Newsletter Four: He Puapua - Maori power in action
1. He Puapua states that all land and assets of the Department of Conservation are to be transferred to Maori. This is already happening to DoC's plan for a new visitor centre at Punakaiki on the West Coast.
2. In 2018 DoC applied to the Provincial Growth Fund for their Dolomite Point project, with a proposal that provided space for Ngai Tahu to operate a visitor attraction within the new centre. The application was successful and DOC received $25.6 million for the project.
3. However, consistent with He Puapua, DoC has now agreed that Ngai Tahu will be "gifted" the $25.6m centre on completion, and DoC must lease back space for its visitor service.
4. When the local Conservation Board was asked why the building was being vested in Ngai Tahu, Ngai Tahu appointed Board member, Kara Edwards, said “This is an example of a Treaty Partnership in action. It's offensive (racist) to suggest otherwise and I'm not having it”.
5. According to the DoC West Coast director, Mark Davies, “The facility would be an ‘exemplar’ of DoC and Ngai Tahu working together in a Treaty partnership”.
6. However none of the three clauses of the Treaty of Waitangi provides for a partnership. The Treaty clearly states that Maori agreed to cede sovereignty to the Queen of England in return for "the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England".
7. David Lange and other lawyers have confirmed that the Crown cannot enter a partnership with any other entity, so the concept of He Puapua is constitutionally impossible.
8. Is this the template for future arrangements with Maori? This is not being done in the context of a Treaty settlement, or any statute. It is being done under He Puapua.
Gaffe of the week
Jacinda Ardern said "It’s not a matter of running out (of the vaccine), it’s a matter of whether or not we are in a position where we need to have a little less demand.” So much for encouraging vaccinations...