Jackson takes another small step towards action at Ihumātao while Mahuta aims for the heavens with Treaty-influenced space policy

Buzz from the Beehive

Down here on Earth – more particularly, in Ihumātao – progress on doing whatever is going to be done to that disputed patch of land has been glacial.

Newsroom drew attention  to the dawdling in an article in April which noted that Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson had hoped a governance group, Roopu Whakahaere, would be up and running in February

“…  but it could now be late May before that happens”.

Or June, perhaps.

At the time Newsroom posted that article, 16 months had passed since the Government announced the controversial land – home to a long-running occupation – had been purchased by the Crown from Fletcher Building for $30 million.

Yesterday Newsroom reported that the governance group has finally met.

Almost 18 months to the date the land was purchased, the three Ahi Kā representatives have been mostly decided and the group had its first meeting with Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson late last month.

And yesterday Willie Jackson officially announced …

Drum roll, please.

He announced the appointment of Crown representatives, Dr Charlotte Severne and Mr Bernie O’Donnell, to the Steering Committee that will determine the future of the Ihumātao land.

Willie Jackson met with members of the Rōpū Whakahaere recently and expects the group will meet again soon, and it will be convened by the Kīngitanga.

Meanwhile the government has been deep in contemplation about what should happen above the Earth, in the vast space called Space, and what must be done to bring the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori knowledge into the framing of policy-making relevant to the Outer Space Treaty..

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta, delivering her second address at the 56th Annual Otago Foreign Policy School, made “Space” her topic.

Before turning to the consideration of space foreign policy, she said

“… I want to propose that we have much to learn from indigenous peoples around the world. This applies also to the formation of space policy.”

She explained that the Outer Space Treaty, adopted more than half a century ago, recognised that outer space was the province of all humankind and should therefore be used for the benefit of all countries, irrespective of their state of development.

Providing a clear, purposeful and overarching legal principle to guide the development and use of space, that treaty was even more relevant now than in 1967.

New Zealand firmly endorsed this principle and supported its ongoing application.

But look what we can bring to the party?

“Drawing on indigenous concepts and the evolution of legal frameworks to truly capture the essence of stewardship or kaitiakitanga of space, Aotearoa New Zealand could introduce a similar concept to space as we have done for example for the absolute protection of the Whanganui River and recognising space as a ‘living entity’. Treating space like an ancestor with rules and norms to guide decision-making and behaviours would certainly invoke a different mentality for nation states around the world.”

But Mahuta had other matters on her foreign affairs agenda and issued a statement on the second anniversary of the introduction of the Hong Kong National Security Law to reiterate New Zealand’s concerns over the continued erosion of rights, freedom and autonomy in Hong Kong.

“Since the NSL was enacted, we have witnessed the suppression of freedom of speech and assembly, the stifling of political opposition, and a significantly narrowed space for media and civil society organisations.

“Aotearoa New Zealand calls on Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China to restore and respect the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, as well as the high degree of autonomy guaranteed to Hong Kong until 2047 under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

Whereas Mahuta did not mention “democracy” in either her speech about space policy or her statement about Hong Kong, the PM did drop the D word into a statement she released jointly with Police Minister Chris Hipkins.  This was to announce New Zealand’s signing of the Europol Agreement.

The PM described this as a significant milestone for New Zealand and the European Union’s relationship

“… and reflects our shared principles of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today.”

The Agreement aims to promote and lead to greater collaboration between New Zealand and EU law enforcement agencies,.

July 1 was a big occasion for other reasons.

  • The Government launched the first Ministry of Disabled People, New Zealand’s first Ministry that will have a NZ Sign Language name as well as Te Reo Māori and English names.
  • And Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority officially replaced the district health boards.

Health Minister Andrew Little addressed the two boards –  Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority – as they  assumed full responsibility for our publicly funded health services.

You will know the dimensions of your task but the $24 billion (in the current financial year alone) you are charged with shepherding supports:

    • 40 public hospitals
    • around 82 000 directly employed health workers
    • around 950 primary care practices, employing 20,000 staff
    • 660 ARC providers, employing 21,000 support workers and 5,000 nurses
    • 61,500 home care support workers
    • 2,200 ambulance crew and support staff, shortly to increase to 2,366.

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One thought on “Jackson takes another small step towards action at Ihumātao while Mahuta aims for the heavens with Treaty-influenced space policy

  1. Clearly we need a co-governance framework for Space so that indigenous values can be protected and royalties can be paid for any use of space above Aotearoa, for example for rocket launches or information from satellites. Why top at the airwaves and water when you’re on a roll?

    Liked by 1 person

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