Maori seats against the Treaty of Waitangi

It seems that whatever happens in New Zealand, we are told we have to reserve some special space for Maori as part of our “treaty obligations”. The Maori Party wants to have special Maori seats on the Auckland council for example.

Many people say the Treaty of Waitangi established a “partnership” between Maori and the Crown.

But most of the people promoting these ideas don’t seem to have actually read the Treaty. The three articles of the Treaty of Waitangi are:

Article the first

The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty which the said Confederation or Individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess over their respective Territories as the sole sovereigns thereof.

Article the second

Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand and to the respective families and individuals thereof the full exclusive and undisturbed possession of their Lands and Estates Forests Fisheries and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of Preemption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective Proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.

Article the third

In consideration thereof Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection and imparts to them all the Rights and Privileges of British Subjects.

To summarise, the chiefs were to hand over all sovereignty to the Queen (Article 1), while retaining full ownership of all their lands and possessions (Article 2), and gaining the protection of the British Empire and the same rights as any other British subjects (Article 3).

Importantly, in Article 3 the Treaty established one law for all New Zealanders.

The Treaty never  suggests a partnership. In fact, it specifically precludes it, when it says the Chiefs will “cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty”.

Some people claim the Maori version was translated poorly, and the Chiefs understood this to mean something else. So, what does a literal English translation of the Maori version state?

The Chiefs of the Confederation and all the chiefs who have not joined that Confederation give absolutely to the Queen of England for ever the complete government over their land.

This is even clearer!

The Chiefs may however have had a different idea to the Crown about what this word “government” actually extended to. They may have believed the Crown would have had a more limited role and they would have had greater freedom to run their own affairs. If you believed this to be true, you could argue for a smaller government on the basis of the Treaty.

But I have never heard anyone argue for this. On the contrary, most activists appear to be socialists wanting to extend the State further, while giving special treatment to anyone with brown skin.

I am sure those who signed the Treaty would be disgusted.

We are one heavily interbred people. It is pointless to maintain a racial divide that becomes more artificial with each generation. Let’s embrace the Treaty of Waitangi instead, and have one law for all New Zealanders.

Family First wants more regulation – again

I generally agree with Family First on most issues. But Bob McCoskrie does seem to like regulation too much sometimes in my mind. After calling for more bureaucratic hoops to jump through before you can put up a billboard, he is now criticising the Government’s plan to allow workers to choose whether to have their fourth week of annual leave or get a cash bonus instead.

Family First’s press release states:

Family First NZ says that cash payment provisions on the 4 week of annual leave proposed by the government will harm family time as the temptation to have immediate cash will be too great to resist for some families.

Sounds reasonable, but what does he actually identify as the real problem:

“Poll after poll has shown that both parents and children want to spend more time together doing family things like picnics and holidays together. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as the retail industry is required to work almost every day of the year, and other industries expand to six and even seven days per week.” …

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, New Zealanders work longer than any other nationality, apart from the Japanese. 21% of NZ workers work more than 50 hours a week. In most EU countries the number of people working 50 hours or more per work remains well under 10%. Just over 1% workers in the Netherlands work longer hours, while only 6% in Greece and Ireland do so. In Australian and American the rate is 20%.

If the big problem is number of days worked per week, and hours per day, how do statutory holidays affect this?

If you assume the same amount of work still has to be done, people will just have to work harder every other week, so will have less time to spend with their children for most of the year. Frankly, I’d prefer having a few extra hours with my son each week than getting one extra week’s holiday to try and make up for the time I missed with him during the year.

But that should be my own choice. This is a non-issue.

There are very important things that Family First does point out – this week in their email (which you can sign up for here) we have the smacking issue reigniting, informed choice on vaccinations, the EU banning the use of “Miss” and “Mrs”, and other interesting stuff. Family First is a great lobby group, if you aren’t signed up for their emails yet do it today.

I just sometimes wish they’d pick their battles more carefully.

One law for all day

Rather than doing my own detailed Waitangi Day post, I’ll recommend Peter Cresswell’s post, as he has written it far better than I could (bar his proposal of a new constitution, which I believe is unnecessary).

If you really want to know what Waitangi Day is about, read the treaty. Too many people go on about racist concepts they have invented, ignoring that the Treaty actually says:

In return for the cession of the Sovreignty to the Queen, the people of New Zealand shall be protected by the Queen of England and the rights and privileges of British subjects will be granted to them.

The Maori version is even more explicit

Hei wakaritenga mai hoki tenei mo te wakaaetanga ki te Kawanatanga o te Kuini-Ka tiakina e te Kuini o Ingarani nga tangata Maori; katoa o Nu Tirani ka tukua ki a ratou nga tikanga katoa rite tahi ki ana mea ki nga tangata o Ingarani.

