Ka kuhu au ki te ture hei matua mō te pani

I seek shelter in the law, for it is a parent to the oppressed

- Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki (c.1832-1893)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Year 174

At this time of year, I like to reflect on the 12 months gone by and take stock of the Treaty relationship. The 174th year of the Treaty of Waitangi saw several important government reviews that address matters directly relevant to the Treaty relationship. It was another busy year in terms of Treaty settlements and some major pieces of settlement legislation were introduced. A well-publicised decision in the Supreme Court re-strengthened Treaty principles. And the New Zealand legal system shows signs of beginning to operate in a more bicultural way.

The year in reviews
2013 seemed to be a year in which a number of important elements of the Treaty relationship were under review in some way or other. 

The Constitution Conversation
Perhaps most significantly, the Constitutional Advisory Panel's report was released. The Panel's terms of reference specifically directed it to consider two areas that specifically relate to Māori:
  • The Crown-Māori relationship (essentially, the place of the Treaty of Waitangi); 
  • and Māori electoral representation.

The Panel has recommended that the Government:
  • continues to affirm the importance of the Treaty as a foundational document
  • ensures a Treaty education strategy is developed that includes the current role and status of the Treaty and the Treaty settlement process so people can inform themselves about the rights and obligations under the Treaty
  • supports the continued development of the role and status of the Treaty under the current arrangements as has occurred over the past decades
  • sets up a process to develop a range of options for the future role of Treaty, including options within existing constitutional arrangements and arrangements in which the Treaty is the foundation
  • invites and supports the people of Aotearoa New Zealand to continue the conversation about the place of the Treaty in our constitution.
 As I noted at the time the Panels report was released, I am not sure that this really takes us much further in the constitutional conversation, though I believe the Panel was always going to be constrained in its recommendations because of its narrow terms of reference and its politicized origins.

Note that the far more wide-ranging work being undertaken by Matike Mai Aotearoa - the independent working group on constitutional transformation that is being led by Moana Jackson and Margaret Mutu is continuing. This group has conducted over 200 hui around the country between 2012-2013 and is beginning a round of feedback hui with a meeting at Waitangi today.

Te Ture Whenua
Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993, which is the key piece of legislation that regulates Māori land, was also the subject of a government review this year. A four-person panel sought feedback in April 2013 on five key propositions:
Proposition 1: Utilisation of Māori land should be able to be determined by a majority of engaged ownersAn engaged owner is defined as an owner who has actively demonstrated their commitment to their ownership interest by exercising a vote either in person or by proxy or nominee. Engaged owners should be able to make decisions (excluding sale or other permanent disposition) without the need for endorsement by the Māori Land Court.
 Proposition 2: All Māori land should be capable of utilisation and effective administrationWhere owners are either not engaged or are unable to be located, an external manageror administrator may be appointed to manage under-utilised Māori land. The Māori Land Court should have a role in approving the appointment and retaining oversight of external administrators.
 Proposition 3: Māori land should have effective, fit for purpose, governanceThe duties and obligations of trustees and other governance bodies who administer or manage Māori land should be aligned with the laws that apply to general land and corporate bodies. There should be greater consistency in the rules and processes associated with various types of governance structures.
 Proposition 4: There should be an enabling institutional framework to support owners of Māori land to make decisions and resolve any disputesDisputes relating to Māori land should be referred to mediation in the first instance. Where the dispute remains unresolved following mediation, it may be determined by the Māori Land Court.
 Proposition 5: Excessive fragmentation of Māori land should be discouraged.Succession to Māori land should be simplified. A register should be maintained to record the names and whakapapa of all interests in Māori land, regardless of size.
When originally established, the panel was due to report to Government by December 2012. These timelines were extended, but there have been no public announcements on this matter since submissions closed over six months ago.

