May 17, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Prime Minister places Popularity over Justice (and scuttles Tuhoe negotiations)

3 min read

SHAME on John Key – The Prime Minister took the unprecedented measure of publicly and personally taking the Tuhoe ownership of Te Urewera off the negotiating table.

Tuhoe chief negotiator Tamati Kruger told the Dominion Post yesterday that “Mr Key told him yesterday he had removed the issue from the Cabinet agenda on Sunday night hours after a National Party conference revealed major concerns among party leaders about a potential backlash on race relations.”

The iwi says it was taken by surprise by the announcement. It is is seeking urgent clarification about why the proposal has been ruled out. Mr Kruger told Radio New Zealand that the two parties had been negotiating in good faith.

Kruger also told Waatea News that Mr Key rang him shortly before Monday’s cabinet meeting indicating he was withdrawing consideration of Tuhoe’s claim for full management and ownership of the Urewera National Park from the cabinet agenda.

Clearly sensitivities are at play here and this may be the clearest sign of the Government’s fear of a race relations backlash.

“Mr Kruger said the decision had been a blow to the iwi, which had cancelled a hui planned for Friday that was to have heard the latest offer. He said vesting ownership had been on the table during 18 months of settlement negotiations with several ministers, and never once had anyone from the Government side said it was unacceptable.” (Dominion Post)

It’s fair to say that the proposal from Tuhoe’s negotiating team falls outside of the broad principles that have operated for other Treaty negotiations. A lot of Treaty settlements have unique provisions, but in my view it would have been quite a significant step away from the broad principles under which we normally negotiate a Treaty settlement.” said the PM.

However, this contradicts previous precedents. Dr Moon, a history professor at AUT, has described the Government’s stance as “puzzling” saying there are several examples which fly in the face of the current Government’s position. He says in the early 1990s, the Crown vested almost 4,000 hectares of land, including Mt Hikurangi, to Ngati Porou to manage.

“In many cases, there have been tribes that have received land as part of the settlement, so I think his principle relates to simply the share scale of the Urewera National Park” said Dr Moon.

Meanwhile the Maori Party is furious at Key’s decision, contending that Te Urewera belongs to Tuhoe and the Government must reconsider its decision not to return it to them.

As a Maori Party leader Im tired of the politics of race being brought into the equation this is an issue of leadership and justice. Tuhoe have behaved with honour right throughout the negotiation process. I question what we see happening here, said Mrs Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party.

Maori Party MP for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, was equally outraged not only by the content of todays announcement but the timing.

Te Urewera has been the homeland of Tuhoe for hundreds of years, before the concept of title ownership was invented in this country, even before a Government arrived on the shores of this country.

Making an announcement while negotiations were in progress was unheard of and must not become the norm, Mr Flavell said, otherwise settlements risk being negotiated via the media with the end result being based on popularity rather than what is right.

The PM was asked whether co-governance was possible, like the Waikato River settlement with Tainui, Mr Key said there were various options on the table and all of them could be discussed.

12 thoughts on “Prime Minister places Popularity over Justice (and scuttles Tuhoe negotiations)

  1. Yeah!! well done John Key.

    Finally someone has shown some balls and has said ENOUGH to the 'take,take,take' and give nothing demands of the Maori.

  2. John Key and Pita Sharples are in Gisborne apopo – if any Tuhoe want to organise something to express disgust with the PM's announcement I'll let you know where to be when…

  3. whats new whanau..they were never about to give away Te Urewera even with the signing of the declaration…which incidentally has a rider attached basically stating that we are still subject to the laws of this where to from here…mmmmmmmm….only one way whanau and thats forward…ka whawhai tonu matou…ake, ake ake….

  4. Got me totally messed up with thoughts of mining in te urewera! i bet there's some secret report that has looked into this too > someone pass the ammo…

  5. LOL! Ka pai you Gio! You know…the one thing that makes me smile about this BS is Tuhoe have never relinquished any aspect of their mana to the Crown…so JK…go f*#k yourself and your 'popular opinion'. Go ahead Tuhoe – do your thing.

    What do you say to a government which spouts indigeneity and celebrates multi-culturalism ye pulls these sneaky ones outta that hat? 'Kia Ora for the kick in the guts…but you missed me fool…we saw this one coming for at least 160 years!!!'

    BTW: Myra…great opinion!!!

  6. Once again NZ Pollies going against the UN and international conventions for indigenous peoples!!! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!!! MARANGA AKE AOTEAROA!!!!

  7. It ain't over til it's over. I would remind NZers that it can either go to Tuhoe … or it can be mined.

  8. With regards to race relations .. I agree.. we on a dark path there … however.. if Maori culture was embraced by the whole country more in everyday life there wouldn't be such a threat. Maori finally finding their feet and now all the 'worms' come out of the wood work alarmed at what's happening. To them it's like a sudden cultural invasion even though they have lived with the culture their whole lives.. they've never had to honour or acknowledge it – just pretend it's not there.

  9. another weak leader at the helm. No one has the balls to stand up to 'mass opinion' of the population even though they know it's wrong. It wins too many votes to push Maori down. Gutless. The act is gutless and any words he shares toward Maoridom .. gutless.]

    He has also insulted the UN by negating the strength of joining the Declaration … See Moreof Indigenous Rights. Squealing like a pig "it's not fair to all New Zealanders". What about what they freakin' STOLE? Key is upholding the rights of Tauiwi to trample all over Mana Maori.

    They want us in prisons.. and at the bottom of the economic heap. It's bullshit. My thoughts: Have heaps of babies whanau … He tangata He tangata He tangata!! Get educated, be successful and get everything back.

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