of power to succeed the Treaty cannot be broken at the point at which it is superceded. It must be rectified before that point. To those who would pretend that the Treaty and the NZ government can all roll-over somehow into a republic and that all it means is a change of stationery is to deny what the Treaty says and the relationship directly between Maori and the UK government that exists because of it. That is something only the Maori and the UK government can change - not its rogue agent in Wellington.

With the luxury of decades it ought to be possible to form the timetable and ask the questions and receive the answers it will take to progress beyond our colonial status.

1834 + 200 years (bicentenary first confederation convention)
Confederation convention = 2034 (convention and mandate/referendum)

1835 + 200 years (bicentenary confederation/independence)
Independence = 2035 (unilateral if no NZ govt./UK govt. agreement)

2035-2038: Crown Estate dissolved, transferred to new govt. entity and to Tangata Whenua according to Waitangi Settlement system. Alignment of laws and jurisdictions from NZ govt./Crown and Tangata Whenua to Aotearoa republic.

1840 + 99 + 99 years (lease + renewal: UK sovereignty)
Retrocession = 2038 (all UK claims etc. cease)

2038-2040: Crown residue subject to legal actions determined and disbursed.


At 20/3/11 8:16 pm, Blogger Te Puhi Whakahoro said...

Can't agree a well written piece, well thought out in all degrees.

At 20/3/11 9:35 pm, Blogger Te Puhi Whakahoro said...

Can't agree more that is....


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