No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Co-Governance

When in Rome

with 5 comments

“In Roman times, when a when a fellow was convicted of trying to bribe a public official, they would cut off his nose, and sew him in a bag with a wild animal, and throw that bag in the river.” – Eliot Ness, The Untouchables

I’ve been prepping a post for some time now on the corruption of Washington D.C. and in doing so have often thought of that David Mamet-crafted line from that famous movie about corruption and organised crime in Chicago during Prohibition.

But it turns out that it may be increasingly applicable to little old New Zealand – supposedly one of the least corrupted nations on Earth – based what is being uncovered about the government’s Three Waters plan, over at The Platform. That article itself is largely based on investigate work done by one “Thomas Cranmer”, on his account @kehetauhauaga since May 2.

The Mahuta clan stuff I partly covered in the post, The Rule of Law and Other Fairy Stories, based on material from news sites like The Daily Examiner and The Platform as well as the private investigations of “Cranmer” and Social Media sites like Karl du Fresne.

But I figured that with the usual MSM treatment it would soon fall away as a story unless new information came to light. Courtesy of the above “Cranmer” (complete with screen shots of official documents) it has:

According to Cranmer’s analysis, a direct and unbreakable chain of command flows from the Māori Advisory Group via Taumata Arowai to control the four new Water Services Entities (WSEs).

The WSEs control the day-to-day management of the operations of Three Waters. We have been repeatedly told they will be completely independent, working at arm’s length from the higher echelons of the complicated water bureaucracy.

However, it is made clear in legislation that the water regulator Taumata Arowai has to jump when the Māori Advisory Group says jump. When it — and Tipa as chairperson — speaks, Taumata Arowai has a statutory obligation to listen and act on that advice.

And the clincher is that Taumata Arowai directly regulates the Water Services Entities. In short, if Tipa Mahuta chooses, she can — as chair of the Māori Advisory Group — call the shots throughout each level of water management.

In short this is about something far more corrupting than money; it’s about power.

Then I read this over at the Bassett, Brash & Hide blog site, courtesy of one David Round, a recently retired University of Canterbury law lecturer and a passionate conservationist. He writes of some disturbing news out of his beloved Westland:

The stewardship area on the plateau does, however, adjoin a small block of land owned by Arahura Holding Ltd. ~ which is, of course, 100% owned by Ngati Waewae. As the Department has long known, Arahura Holding has publicly expressed its desire to allow Bathurst Resources Ltd to mine that block for coal, and thereby obtain access to the adjoining public conservation estate. (Bathurst attempted to purchase this private block some years ago, but was blocked by the Overseas Investment Act. Arahura Holding purchased it instead, and has been working with Bathurst in attempting to allow mining ever since.) And so the mana whenua panel recommended that this area also remain as stewardship land. The national panel, obviously influenced by that recommendation, disagreed only slightly, recommending conservation park status ~ which would still allow mining.

And then we discover that Mr Tumahai, chair of the mana whenua panel and of Arahura Holding, has been appointed a director of Bathurst Resources Ltd, on a salary of $90,000 a year.

This is corruption. There is no other word for it. It may all be quite legal, but then corruption often is.

Yes it is, and you don’t have to be a law lecturer to know that, but it helps give weight to the assessment.

I doubt this can be stopped before the 2023 election, and once it’s all set in place I doubt it can be removed, even assuming there will be the will to do so in a new National/ACT government:

Key and English both understood which parts of the Clark government intiatives were cemented in, and which weren’t. And by reassuring the public on the things the had become part of the fabric, were able to win three elections, and be the largest party on the fourth.

My prediction, there will be a substantial empowering of iwi in education, heath, housing supply and social policy in the next few years. National will go along with most of this once they are back in government, just as they have done so since 1990.

In that sense Don Brash was a bit of an aberration, one that National is not keen on repeating.

Attitudes like the following won’t help:

While he says there’s room for robust debate about the co-governance model between the Crown and iwi and hapū, Finlayson’s advice for dealing with the “sour right” behind the racist, resentful rhetoric: “We’ve just got to leave those losers behind and move on. They don’t like tangata whenua. They dream of a world that never was and never could be,” he says.

What should also be counted here in the weight of David Round’s assessment is that this is not just normal corruption; we’ve had that in New Zealand despite our good reputation, but it was sporadic, individual and not wide-spread, hence our reputation.

