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District Plan - Maori Input

Leaving aside the widespread reaction to King Tuheitia Paki’s water hui speech, the most contentious issue facing our Council in regard to our new District Plan relates to the manner in which it deals with tangata whenua throughout the District.  

A critical opportunity was lost last Wednesday when Council adopted the draft Plan (for consultation), but rejected the recommendation of the District Plan Review Committee that it enter into Service Level Agreements with iwi authorities to provide input into the process – a first tentative step towards approaching co-governance, and a practice Council has used previously.

Instead, it weakly agreed to only engage in consultation with iwi on marae as and when requested. This is a re-incarnation of the old ‘divide and rule’ tactic, and negates the Committee’s effort to engage with and negotiate the incorporation of a united Maori perspective into the body of the document. Few councillors are likely to front for the inevitable marae confrontations – bravado only goes so far!

The Committee commissioned a legal review on the maori issues that needed to be addressed, but this appears to have been largely ignored in the Draft, and by Council as a whole. The issues raised clearly remain a starting point for negotiations on iwi input as the law requires, now made redundant as the result of a decision taken in the absence of strong, clear staff advice.  

By by-passing this opportunity, and reducing involvement to brief forays onto marae, Council has succumbed to the jaundiced views of those to whom any Tangata Whenua preference is an anathema – Cr Wells in particular. Amongst this group, Cr Brljevich appeared conflicted during the discussion, and Mayor Leach displayed an deplorable lack of leadership. He must have been aware of the likely consequences – it was he who after all championed David Taipari on to the Committee, or was that simply window-dressing?

Others around the table appeared oblivious of the anger likely to be engendered by their actions as they blithely blundered backwards into the future. Further, and unfortunately, otherwise excellent work by the Committee is likely to be undone as aggrieved local Maori reject the proposals, and ultimately appeal the adoption of the Plan on the grounds that marae visits simply fail the consultation requirement.




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Reader Comments (1)

So we have a law that makes a group based on race (where proved) more important than some NZ citizens. This group has to have special conditions when making decisions that affect all of us. Not for them is the ordinary process of reading the media and presenting submissions or speaking to Council re planning. The law has enshrined 'aparthied' and the average citizen, I think, feels awkward and embarrassed by the actions this law forces. Thus it is understandable that Councillors are reluctant to give full force to this racist law. Will political correctness continue?

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood,

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