The  New Zealand Māori Council
The Government also initiated a review of the Māori Community Development Act last year. This is a significant piece of legislation in the context of the Treaty relationship because it is the Act that governs the New Zealand Māori Council and the Māori Wardens. A discussion paper was released in August 2013 presenting two broad options for the future of the New Zealand Māori Council:
  • A new refocused national Māori organisation concentrates on social and economic issues that impact on community development for all Māori; membership, direction and priorities mandated by the community, with robust and transparent measures designed to ensure accountability to Māori; legislation will need to be amended to remove outdated statutory responsibilities; or
  • No change New Zealand Māori Council continues along with the existing statutory responsibilities as outlined in the 1962 Act to:
    • consider and discuss matters relevant to the social and economic advancement of Māori;
    • promote, encourage and assist Māori to conserve, improve, advance and maintain their physical, economic, industrial, educational, social, moral, and spiritual well-being; and
    • collaborate with government departments on employment, education, training, housing and health. 
The paper also sought feedback on the structure of the New Zealand Māori Council and the roles and responsibilities of Māori Wardens and proposals to re-establish Community Officers. Members of the New Zealand Māori Council filed a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal alleging that the process that the Crown had adopted for reviewing this important piece of legislation was in breach of the principles of the Treaty. In December 2013, the Waitangi Tribunal agreed to convene an urgent hearing to hear some aspects of the New Zealand Māori Councils claim.
  
Treaty settlements
Not only has this been another busy year for groups involved in Treaty settlements, but there have also been some major developments in this area. The number of agreements signed and the progress of settlement legislation through Parliament gives a clear indication of the work taking place in this sector. In a summary written for the Māori Law Review of settlement legislation before the House in 2013, I noted:
Co-governance was a strong theme in settlement legislation this year.  Many bills, especially those dealing with highly-prized waterways or other natural resources, appear to be drawing on some of the core ideas from the Waikato River Settlement.  The Ngāti Hauā and Ngāti Koroki-kāhukura bills directly extend the Waikato River co-management regime.  A number of the bills currently before the House include provision for co-governance mechanisms, not only between Māori and the Crown, but between two or more Māori communities.  Perhaps the most striking example of the creative possibilities of co-governance models is the approach adopted in the Te Urewera-Tuhoe Bill.  In that instance, a governance board is established with members appointed by Tūhoe and the Crown to act on behalf of Te Urewera itself.  And there is also provision within that Bill for other iwis interests within Te Urewera.  As this example illustrates, along with many of the other settlement bills introduced this year, Treaty settlements almost always need to take account of complex and inter-locking rights and interests.  The settlement legislation this year covers areas such as the Waikato, Rotorua, and Te Tau Ihu where these inter-locking interests are evident and as more and more settlements are completed we are beginning to see an increasing amount of cross-referencing that attempts to capture this complexity.
The arrangements in relation to Te Urewera are amongst the most notable developments in the Treaty settlement arena. As described in the Māori Law Review summary of the Te Urewera-Tuhoe Bill, the key mechanisms are as follows:
Te Urewera is declared to be a legal entity, having all the rights, powers, duties and liabilities of a legal person. The Bill provides that Te Urewera establishment land will no longer be vested in the Crown but will instead will be inalienable and vest in Te Urewera itself.  The rights, powers and duties of Te Urewera are to be exercised on its behalf by a governance body to be established by the Bill, known as Te Urewera Board.  The Board is to provide governance for Te Urewera by undertaking functions such as preparing and approving a management plan for Te Urewera, monitoring the implementation of that plan, making bylaws for Te Urewera, promoting and advocating for the interests of Te Urewera in statutory processes, and a range of similar activities. The Board will initially consist of four members appointed by the trustees of Tūhoe Te Uru Taumata and four members appointed by the Crown.  From the third anniversary of the settlement date, the Board will consist of six members appointed by the trustees of Tūhoe Te Uru Taumata and three members appointed by the Crown. The chief executive of Tūhoe Te Uru Taumata and the Director-General of Conservation will be responsible for the operational management of Te Urewera in accordance with the plan and priorities adopted by the Board.
Water and State-Owned Enterprises
One of the more high-profile Treaty-related developments of 2013 came near the start of the year when in February the Supreme Court issued its decision in New Zealand Māori Council v Attorney-General and dismissed the Māori Councils appeal in relation to the proposed partial privatisation of Mighty River Power. This meant that the Government could proceed with the sale of shares in Mighty River Power, but the decision also reinforced Treaty principles.  As I noted at the time:
Even though the outcome of the Supreme Court decision is the same as the outcome of the High Court decision, the Supreme Court overrules one key aspect of Justice Ronald Young’s reasoning.  Justice Young found that the proposed sale of shares in Mighty River Power was not subject to an action in judicial review that is based on consistency with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.  However, the Supreme Court disagreed, drawing for support on the approach of the Court of Appeal in the 1987 SOE case: 
The Court of Appeals recognition that s 9 stated a fundamental principle guiding the interpretation of legislation which addressed issues involving the relationship of Māori with the Crown, must accordingly form the basis of the approach of New Zealand courts to any subsequent legislation requiring that the Crown act consistently with Treaty principles. The judgment gives no support to narrow approaches to the meaning of such clauses. In re-enacting the identical provision to act consistently with Treaty principles, in the mixed ownership companies legislation, Parliaments purpose is that the Treaty provisions in Part 5A carry the broad meaning, and be given the broad application reflected in the judgments of the Court of Appeal concerning s 9 in the SOE case. The Parliamentary purpose is clear: s 45Q must receive the same interpretation as s 9 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act has received, particularly from the Court of Appeal in the SOE case, and also from the Privy Council in New Zealand Māori Council v Attorney-General (Broadcasting Assets case). Section 45Q brings with it the heritage of s 9 and this Court, reflecting what is the purpose of Parliament, must invest it with equivalent significance. It is on that basis that we address the arguments of counsel concerning the legislation.
Consequently, the Supreme Court determined that decisions in relation to the sale of shares in Mixed Ownership Model companies can be challenged on the basis of inconsistency with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.  This is, I think, an important re-strengthening of Treaty principles.

