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Auckland Maori Advisory Board Under Attack

With Judith Collins imminent return to Cabinet, her remarks to the ACT Conference over the weekend and reported on National Radio are quite significant:

"National Party MP Judith Collins has called the Auckland Council’s Maori advisory board an “unaccountable monster” that thinks it’s “outside the law”.

Ms Collins made the remarks in a speech to the ACT Party’s Auckland South annual regional conference on Saturday afternoon.

In her address as guest speaker at the conference, the Papakura MP said the Independent Maori Statutory Board (IMSB) was neither elected nor accountable, and should be dumped.

“The Maori statutory board is an unaccountable monster. It believes it is outside the law,” she said in her speech.   

“I recall my experience trying to get some basic information about its members. The IMSB ignored the request and ultimately I had to get the Office of the Ombudsman involved.”

Even under instruction from the Ombudsman, the board still refused to comply, she said.

“Despite the Ombudsman finding the IMSB had no grounds under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act to withhold the information, the IMSB thumbed its nose at the Ombudsman.

“The board actually passed a resolution not to comply with the ombudsman’s recommendation.”

Its refusal to release documentation that should be publicly available showed a lack of respect for the law and Auckland ratepayers, Ms Collins said.

The board was set up after the “supercity” was created, to advise Auckland Council on Maori matters and promote issues important to Māori. Its role is to ensure the council takes those issues into account when making decisions."

National Radio 

 It has been perfectly clear for some time that this Advisory Board has been operating under its own self written rules, and self appointed members. Its modus operandi  has been shrouded in mystery, and we have only been made privy to a minimum of statements by its Chair - our own David Taipari. David made it fairly clear to anyone taking an interest at the outset that he would be beholden to no one - let alone Mayor Brown.

His Board set its own agenda, and soon became embroiled in controversy over its role in providing a secondary level of approval for all development projects within the Auckland Council area. This level of approval was designed to protect all possible Wahi Tapu sites - a moveable feast that immediately provided a secondary income for considerable numbers of Kaumatua. While laudable, this concept appears on the surface to be inimical to to Nick Smiths stated objective of removing development hindrances, and despite claims to the contrary, consequential delays and increased costs have been inevitable. 

But Judith Collins enquiries were obviously related to information about the members of the Board - a legitimate line of enquiry that would normally be responded to promptly and with absolute candour. Her enquiry was apparently met by a wall of silence, and deliberate denial. David Taipari, as Chair of the Board must take full responsibility for this response, and for the consequences arising from Ms Collins current attack on his Board's legitimacy. 

Government must rapidly make clear the responsibility of the Board to meet the requirements of the Ombudsman - its attempts to operate in a vacuum must be resisted. David, after all, is predominant behind the scenes in the current Hauraki settlement negotiations, and I have no doubt that the Auckland Maori Advisory Board model, or something similar will be integral in the final governance structure that emerges from the negotiations. His chairing of the Auckland Board is surely an indication of what we can expect in our future relationship with whatever similar institution is established in this area.

Forewarned is forearmed!




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Reader Comments (2)

There is a group of people in our society who believe that being a part Maori gives a special privilege by birth. This is not democracy but apartheid. The Maori seats in parliament are not democracy but remain because the political parties see them as extra vote power. Other appointed Maori groups like the above have a tribal-based hierarchial system from the past . This item shows how the Treaty of Waitangi 's intention to make us all equal citizens has been subverted in the pursuance of wealth. Corruption needs secrecy.

December 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood.

Good point - under the democratic concept we are all equal citizens under the law - but that is not so with what you rightly describe as a "tribal-based heiracrial system".

It's like wanting to go back to rule under the catholic church before it started to become modernised. Who wants that?

Hell, if the catholic church can move toward modern life, perhaps a tribal based heirarchial system can too!

Don't think so though. Time to get real and deal with these bozo's.

December 9, 2015 | Unregistered Commenternative bird lover

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