Sunday, January 22, 2006

Double Act in Maori land grab

Deborah Coddington has yet to make the transition from politics back to journalism.

Her Sunday Herald preview of National Party leader Don Brash’s Orewa Rotary Club speech, headlined "National softens tone on Maori", is more spin than reportage.

"The National Party looks likely to repackage its policy towards Maori, fearing its hard-line stance turned off too many urban voters at the last election. Leading up to Waitangi Day, and his 2006 speech to the Orewa Rotary Club, Don Brash told the Herald on Sunday his party needed to reaffirm the policies he outlined at Orewa in previous years 'in a way that does not make us anti-Maori',"

He denied his party was taking a softer line on Maori issues, saying he was never anti-Maori but opposed to "disastrous affirmative action programmes" and claims that the Treaty of Waitangi was "about two distinct groups of people".

Just out of interest, can we have an example of a "disastrous affirmative action programme". Maybe Coddington the former ACT MP takes its as self-evident there must be one.

As for specific examples, Coddington said Brash was considering putting up a private member's bills to "reform" Maori land ownership so it could be used to benefit owners "in the same way as owning land helps other New Zealanders".

That of straight out of the ACT playbook. Everything comes down to property rights, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

The excuse, that "Maori incorporations have complained they cannot sell their land and reinvest the money elsewhere," doesn’t wash. A couple of the larger incorporations have voiced such complaints, but that was more to do with the strictures of the Maori Reserved Lands Act. When they want to and can put up a good enough case, incorporations have been able to get the Maori Land Court to change the status of land, allowing sale.

The problem for the white right is Maori land law looks different, so it must therefore be wrong.

Without going into the historical byways which have led to the current Te Ture Whenua Maori Act, Brash sounds like he is looking to revisit National’s 1967 amendments to the Maori Land Act and set the stage for a grab of remaining Maori land.

That '67 Act, opposed by Maori at the time including those in National, led to huge loss of land from Maori ownership, particularly on the coast. Many a holiday property now going for seven figure sums in the current boom was wrested from Maori ownership during those years. The downstream result of that law was of course the 1975 Maori Land March (even though by that time Labour’s Matiu Rata had reversed many of the worst features of the amendment).


Blogger ngahui said...

Raising capital for investment or just to build whanau homes is near impossible at present. No-one it seems yet is able to grasp the concept of multiple ownership and how to secure loans without the threat of land alienation.

Maori incorproations are a worry. Land interests are fractionated and to the exclusion of those unfortuante enough to not have an ancestor on the original land titles (in breach of the treaty and customary title) or be the favourite of an uncle, aunty or grandparent and inherit 'shares'. The longer that Incorporations can't sell land the better until such time we reach a generation willing to extinguish these titles and reform them into single titles managed at hapu level for the benefit of all entitled who can whakapapa to that hapu and land.

4:26 PM  

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