Pristine And Unique: The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary covers one of the most pristine and unique environments on Earth. Its 10km ocean trench is the second deepest in the world and is deeper than Mt Everest is tall, while its arc of 30 underwater volcanoes is the longest anywhere on earth. It is home to six million seabirds of 39 different species, more than 150 species of fish, 35 species of whales and dolphins, three species of endangered sea turtles and many other marine species such as corals, shellfish and crabs unique to this area. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the Eighteenth Century, Maori never fished these waters.
JOHN KEY’S DECISION to suspend the passage of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary legislation marks an important turning point in the life of his government. Rather than pass Nick Smith’s environmentally vital bill with Green votes, the Prime Minister has, apparently, capitulated to the greed of rent-seeking Iwi leaders, and the schoolboy political philosophising of Act’s David Seymour.
Clearly, Key has his eyes fixed on the likely outcome of next year’s election, when the votes of his current Confidence and Supply partners may, once again, constitute the margin between victory and defeat.
In this respect, the fate of the Maori Party is of particular relevance. If Tukoroirangi Morgan can unite the Maori and Mana parties against Labour in the Maori electorates to claim Tamaki Makaurau, Te Tai Hauauru, Te Tai Tokerau and (if Nanaia Mahuta can be persuaded to step down) Hauraki-Waikato, then Key’s hold on power will likely endure.
That will most certainly not be the outcome, however, if the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill is made law over the loud objections of practically the whole of Maoridom. Hence Key’s determination to keep Maoridom (and the Maori Party) sweet.
It is even possible that Seymour’s posturing on the Bill is less about standing up for “the existing property rights of fishing operators” and more about providing some cover for Key’s capitulation to Iwi anger. Better to have National Party voters scolding Seymour for his disloyalty than upbraiding the Prime Minister for “pandering” to Maori interests.
Key will be especially keen that his electoral base is kept as far away as possible from the words of his own Environment Minister, Dr Nick Smith.
In a media statement released earlier today (14/9/16) Smith angrily rejected Maori criticism of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill:
“We have tried very hard to find a resolution with TOKM [Te Ohu Kaimoana], with 10 meetings involving ministers during the past 10 months. TOKM wanted to be able to maintain the right to fish and the right to exercise that at some time in the future. We wanted to protect the integrity of the sanctuary as a no-take area.
“The claimed consequences for TOKM are way overstated. Māori have caught more than three million tonnes under the fisheries settlement since 1992, but not a single tonne in the Kermadecs. There are five fishing companies affected, none Māori, but who collectively have only caught about 20 tonne per year, out of an annual total fishing industry catch of 450,000 tonnes.
“The claim that this new sanctuary undermines the 1992 fishery settlement is incorrect. The Government always retained the right to create protected areas where fishing would be disallowed and has done so in over 20 new marine reserves, many of which had far more impact on settlement and customary fishing rights. New Zealand is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity and the Aichi targets of setting aside at least 10 per cent of our oceans in marine protected areas.
“The proposed sanctuary is part of a Pacific-wide effort to provide large-scale Marine Protected Areas, with the United States announcing the Eastern Hawaiian Islands Reserve and the United Kingdom proposing a large reserve around Pitcairn Island.”
Smith’s statement was released shortly after 1:00pm and betrayed not the slightest awareness that its author and his bill was about to be left twisting slowly in the wind by the Prime Minister. Less than an hour later, at 2:00pm, Seymour issued a media release announcing his party’s decision to pull its support for the Bill. By 3:00pm, Key was telling the Parliamentary Press Gallery that:
“We’re absolutely sure we can get the numbers with the Greens but we’re very disappointed that negotiations with [Te Ohu Kaimoana] have broken down at this point. The government would restart discussions with the Māori Party to see whether it would support the bill. So it is just going to take a bit longer.”
How much longer? The smart money would be on ‘Sometime After The 2017 Election’.