Nevertheless, the Court went on to conclude that, because there was no material impairment to the Crowns ability to recognise Māori rights or provide redress, the sale of shares would not be inconsistent with Treaty principles. 

However, I would venture to suggest that this is not the last we have heard about rights to water.

Steps towards a bicultural legal system?
The past 12 months have also seen some positive developments in the way that the New Zealand legal system engages with the Māori world.

In December 2013, five candidates were admitted as barristers and solicitors of the High Court in a ceremony that was, for the first time, conducted in te reo Māori.

Another first was the enactment of a bilingual statute. The Mokomoko (Restoration of Character, Mana, and Reputation) Act 2013 gives effect to an agreement between the Crown and the descendants of the rangatira Mokomoko for the Crown to obtain both statutory recognition to the free pardon granted to Mokomoko in 1992 and a declaration that the character, mana and reputation of Mokomoko and his uri (descendants) are restored. Mokomoko was a rangatira of Whakatōhea who was wrongly convicted of murder and executed in 1866. He was subsequently pardoned in 1992.

As I noted in the Māori Law Review report on the Bill:
The Māori Affairs Select Committee supported the request of te whānau a Mokomoko to amend the bill by having a full Te Reo Māori translation included.  The Select Committee report noted that translating the legislation before enactment would have the legal impact that the English and Te Reo Māori versions would be considered equal and the Committee commented on the positive impact that the dual translation could have on future legislation.
And this was also in a year in which two important books were published that speak directly to the bicultural dimensions of our legal system. The first is Te Mātāpunenga: A Compendiumof References to the Concepts and Institutions of Māori Customary Law. The second is He Papakupu Reo Ture: A Dictionary of Māori Legal Terms. Both are significant resources that are set to make an important contribution to the way in which New Zealand law approaches Māori issues.

This may only be tentative first steps and have arguably been a long time coming, but, in the 174th year of the life of the Treaty of Waitangi, they are encouraging signs nonetheless.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Advisory panel report hardly furthers 'constitutional conversation'


Yesterday the final report of the Constitutional Advisory Panel was released by the responsible Ministers.  It is difficult to see what the report adds to a process of constitution-building in Aotearoa. The report mostly identifies that there are a range of opinions on various technical issues and that more public education about constitutional and civic matters is necessary.  This is hardly news. I should add that I do not intend this as any criticism of the Constitutional Advisory Panel itself. The terms of reference that were set for the Panel virtually ensured that this would be the case.

The Panel deals with two areas that specifically relate to Māori:
  • The Crown-Māori relationship (essentially, the place of the Treaty of Waitangi); and
  • Māori electoral representation.


In both areas, the Panel’s report identifies that there are effectively three options: Strengthen or enhance the existing mechanisms, maintain the status-quo, or remove the existing mechanisms. 