Literally: This is an arrangement for the consent to the Government of the Queen. The Queen of England will protect all the Maoris of New Zealand. All the rights will be given to them the same as her doings to the people of England.

The treaty established one law for all. That is what we should be remembering and celebrating today, the end of tribal warfare and slavery, and the institution of equal rights for all – the legal framework that has given us the country we enjoy today.

EDIT: See also my post on flying a Maori flag on Waitangi day

John Key attacked at Waitangi

I have absolutely no respect for someone who thinks physically attacking the Prime Minister is a sensible way of getting their views across. Do these people really want to be taken seriously or not?

There seem to be many Maori who think Waitangi is a Maori event, and the rest of the country (such as the Prime Minister) only get to have anything to do with it with their leave. But that is nonsense. The Treaty of Waitangi was between Maori and the Crown, representing British settlers (at the time). It is as much a European thing as it is a Maori thing, and it is something for us all to celebrate. That anyone would think they can do what they like on Waitangi because this is about “their” race is disgraceful.

I hope Mr Key finds out what group these men are associated with and formally refuses to have any dealings with them in future, dealing with other Maori representatives instead. And I hope they are prosecuted for assault to the full extent of the law.

Yes there are real concerns held by many Maori, and issues that they would like Mr Key to address. But this is no way to encourage him to address them.

EDIT: See also
“One Law For All day”

“Maori flag on Waitangi day”

RMA reform – the good, the bad, and the ugly

National’s proposed RMA reforms have been released. The official summary is on Scoop. There’s some good in there and some bad. Reform of the RMA is certainly needed, it’s a horribly bloated piece of legislation. A few things that jump out are:

Removing frivolous, vexatious and anti-competitive objections
Good idea to get rid of anti-competitive objections. But what is “frivolous” or “vexatious”? Those words could mean anything. In practice this means:

  • Allowing the Environment Court to require security for costs.
  • Increasing the fee to appeal to the Environment court from $55 to $500.

Basically they are saying that any appeal from someone who is too poor to afford $500 plus an unspecified security deposit (could be thousands) is “frivolous”, and anyone who can afford that is not. This allows the wealthy greater access to justice than the poor and community organisations, and is a very bad move in my mind.

Streamlining decision making

  • This involves creating an Environmental Protection Agency (ie more bureaucracy) to determine whether a project is of national significance or not and push it through.
    I have no problem with streamlining things, but do we really need more bureaucrats to do less bureaucracy? Surely if it were streamlined we would need fewer bureaucrats?
  • Projects that are not of national significance can be sent directly to the Environment Court without the need to go through the local authority consenting process first.
    I understand the reason behind this. Currently our community is fighting the CPW irrigation scheme, and many organisations have spent thousands fighting the consents process knowing they will end up in the environment court anyway so their money is being wasted. But we need provision for one hearing, and one appeal. If the one E.Court hearing is the final decision, there is no backup if the first decision is faulty.

Minor changes to speed things up

  • Removing the ability for appellants to make general challenges or ones that seek the withdrawal of entire proposed policy statements and plans. But what if you have genuine concerns about the entire proposal?
  • Simplifying the process so that local authority decisions on submissions do not need to be made in respect of each individual submission but are to be made according to issues raised. Very sensible.
  • If consents are processed late, the fee must be discounted. Sounds like they were reading Family Party policy regarding building consents – this is a great idea. Can we have it for building consents too?
  • Allow local authorities to take enforcement action against the Crown. Also good.

So all up there is a lot to help push through big projects, a few things to help people with minor applications, and a definite bias against objectors regardless of whether their complaint is valid.

And still NO mention of private property rights ANYWHERE.

On average it may be more positive than negative, but there is a lot in there to be very concerned about. If they would only affirm common law private property rights they could throw away most of the RMA, just keeping a few bits that genuinely relate to Resource Management – such as permits for water abstraction etc. But unfortunately NZ elected a bunch of politicians who don’t have the guts to do that.

Other views:

Not PC thinks National is paving the way for Think Big 2.0

I am embarrassed to admit I actually agree with Russel Norman (Green Party):

However, increasing the filing fees for Environment Court cases and the requirement for security of costs will silence legitimate public input into local decision making. … How many community groups, made up of regular citizens, not millionaires, can come up with tens of thousands of dollars in security when they are trying to protect a coastal area from a property speculator?

Federated Farmers calls it “an ok first stab”, but has some concerns:

Some farmers will be dubious about changes that are aimed at streamlining projects of national significance and improving national instruments, without strengthening the rights of individuals to receive compensation.

Remember the Bill will be introduced later this month and open for public submissions.

Child dropped from bridge – blame politicians

A man has dropped his 4 year old daughter to her death from a bridge in Australia. So who do people blame?