Key emerges from this whole episode with very little honour. Such craven compromising is a very long way from the extraordinarily bold behaviour of the John Key who took up the Opposition leader’s role in 2007. That John Key would have weighed the Greens’ 13 percent of the Party Vote against the Maori Party’s 2 percent and adjusted his strategy accordingly.
A National Party that was serious about a fourth term would have welcomed the chance to do something environmentally important with the support of the Greens. In a century defined and dominated by environmental perils, the political salience of Green Party issues can only increase. In recognition of that salience, Labour has been willing to forfeit any chance of recovering its former electoral dominance. That is because Labour understands what Key clearly does not: that a party which rejects every opportunity to govern with the Greens, will eventually render itself incapable of governing at all.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Wednesday, 14 September 2016.
@Chris. you've spelt Tuku's name incorrectly again. It's Tukoroirangi not Tukuorangi.
Cue the Colonel Blimps who will soon arrive saying "How dare these Maori....." Et cetera et cetera. They get condemned for acting like Maori, and I guarantee at the moment they're gonna be condemned for acting like Pakeha. If not in these columns then in others.
On what grounds could Maori oppose the Kermadecs marine sanctuary if their fishing rights there by their traditional fishing means before colonization were not challenged ?
My apologies to all concerned - Tukoroirangi it is.
Its greed, the fact that it is Maori greed in waters they could never of fished pre -European is relevant.
Rich , secure Maori elders, who turn a blind eye to the poverty amongst their own, are looking to screw and keep screwing all peoples.
Maori gangs have nothing on these tribal gangsters.
Prior to the Treaty the fisheries around our coastline contained more than enough fish for all takers. The Treaty granted Maori traditional rights to these.
The idea that any Maori would ever sail all the way up to the Kermadec trench to catch fish in those days is a lunacy. I suspect Maori negotiators are only trying it on because they've formed the opinion that pakeha politicos are stupid enough to believe it. Fair enough: I agree that most of them qualify.
Maori rights are often said to be for the purpose of their kaitiaki role over nature and its continuing health and abundance, as well as requiring access to resources so Maori can have an economic base and some share in the resource that once was all theirs. In this case I think that their kaitiaki role could be the one they stand by most strongly, that would then enable them to decide to support the Marine Reserve with no fishing at all.
But that should be stressed as a base line so that if in the future others are found to be fishing there, then such fishers would be challenged strongly and stopped by NZ government but until that happened, Maori would have the right to fish there on a commercial basis that would be set by agreed quota. This would allow them to both participate hopefully on a temporary basis, and also patrol and try to limit the depradations of the law-breaking fleet.
If I were Maori I wouldn't trust NZ governments and their rapacious comrades not to plunder the area, with foreign companies accused but actually with personalities in government having private shares or agreements in such companies, also amoral NZ business. Meanwhile there would be deep sorrow and anger expressed that these foreigners were stealing our pristine fish etc. etc.
So Dennis, Maori should not actually take advantage of better technology? They should still try to live in the Stone Age? There is no doubt that if left to themselves Maori would have eventually fished these waters, and they would have been regarded as part of their territorial waters probably.
As I said, people now condemning Maori for behaving like capitalists. Hiding to nothing territory.
Pakeha Politicos are a mirror of the electorate.
Sadly 2017 will most likely be more of the same reflection.
Pristine And Unique: The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary covers one of the most pristine and unique environments on Earth
But that's only your PWV (Pakeha World View) Chris?
This is an assertion of authority under the Treaty. People who say the treaty was/is a good thing are naive (IMHO). We have honored it symbolically until push has come to shove but their is no way in hell non Maori would ever had agreed to the terms had Maori had the power to enforce them. Maori didn't appreciate the scale of colonisation (holy diversity) and Europeans thought Maori would be assimilated over time. It is only the wet behind the ears post-modernest Green Party types who see the treaty as a model for a future society (something they achieve through creating an uber - culture meme).