In the case of the Treaty the Panel’s report describes two models that would strengthen, to various degrees, the role of the Treaty in our constitution (‘A Treaty-based constitution’ and ‘Take active steps to accommodate Treaty rights and obligations’), one model that effectively represents the status quo (‘Maintain development of existing arrangements to accommodate Treaty rights and obligations’), and one model that removes the Treaty altogether (‘A constitution without the Treaty’):
A Treaty-based constitutionOne option discussed in the Conversation was to discuss placing the Treaty and Treaty relationships at the centre of our constitutional arrangements, rather than attempting to graft them onto existing Westminster arrangements. Models could be drawn from previous attempts by Māori to establish autonomous structures and from a range of international examples including Canada, Bolivia, Norway and the United Kingdom. Take active steps to accommodate Treaty rights and obligationsA range of different options to more proactively recognise the Treaty within the existingconstitutional arrangements were raised during the Conversation, including:
  • confirming the Treaty as a tool for interpretation, rather than having legal or constitutional force. For example, the Treaty might be added to or referred to in a preamble to the Constitution Act 1986
  • making the Treaty one of the standards for good process – the courts could test process rather than outcomes against the Treaty
  • making consistency with the Treaty a required consideration in all legislation and government action, for example by making the Treaty supreme law, perhaps along with the rights in the Bill of Rights Act 1990.
  • The requirements could be given force by: 
    • establishing a dedicated Treaty court, or increasing the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal or the general courts, with powers to assess whether legislation is consistent with Treaty principles 
    • creating an upper ‘Treaty’ house in Parliament with 50% Māori membership 
    • entrenching Treaty rights to reduce their vulnerability to change.
 Maintain development of existing arrangements to accommodateTreaty rights and obligationsThis option would preserve the current institutions and mechanisms of government. Most Treaty matters would be settled by negotiation between the Government and iwi as the need arises, with the ability to refer specified issues to the courts for resolution if necessary. 
This option may be supported by people who see the principles and text of the Treaty as important elements of the constitution but do not consider the Treaty discourse is fully developed enough to include it in a written constitution. In the conversations, some Māori supported this view on the basis that the Treaty is sacrosanct and should be left alone. It would sit outside the legal system in much the same way as does the American Declaration of Independence in relation to the American Constitution, yet its principles inform the development of the law and the nation’s constitutional values. A constitution without the TreatyThe Panel acknowledges that many New Zealanders remain sceptical that the Treaty can be a constructive element of our constitution and so may be reluctant to participate in a conversation about its future. Based on the Conversation, however, the Panel believes it is not viable to wind back the clock. The Treaty is already a fundamental element of our constitutional arrangements. It would be unfair, unjust and unrealistic to go back on the commitments made to iwi and hapū by successive governments. Nor do the arguments of equality put forward by some proponents of this view sufficiently acknowledge the diversity of this country’s people. The Treaty is not inherently divisive – its purpose was to establish a relationship between two peoples in one nation. Any divisions arise from a failure to meet those obligations, not from meeting them. The question is not just whether the Treaty is part of the constitution, but how it is best reflected and what we want to achieve by reflecting it. The Crown cannot turn back on the commitments made in the Treaty and subsequently without the risk of social and political tensions. Any decisions made in such a crisis situation are unlikely to be enduring.
This leads the Panel to make the following recommendations:
The Panel recommends the Government:·      continues to affirm the importance of the Treaty as a foundational document
·      ensures a Treaty education strategy is developed that includes the current role and status of the Treaty and the Treaty settlement process so people can inform themselves about the rights and obligations under the Treaty
·      supports the continued development of the role and status of the Treaty under the current arrangements as has occurred over the past decades
·      sets up a process to develop a range of options for the future role of Treaty, including options within existing constitutional arrangements and
arrangements in which the Treaty is the foundation·      invites and supports the people of Aotearoa New Zealand to continue the
conversation about the place of the Treaty in our constitution.
I have no problem with the Panel addressing these models at a relatively high-level and I am pleased to see that the Panel confirmed that the Treaty does have a place within our constitutional arrangements.  However, I fail to see how the report’s observations or the bland recommendations that have been proposed take us any further forward in a constitutional conversation than we were a year or so ago - or even ten years ago, for that matter. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Legal significance of the UNDRIP


The Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples yesterday submitted his annual report to the United Nations General Assembly.  This will be the final such report to the General Assembly to be presented by the current Special Rapporteur, James Anaya, as his term as Special Rapporteur will end in April 2014.  This report provides an interesting reflection on the Special Rapporteur’s work over the six years that Anaya has been in the role.
He concludes his report with some key recommendations aimed at encouraging more effective and more comprehensive implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Some of these recommendations are particularly relevant to the New Zealand context.
The Special Rapporteur points out that States’ descriptions of the Declaration as non-binding or ‘aspirational’ are not only unhelpful but also misleading. Prime Minister John Key has consistently characterized the Declaration in this way.
However, the Special Rapporteur notes that the Declaration does have significant legal implications.  First, it informs the binding human rights obligations that States have under the UN Charter:
Although technically a resolution, the Declaration has legal significance, first, because it reflects an important level of consensus at the global level about the content of indigenous peoples’ rights, and that consensus informs the general obligation that States have under the Charter — an undoubtedly binding multilateral treaty of the highest order — to respect and promote human rights, including under Articles 1 (2), 1 (3), 55 and 56 of the Charter. The Declaration was adopted by an overwhelming majority of Member States and with the support of indigenous peoples worldwide and, as noted earlier, the few States that voted against the Declaration each subsequently reversed their positions. Especially when representing such a widespread consensus, General Assembly resolutions on matters of human rights, having been adopted under the authority of the Charter itself, can and do inform Member States’ obligations under the human rights clauses of the Charter. [see Ian Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law (Oxford, 7th ed., 2009), p. 15.]
Second, many of the basic rights affirmed in the Declaration constitute customary international law because they are well-established principles that most States recognize and expect must be complied with:
…some aspects of the Declaration — including core principles of non-discrimination, cultural integrity, property, self-determination and related precepts that are articulated in the Declaration — constitute, or are becoming, part of customary international law or are general principles of international law, as found by the International Law Association after a committee of experts conducted an extensive survey of international and State practice in relation to the Declaration.2 A norm of customary international law arises when a preponderance of States (and other actors with international personality) converge on a common understanding of the norm’s content and generally expect compliance with, and share a sense of obligation to, the norm. It cannot be much disputed that at least some of the core provisions of the Declaration, with their grounding in well-established human rights principles, possess these characteristics and thus reflect customary international law.
Third, the Special Rapporteur identifies that the rights contained within the Declaration reflect rights that are recognized in a number of legally binding human rights treaties and the Declaration consequently informs the interpretation and application of those treaties:
…the Declaration is an extension of standards found in various human rights treaties that have been widely ratified and that are legally binding on States. Human rights treaties with provisions relating to the rights of indigenous peoples include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The human rights treaty bodies that interpret and apply these treaties now frequently apply their provisions in ways that reflect the standards in the Declaration and sometimes explicitly refer to the Declaration in doing so. This happens, in particular, with regard to treaty provisions affirming principles of non-discrimination, cultural integrity and self-determination: principles that are also incorporated into the Declaration and upon which the Declaration elaborates with specific reference to indigenous peoples. Although the Declaration is not necessarily dispositive when interpreting a treaty the provisions of which intersect with those of the Declaration, it provides important guidance of significant weight.
In any case, the Special Rapporteur also points out that the status of the Declaration and the weight given to it ought not to be measured by its technical legal significance:
Whatever its legal significance, moreover, the Declaration has a significant normative weight grounded in its high degree of legitimacy. This legitimacy is a function not only of the fact that it has been formally endorsed by an overwhelming majority of United Nations Member States, but also the fact that it is the product of years of advocacy and struggle by indigenous peoples themselves. The norms of the Declaration substantially reflect indigenous peoples’ own aspirations, which after years of deliberation have come to be accepted by the international community. The Declaration’s wording, which has been endorsed by Member States, explicitly manifests a commitment to the rights and principles embodied in the Declaration. It is simply a matter of good faith that States adhere to that expression of commitment to the norms that indigenous peoples themselves have advanced.
The Special Rapporteur suggests that arguments that characterize the Declaration as strictly non-binding and without legal obligation are fundamentally flawed and simply stand in the way of effective implementation of recognized human rights standards:
…the significance of the Declaration is not to be diminished by assertions of its technical status as a resolution that in itself has a non-legally binding character. The Special Rapporteur reiterates that implementation of the Declaration should be regarded as political, moral and, yes, legal imperative without qualification.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Māori Community Development Act proposals and the New Zealand Māori Council


The government is currently consulting on proposed changes to the Māori Community Development Act1962.  The Act is significant because it provides the legislative framework for: 
  • the New Zealand Māori Council supported by three levels of Māori Associations (Māori Committees, Māori Executive Committees, and District Māori Councils);
  • Māori Wardens; and
  • Community Officers. 