But this? This shows every evidence of being systemic and given that all corruption, whether over money, sex, power and politics, ultimately begins with the corruption of the soul that approves, it will lead to the sort of problems that has brought other nations to their knees.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 5, 2022 at 5:51 pm

I guess this will be my single issue in 2023

with 23 comments

I’ve often written that with six co-bloggers focusing on New Zealand there’s no point in me doing the same, and in any case I find US politics far more interesting because ideas that are considered “settled” in NZ are still being fought over there, plus new ideas about how a society should be organised.

But there are times when an idea begins to emerge in New Zealand that is controversial and worth fighting over, and “co-governance” is it.

Up until now I’ve figured that it would have to be fought over at the 2023 election; that Labour could not continue to push forward in the face of growing public alarm and falling polls over a range of issues that might see co-governance as the straw that breaks Labour’s back into the low twenty percent range or even lower. Labour would be forced to either dump it or make the arguments in public as part of an election so that whichever way it goes, we can at least say that a democratic decision was made on the future of the country.

Chris Finlayson

But I’ve concluded that this is not how it’s going to proceed and the reason has to do with comments I saw quoted from none other than former National MP and TOW Negotiations Cabinet Minister, Chris Finlayson.

When I first saw these quotes on Kiwiblog I found it hard to believe that they could have been uttered by a former National Party MP and minister; a person that I effectively voted for over several election cycles and that I thought was an intelligent and compassionate man devoted to rectifying the sins of past colonialisation. Sure, there was grumbling on the Right about some of these deals and the fact that Finlayson had gone from being poacher to gamekeeper on the issue.

So I checked out the Radio New Zealand podcast referred to, The Detail and its episode Co-governance: Time to get on with it?, and discovered they were true quotes:

But as former Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson explains, the concept itself is nothing new. 

Finlayson takes The Detail back to the ground-breaking signing of the Treaty settlement between the Crown and Tainui in 1995, and explains how the settlement over raupatu claims led to the formation of the Waikato River Authority. 

It became the genesis of other co-governance arrangements, giving iwi an opportunity to participate directly with local or regional government to provide advice or take part in the management of a particular resource. 

As he describes them, those past settlements that he was heavily involved with were not really about righting wrongs via the Waitangi Treaty tribunal process. No, they were about building small but permanent foundations for an entirely new way of governing this nation; a way that has now sprung into life via the supposed “opposing” party, Labour, backed by The Greens and naturally the Maori Party, with the He Puapua report, Three Waters and so forth.

And it gets better:

“I simply say to people, one, there’s a new regime, get with it folks; two, Rome wasn’t built in a day.” 

While he says there’s room for robust debate about the co-governance model between the Crown and iwi and hapū, Finlayson’s advice for dealing with the “sour right” behind the racist, resentful rhetoric: “We’ve just got to leave those losers behind and move on. They don’t like tangata whenua. They dream of a world that never was and never could be,” he says. 

Two words Mr Finlayson.

Fuck

You.

My Scottish and Irish ancestors lived for hundreds of years tugging their forelocks to Irish landowners and Scottish Lairds, escaped that, and neither I nor my kids are going to repeat that process with the likes of Prince Willie Jackson and Princess Nanaia Mahuta.

And the thing is that Finlayson fits in so perfectly with them and their born-to-rule arrogance. That wealthy Khandallah childhood; the Latin and French majors; the LLM and mixing in the highest echelons of our legal and political circles, not to mention the leaders of our various great iwi. No wonder National lapped him up and loved him. He could elegantly stick it to Labour and others on these issues.

While all the time he was basically on the same side as them.

And now in keeping with that Olympian attitude of superiority, in his mind the issue has already been decided by The Powers That Be – meaning the political elite of both National and Labour, plus our academic and legal communities – and now it’s just a matter of getting on with it.

Elections? Democracy? Pfft. I would not now be at all surprised if he uttered then same phrase as Willie Jackson about this nation, that “We’re in a consensus-type democracy now. This is not a majority democracy.”  Consensus is one of those words which, when I hear it, tells me I’m about to be lied to.

The final question I have, and frankly I think it’s rhetorical now, is how many more like him are there in the National Party? I’m betting enough to push this through eventually under some guise or other:

My prediction, there will be a substantial empowering of iwi in education, heath, housing supply and social policy in the next few years. National will go along with most of this once they are back in government, just as they have done so since 1990.

In that sense Don Brash was a bit of an aberration, one that National is not keen on repeating.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 12, 2022 at 3:59 pm