Apr 17, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

Maori technology inclusion or exclusion

4 min read


I would like to congratulate the Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams who has confirmed that it is the Governments intention to allocate the 700 MHz band of digital dividend radio spectrum in the third quarter of this year allowing the building of fourth generation (4G) mobile networks freed up by the switchover to digital television.

Where cabinet also agreed that the spectrum will be allocated through an auction, and the spectrum will be organised in blocks according to the Asia Pacific band plan, which will give New Zealanders access to a wide variety of phones and equipment.
Ms Adams said the reallocation of the 700 MHz band of the radio spectrum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

But by saying she does not recognise the claims has excluded the Treaty partner from this once-in-a-generation Maori opportunity to own and manage 50% of not only the 4G but all spectrum.

When asked about governments treatment of the treaty claims Mr Rei Sciascia as a spectrum owner said owning spectrum is a huge advantage to whoever has rights to manage and use it.

But what he finds hard to understand is the Waitangi Tribunal have stated that the spectrum claim should be heard and negotiations are around a settlement to Maori, but the answer from Minister Adams is an emphatic NO!

This leads to the point that if the crown bypasses its responsibilities to Maori then where is the partnership?

Rei also said the governments investigation into the establishment of a $30 million ICT development fund, to assist Maori leverage the potential benefits from new technologies is not a given yet and might not even happen.

But after the government promoting their investment of 1.8 billion in public funds to big business for the implementation of the UFB and RBI and then touting an economic benefit of up to $2.4 billion shows the huge disparity between those benefits/investments and the maybe $30 million to Maori.

Mr Sciascia also said he sees factions outside government would start dividing Maori as well as discrediting anything Maori to make it look like 30 million is the reason the country is in economic turmoil so as to over shadow the many ICT failures and financial overruns within the Fibre Initiative.

Then low and behold it didnt even take 2 days and then an article that insinuated Maori are divided was published with points of views from 2 Maori individuals.

So it starts but I must say not only Maori are sick of that sort of Maori bashing crap but so are a lot of non Maori, anyway this could be a good thing as it could start to unite all against the many disparities in this country.

Mr Sciascia also said that the Treaty coalition has been forced into a corner knowing there are benefits in owning and managing spectrum. This could lead to Maori just using it as a right under article 2 and 3 of the Treaty which would be an unbeatable lawful outcome.

He then said he can also see that the government is in a corner because some coalition members could be seen as having total conflict of interest in the negotiations because they have direct and/or indirect relationships with 2Degrees, which would make them vulnerable at election time.

Ms Adams also said that Government recognises the importance of Maori having opportunities to participate in the ICT sector, however, in keeping with the view of successive governments that spectrum is not a taonga and in their view M?ori do not require further spectrum to be set aside in order to meet our shared objectives of the protection of language and culture.

Rei said this was a bit short sited because he feels that Maori economic development which is mentioned in other articles of the treaty are being left out, maybe its because they as corporate NZ are worried that they might not be able to compete with Maori ICT development at many levels.

Overall Mr Sciascia believes there is room for the partners to move as the government is focused on the 700 MHz which we all know only Telecom, Vodafone and 2Degrees can deliver services through.

If Ms Adams was a true Kiwi she would be trying to work out a win win compromise with the Coalition that have total conflict risks removed.

Mr Sciascia also said that Maori ICT industry leaders within the Digital Maori Forum (DMF) are getting on with business and hope there is a resolution to a complicated process but cant understand why there is an unwillingness by Te Huarahi Tika Trust and Hautaki to work with DMF on resolving any issues that the coalition are being faced with at this time.

He finally said that the Digital Maori Forum are focussed on their national AGM/Elections to be held in Gisbourne on March the 22nd of this year and hope these organisations and others can attend where some of these issues can be discussed and addressed.


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