The roading authorities. Because there weren’t any safety barriers stopping him.

That is ridiculous. If someone is wicked enough to want to kill their daughter, they’ll figure out a way to do it. If there are barriers on that bridge they’ll just do it somewhere else. You can’t expect the government to prevent every problem. Why do people have to find someone other than the perpetrator to blame whenever something like this happens?

No, this girl died because her father is a sick idiot. That is all.

Minister – “Your children are mine”

Read this very worrying quote from Paula Bennett, the new Minister for Social Development:

She expects her associate minister, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, to be instrumental.

“She and I share a belief that all children are our children. That means the good, the naughty, the broken and the cherished.

No Ms Bennett, my son belongs to me. Not you. Not everyone. ME.

That quote is extremely worrying whoever she means by “our”. If she means her and Turia, that is extremely worrying – my son doesn’t belong to the State, and certainly not to a couple of women I’ve never met. If she means all of society, that is also worrying.

Note that she isn’t even just claiming ownership of the disadvantaged children that “need” state support – she specifically claims ownership of all, including “the good” and “the cherished”.

Watch out, we have a change of government, but we don’t seem to have a change of attitude.

Hat tip: Kiwipolemicist

The New Government

National’s agreements with Act, the Maori Party and United Future have been released, and in general they look pretty good. They are discussed in detail on Kiwiblog here (Act, UF, Maori). I am going to look at a few points that relate to families, and Family Party policy.

Act:

  • Reduce and align personal, trust and company tax rates at 30% as a medium-term goal. Excellent.
  • Various measures to reduce bureaucracy and core government expenditure. Excellent.
  • Delay the ETS so it can be reviewed in the light of the current economic situation etc. It is unfortunate that they aren’t dropping it, but reviewing it is something. Not as good as the Royal Commission would prefer but it is still slightly hopeful.

United Future:

  • National will support a bill on Income Splitting to the first reading. So we won’t necessarily get income splitting (it will just be considered by parliament), and it won’t be for married couples (as our policy is) but rather for however Peter Dunne wants to define a family (which could just be for people with children, who knows). But it is a granny-step in something close to the right direction.
  • Greater use of private hospitals to reduce waiting lists. Excellent.

Maori:

  • Review foreshore & seabed legislation.
  • “The two parties both have policy priorities and there are areas of commonality and other areas of difference. The National Party and the Maori Party will work together to progress these priorities as and where agreement can be found.” Basically a wishy-washy way of saying they’ll be cooperating without saying what they’re planning to do.

Act and United Future agree to support National’s 11 policy priorities and post-election action plan (the Maori party will only support individual policies on a case-by-case basis, but National still has a majority without them), so this should all happen. These policies include:

  • Tax cuts. Good.
  • Cap bureaucrats, focus on frontline services. Good.
  • No parole for the worst repeat violent offenders. Good.
  • National standards in literacy and numeracy. Sounds a great idea, but it better come while cutting another piece of teachers workloads to compensate, they have enough paperwork already.
  • Maintain WFF and Kiwisaver. Good for families already reliant on WFF. It would be nice however to see a long-term plan where WFF was phased out in favour of equivalent tax cuts, there are plenty of problems with WFF.
  • Keep interest-free student loans & provide a 10% bonus on early repayments. Bad, in my opinion. And I have a student loan myself. More incentive to borrow big, as now not only do you not have to pay interest, you now don’t even have to pay off all the principal.
  • “Instruct that a full 12-month course of Herceptin be publically available”. Very bad, as it establishes a terrible precedent of state interference in Pharmac. Pharmac’s decisions can mean life or death for some people. It must therefore be able to decide where to allocate limited state resources based on expert opinion, not based on political interference, as politicians are more likely to be swayed by emotive marketing campaigns for drugs that may not be the best use of state money. Note there is not even a guarantee to increase funding to cover it, Pharmac may be expected to take money away from other drugs to cover National’s whim. Effectively, the government may be deciding who lives and who dies, based on how well drug companies can market their products – we really don’t want that.
  • Repeal the EFA. Excellent.

There’s loads of other stuff in there, it’s mainly good.

Rodney Hide, Heather Roy, Peter Dunne, Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia will all be Ministers. It is odd having Peter Dunne as a Minister, considering he only contributes one seat and National doesn’t need him to govern, but I expect Key is looking to the future and getting in his good books in case UF has more seats next time round.

Act has not negotiated anything with regards to the smacking law, but we can expect them to be strongly pushing for National to honour the will of the people in the upcoming referendum. So hopefully that will go eventually.

All up this is a positive direction for the country. But there are a few negatives in it, state interference in Pharmac being one notable point. It is better than what we’ve put up with for the last 3 years however.

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