The High Court finds fault with the Waitangi Tribunal (and a breach of The Treaty) while Jackson is congratulating it

Our Beehive bulletin

While Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson was addressing members of the Waitangi Tribunal,  the High Court was setting aside a tribunal decision to return $800m in state-owned land to an iwi because it had failed to follow tikanga Māori and breached the Treaty

Good grief!

The tribunal breached “the Treaty”?

Apparently so.

According to Newsroom:

Crucially, Justice Francis Cooke declared the tribunal had been in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and not followed tikanga when it decided lands transferred to state-owned enterprises or in Crown forests in the central North Island should be returned to the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi.

The disputed tribunal ruling on the $800m of public lands accordingly has been overturned (although the judgement may be appealed).

Jackson’s speech to the tribunal members, telling them what a splendid job they were doing and giving them an idea of the future work that lies in store for them, was posted on the Beehive website along with –

  • Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuita’s speech of welcome for Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and a delegation at an NZ Institute of International Affairs gathering. This was the first official visit NZ has hosted since COVID.
  • A new initiative that aims to retain and attract more Māori and Pasifika midwives into the profession was launched at the Auckland University of Technology campus. .
  • Environment Minister David Parker officially opened a plant at Golden Bay Cement in Whangarei, which uses old tyres to fuel Golden Bay Cement’s kiln. The Government has funded $16 million of the $25 million project, which is a Fletcher Building initiative, through the Waste Minimisation Fund.
  • The Government is partnering with Leaft Foods on a $20 million research and development programme. Through its Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund, the Ministry for Primary Industries is contributing $8 million to the five-year programme to develop technology that extracts edible protein from New Zealand grown green leafy crops.
  • The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, said the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Toloa Programme, now in its sixth year, is achieving its goal of helping Pacific Aotearoa to thrive. This year, MPP has awarded 59 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships to Pacific students to pursue studies in STEM.

In his speech, Jackson said his Māori Affairs portfolio stretches the breadth of many issues challenging Māori communities, from Māori wellbeing, employment, housing, through to Māori economic recovery.

It spans areas like te reo Māori with a focus on Māori media and broadcasting – and he is responsible for recommending Tribunal appointments to the Governor-General.

Jackson also talked about

“ … the changing Waitangi Tribunal role as more claims relate to issues of national significance, the Maori Affairs ministry’s involvement in kaupapa inquiries, and some of the government’s priorities to address the inequities facing Māori communities.

 “Our government holds Māori wellbeing as a priority and this means setting conditions to achieve equitable outcomes for our people.

“Ones that recognise the value of Te Ao Māori and which support a productive, inclusive, and sustainable economy.”

And then came the inevitable reference to “the Treaty partnership” [this is the creation in recent decades of judges and politicians which is invoked as if it were holy writ to justify the rapid growth of co-governance arrangements and other separatist policies to empower Maori].

Jackson gave an ominous sign that we should brace for more of this sort of thing, when historical treaty claims have been decided.

Completion of historical claims will allow the Tribunal more time and resources to focus on contemporary issues and transition further into the kaupapa and contemporary claims space. 

The kaupapa inquiries are holding a mirror up to the Crown’s face, challenging its policies and the treatment of Māori, both historically and present day, in the implementation of these policies.

And:

It is my hope that we see a better and improved partnership between Māori and the Crown that will benefit our mokopuna and future generations.  

Jackson noted that Te Puni Kōkiri is actively participating in “kaupapa inquiries” led by the Tribunal.

Te Pae Tawhiti – Wai 262 – This is the Crown’s first steps toward a whole of government response to issues raised by the Wai 262 claim and the subsequent Tribunal’s 2011 report Ko Aotearoa Tēnei.

Housing Policy and Services Inquiry Wai 2750 – Te Puni Kōkiri is supporting the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, which leads the Crown response to the Housing Inquiry – Wai 2750. The initial focus of the inquiry is homelessness for Māori. Te Puni Kōkiri will ensure the needs of Māori sit front and centre of the Governments Housing policy.

Mana Wahine Inquiry – Wai 2700 – Te Puni Kōkiri is co-leading the Crown response to Mana Wahine with the Ministry for Women.  The hearings started last month, “and key themes will emerge over the coming months as they are heard around the motu”. The inquiry will help the government better understand how historical events have shaped many of the issues faced by Māori women today, “providing an opportunity for us to work collectively to restore their mana and rangatiratanga”.

“I know this Government will uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to improve the intergenerational wellbeing of our whānau by working in closer partnerships with wāhine Māori.”

We wonder what Jackson and his ministry make of Justice Francis Cooke’s declaration that the  Waitangi  Tribunal has been in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and not followed tikanga in the decision he overturned.

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