One of jh’s themes has been dis-satisfaction with the Green Party for not being specific about the outcomes of our policy in relation to the Treaty. “What, specifically, will this country be like if we go down this course?”. It’s a question I have heard many times over the years, and it usually speaks from a position of fear and insecurity for Pakeha: what if I’ll be worse off? or even what if there’s no place for me?
I want to acknowledge that actually we are asking people to do something (and we are doing it too) quite different from what we usually ask with our policy. Normally we have a very clear idea of the outcome we are seeking, and establish a policy to reflect how we will get there.
But the Treaty is different. The words all have the potential to sound pretty hammy, but fundamentally the outcome being sought is a process: the process of absolute good faith negotiation, in which we Pakeha engage from a position of honour – acting ethically and morally.
That process involves courage because we don’t know the outcome (and because we know we have it pretty sweet just how things are, let’s be honest). It is pretty scary, but it’s also pretty damn exciting! *
* It would make a good movie
Yep ... National forges an alliance with the Greens to pass the Bill and the Maori party walks away from the coalition. I though you weren't numerically challenged ... clearly I was wrong.
It's the reality of MMP tail wags dog politics. You campaigned for it. Stop moaning about it.
Chris - an easy-peasy way to remember Tuku's full name is Tuko roi rangi (the roi in the middle also means king in French!)
"That John Key would have weighed the Greens’ 13 percent of the Party Vote against the Maori Party’s 2 percent and adjusted his strategy accordingly."
The National Government worked with the Green party to produce this bill, against the interests of thier supporters, the Maori party. The Green Party's response to this was to spit in the eye of National by signing the MOU with Labour with the stated intention, by the Green Co-Leader Meteria Turie, of removing the National party from government. At that moment, any leverage that 13% might have had in John Key's thinking vanished.
Why then is it a surprise that National has now chosen to take the interests of the maori party - who have been thier supporters - over those of the Greens, who have aligned themselves against the National party.
Maybe John Key might have been more willing to "adjust his strategy", had the Green party shown any sign of being a good faith partner to National. Instead, he has acted "accordingly" - and sided with those who have backed him in the past, as opposed to those who want him gone.
"But that's only your PWV (Pakeha World View) Chris?"
Wow, coupled with the "I despise the haka but that makes me a racist." Passive-aggressive 4chan attitudes seem to rule at the moment. I'll say one thing about the ACT party, they are consistently in favour of Maori property rights – which were according to an actual professor given in the early 1990s. Can't be bothered looking it up, because nobody listens to me.:) How's that for passive-aggressive?
'The Veteran' - This is one policy the Maori Party have influenced. It's not a case of the tail wagging the dog. You are sound like you're saying that minor parties shouldn't be able to promote ANY legislation. That's undemocratic.
Some Maori used pakeha technology to travel to the Chathams & conduct genocide there. Unsurprising they want to copy other pakeha forms of bad behaviour, GS, and I agree that while capitalism rules it makes sense to become capitalists. That's why leftists accepted neoliberalism.
However there are always dissidents who prefer an honourable path of collective development. The moral option as traditionally implemented in contract law retains moral authority in contemporary society via such notions as `a fair deal'. Those who honour their agreements are generally respected, regardless of race.
So for the Maori to try & bind us all to the antique terms of the Treaty while breaching those terms themselves on the sly - well, it ain't gonna come across as a good look, right?
It's an historical fact that they signed up to access to their traditional fisheries, no further. Well, to be precise, some chiefs did, some never signed. The Green Party stance on this ought to be firmly in support of the Kermadec sanctuary. I will happily target any of them who try to get away with extrapolating Maori traditional rights beyond local fisheries. The ones to watch are the leftist greenies, the refugees from Labour (authentic greens wouldn't be so stupid).
Yes Polly it is greed. The rich Maori gang were shown how to do it by the white boy gangs of the local 1%ers, the corporate squatocracy, the government department mandarins. All gangs of self interested types who know common interest versus the poor.