The Māori Affairs Select Committee completed an inquiry into the Act in 2010 and made a number of recommendations for reform.  The Select Committee also recommended that any legislative change be preceded by comprehensive consultation with Māori.  The discussion paper therefore seeks views on:
options for the future of the New Zealand Māori Council;
  • options to improve arrangements for Māori Wardens; and
  • the provisions of the Act relating to Community Officers.

The discussion paper presents two broad options for the future of the New Zealand Māori Council
  1. A new refocused national Māori organisation – concentrates on social and economic issues that impact on community development for all Māori; membership, direction and priorities mandated by the community, with robust and transparent measures designed to ensure accountability to Māori; legislation will need to be amended to remove outdated statutory responsibilities; or
  2. No change – New Zealand Māori Council continues along with the existing statutory responsibilities as outlined in the 1962 Act to:

  • consider and discuss matters relevant to the social and economic advancement of Māori;
  • promote, encourage and assist Māori to conserve, improve, advance and maintain their physical, economic, industrial, educational, social, moral, and spiritual well-being; and
  • collaborate with government departments on employment, education, training, housing and health. 

The paper also present two broad options for the structure of the New Zealand Māori Council.
  1. A streamlined national organisation – membership drawn from across Māoridom; clear mechanisms to ensure members are accountable for delivering to Māori communities; or
  2. No change – current structure maintained: New Zealand Māori Council (national level), District Māori Councils, Māori Executive Committees and Māori Committees (regional and local).

The paper also seeks feedback on the roles and responsibilities of Māori Wardens and proposals to re-establish Community Officers.
However, it is the proposals relating to the Māori Council that appear to be provoking the most discussion.
A press-release from Council Co-Chair Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie identifies the significance of the statutory recognition of the Council and its purposes:
For a minority group, seeking to maintain its culture, statutory recognition of its function is required. Without it, the Council would not have had the standing to do what it did, in the Courts and institutions of the majority culture. It is important above all, to support statutory recognition.

Sir Edward makes an explicit link between these issues of representation and Treaty principles:
There are major issues for discussion.
The immediate question is who should decide the issues and how.
The conferral of official recognition is for Maori to seek and for government to decide, but in deciding, good faith will require significant respect for the Treaty.
As for the shape of the organisation itself, and the process for deciding, that is for Māori to decide. That too is a Treaty principle.
The present government led process, as directed by the cabinet, is inherently wrong. A Māori led process would require prior meetings with several interest groups, and the production of a plan for the people.

For those reasons the Council says:

  • the Council should stay until a better structure is found.

  • the structure should come from Māori, by Māori process.

  • the process will take time

  • good faith discussions with government, iwi leaders and urban groups should continue meanwhile.

The Council has also posted information on their website reporting on the first 12 consultation hui addressing the government’s proposals.  Their key messages are:
  • Council is heartened by the groundswell of support for the Council, for the role it plays in protecting the rights and interests of all Maori and for the Maori Community Development Act which gives Council its statutory powers.
  • Over halfway through the nationwide Crown-led consultation, the vast majority of submitters have argued to keep the Act as it is and to keep the Wardens with the Council.
  • In the first five hui held in Northland and Auckland submitters were unanimous in their support. This is significant because over half of all Wardens come from these regions. One speaker, at the sixth hui in Palmerston North called for a stand alone body for the Wardens. At the same hui, four speakers called for the Wardens to remain with Council.
  • In the Palmerston North, Wanganui, New Plymouth and Hamilton hui, fewer than 14 percent of submissions were in favour of removing Wardens from Council.
  • Given that Council and the Wardens have been shut out of the planning for these hui and have been refused a place at the table, this is an astounding vote of confidence for the New Zealand Maori Council.
  • The theme that has dominated has been that any reforms or changes must be carried by the Council and Wardens themselves.
  • The Crown and TPK have been criticised for withholding the Wardens funding from the Wardens. Many speakers noted that the funds are controlled by TPK and that most Wardens have not seen a penny.
  • A further criticism has been that government has never funded the Council to fulfil its role under the Act. Many noted that the Council’s funding of around $180,000 has been kept the same for the past 20 years.

Consultation hui are continuing through until the end of September and the deadline for feedback has been extended until 31 October.  The consultation document can be found here and feedback can be sent to
Māori Community Development Act 1962 Consultation, Freepost 157031, C/- Te Puni Kōkiri, Box 3943, Wellington 6140.
Or emailed to: MCDA@tpk.govt.nz