We can discuss waste management as one people – but consultation on indigenous rights is segregated (and iwi come first)

Latest from the Beehive –

The last item we recorded after monitoring the Beehive website yesterday was headed E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka tū ā tērā tau.  The accompanying news dealt with a government decision to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Māori language petition and Māori Language Day as a major anniversary next year

“The Māori language petition, supported by 30,000 signatories, was presented to Parliament on the 14th September 1972 by representatives of Ngā Tamatoa, Victoria University’s Te Reo Māori Society and the NZ Māori Students Association. This is an important opportunity to pay further tribute to their hard mahi.”

This doesn’t mean the government approves so glowingly of all hard mihi that goes into gathering signatures for petitions.

Earlier this year it rammed into law the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill, which removes the right for a petition signed by five per cent of electors or more in a local authority area to trigger a binding poll on the introduction of Māori wards.

More changes that comprehensively change the country’s democratic constitutional and governance arrangements and the management of public services are in the offing.

Local government Minister Nanaia Mahuta (who led the charge with the legislation to facilitate the establishment of Maori wards) is pressing on with the highly contentious Three Waters Reform programme, which includes arrangements for Maori tribal leaders to become co-governors of four new water-administering authorities.

And she has welcomed the interim report on the Future for Local Government Review, saying:

“.. our system of local democracy and governance needs to evolve to be fit for the future.” 

The report portends the nature of the “evolution”, saying:

“The relationship between local government and Māori is being re-examined, as the country moves towards a new phase in the Treaty of Waitangi relationship.”

And:

“Planned reforms to resource management and three waters create much stronger statutory obligations to give effect to Te Tiriti, along with provisions for joint decision-making and statutory protection for Te Mana o te Wai (the health and mauri of fresh water) and Te Oranga o te Taiao (the health of the natural environment). If implemented as currenly planned, these reforms will apply specifcally to water and resource management, rather than the whole local government system.”

 The three waters reforms and local government reforms flow from ideas promoted in the He Puapua report, which has its origins in the Key government’s decision in 2010 to commit  support to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In 2019 the Labour-New Zealand First coalition set up a Declaration Working Group to devise a plan and vision to give effect to that commitment and “recommend a refocus on rangatiratanga Māori”, which means Māori self-determination.

The Beehive website reports further progress in a post headed Next steps in action plan for indigenous rights kicks off

This records Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson meeting with more than 30 national Māori organisations in an online hui,

“… kicking off the process to develop a plan for New Zealand to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration).”

Then – as if to provocatively reinforce concerns of “separatism” expressed by critics of  He Puapua – he said Maori are being consulted now, and people of other creeds and colours …

Well, they will get their turn later.

“The engagement until February 2022, is with whānau, iwi, hapū and significant Māori organisations, and will then be followed by a wider public consultation with New Zealanders on a draft Declaration plan next year,” Willie Jackson said.

Jackson said Te Puni Kōkiri, the National Iwi Chairs Forum and the Human Rights Commission worked together on an engagement strategy

“… that aims to ensure as many Māori voices as possible get to share their views on what should be included in a Declaration plan.”

Did the Human Rights Commission and a non-iwi forum come up with a similar engagement strategy to hear the voices of as many people as possible from the rest of the population (who happen to comprise the great majority)?

Probably not, because the great majority may well challenge tribal ideas of what “partnership” should involve.

But as Jackson put it, the partnership will be enhanced:

”This work builds on the previous National Governments decision to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and will enhance our partnership with Māori. New Zealand is one of 148 countries that support the Declaration.”

We can be grateful that elsewhere in the government, Environment Minister David Parker is planning a consultation which – so far as we can see – regards all Kiwis as equals. The press statement is headed Kiwis to have their say on plan to reduce waste.

New Zealanders are invited to have their say on proposals for a new waste strategy and options for new waste legislation, Parker said.

“Reducing waste is one of the issues all New Zealanders – especially younger Kiwis – care deeply about,” Environment Minister David Parker said today

Parker had troubling figures:

“New Zealand is one of the highest generators of waste per person in the world. On average, every year each New Zealander sends approximately 750kgs of waste to landfill, and much of this could be recycled, re-processed or reused.

“In 2019, waste contributed about 4 per cent of Aotearoa New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions and around 9 per cent of its biogenic methane emissions. We can do better, and New Zealanders are demanding change.

“We need to catch up with those countries showing the way, and then move forward.”

He released the consultation paper (it has an English-language title, Taking responsibility for our waste”) which seeks feedback on a new national waste strategy. The aim is to:

  • Ensure the data, regulations and strategy are in place for transformational change
  • Get resource recovery and recycling systems working well
  • Reduce emissions from organic waste
  • Stimulate innovation and redesign for long-term change
  • Understand the scale and best approach for remediating past damage, and
  • Establish long-term information and education programmes

The strategy will also set targets to reduce total waste volumes, methane emissions from waste, and litter by 2030.

Feedback will help shape the final proposals for reform. Once developed, new legislation will replace the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 and Litter Act 1979.

Proposals for the new legislation include building on the duty-of-care model (used in other jurisdictions) to improve how we deal with unwanted material, a national licensing system for the waste management industry, enhancing the existing regulatory tools to encourage change, and how legislation supports product stewardship schemes.

Consultation will run for six weeks until 26 November 2021. The consultation document and submission forms are available on the Ministry for the Environment’s website: https://consult.environment.govt.nz/waste/taking-responsibility-for-our-waste

Interesting, eh?

We are being trusted to be consulted as one people on waste management, because we care deeply about it.

But we are not being trusted to be consulted as one people on critical constitutional matters involving governance, accountability and the integrity of our democracy.

Whether we care deeply about it will be reflected in the feedback.

Latest from the Beehive

Judge of the High Court appointed

Māori Land Court Judge Layne Harvey has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today.

Kiwis to have their say on plan to reduce waste

New Zealanders are invited to have their say on proposals for a new waste strategy and options for new waste legislation.

Next steps in action plan for indigenous rights kicks off

Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has today meet with more than 30 national Māori organisations in an online hui, kicking off the process to develop a plan for New Zealand to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration).

Iwi-led housing solutions build homes for the future

The Government is committed to the vision that all whānau have safe, healthy affordable homes with secure tenure, across the Māori continuum. Iwi-led housing developments are key to providing more homes for Māori today and into the future.

 

 

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