I doubt that Act's policy on property rights derives from a framework of Britain and her colonies; more likely it was within Britain itself? I fail to see how legal minds would have concluded that it was just that indigenous people own the greater circle while later comers have private property rights limited to an inner circle (egg and yolk analogy). Such an idea only works if we assume an uber culture?
The Morgan Foundation called those who disagreed with Andrew Judd "bigots". There seems to be a fundamental difference in how we see other groups. I see people as dirty rotten rats (the same core behaviors) but having different identities and with it allegiances. I don't accept two standards for election to public office. A Maori has to speak for everyone; and there is the rub, I don't accept Maori world view anymore than I would accept a teenager believing in Father Christmas. The Treaty is the weakest reason (given historical circumstance at time of signing), if Maori want to convince enough people to vote for them then their love of the environment in question has to be expressed in a way all can relate to, not as "this is unique to us".
Maori can be sensitive about the gov taking property rights. A surprise? Hardly. They had plenty of property (land, irrespective of that Treaty) stolen in the past so I support their stand in this case plus it is a perfect chance to get the M Party off 1%. And National wants them higher too. So perfect politics all round, except for Labour and Winston First who don't know where to stand since they want to bet both ways. They should stand for property rights being properly accounted for. Yes, gov can do anything it likes but should it? No it should not take property without due process, like consent and compensation.
Here's an even more important example, also sort of involving the environment. I am in the forestry industry. Marlborough has proposed a new Plan that will ban forestry in some places on private land. That is theft of property and we will not let them get away with it. Why are they doing it? They say it is environmental but by that they actually mean some people in house 'don't like the look of it' and worse, some want more water run-off to feed irrigation. So they want to take land rights (real property)from one person and give it to another. Disgraceful.
At least National does not want to do that. It just wants to give an unused property right (fishing right) to the planet. Well done but, do it the right way.
" I fail to see how legal minds would have concluded that it was just that indigenous people own the greater circle while later comers have private property rights limited to an inner circle (egg and yolk analogy). Such an idea only works if we assume an uber culture?"
No, we assume they were given these rights in 1992, with the fishing quota system. When you remove areas from that quota management system you are taking away people's property rights. That at the very least deserves some form of compensation.
Leaving aside the contemporary political debate for a moment, I wanted to challenge the claim that Maori didn't travel to the Kermadecs in the period before contact with Europeans.
Archaeologists have found obsidian from Mayor Island in the Bay of Plenty on Raoull, the largest of the Kermadec Islands, alongside recognisably Maori artefacts. It seems demonstrably true, then, that at least one party of Maori reached the islands long before the coming of Tasman or Cook.
Raoull obsidian has also been found on Macauley Island, a smaller part of the Kermadec archipelago.
The finds on Raoull and Macauley and similar discoveries on Norfolk Island are amongst the best evidence we have for the theory that Maori made return voyages to their tropical East Polynesian homeland/s.
Thusfar, archaeological digs in archipelagos like the Cooks and Australs and Marquesas haven't uncovered any artefacts or minerals that definitely come from Aotearoa, but that could always change as research progresses.
There's another Polynesian people with a much more tragic connection to the Kermadecs. During the Peruvian slave trade of 1863-65, when thousands of Polynesians and Micronesians were kidnapped from their islands and taken to toil in South America, a shipload of stolen Tokelauans were dumped on Raoull Island, which then often known as Sunday Island, by an American captain who had intended to take them to Peru. The Tokelauans had become sick, and their captor had become worried they would infect him and his crews. In his classic study of the Peruvian slave trade Henry Maude estimates that between 60 and 130 Polynesians died of disease and starvation on the island.
The veteran Pacific journalist Michael Field is asking questions at the moment about why the management plan for the Kermadecs doesn't seem to include any acknowledgement that Raoull Island is a mass grave.
Pretty much sums it up.
Evidence of occasional visitation is not evidence of on-going exploitation. And if merely setting foot on a patch of earth confers sovereignty, then we had better fold up the Treaty of Waitangi and put it away forever.
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