Here at Point of Order we first learned – in an emailed press statement from Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson – about the Government’s determination to press on with plans intended to fundamentally change the country’s democratic systems of government and further politically empower Maori.
The objective is to “enhance our partnership with Māori”, which is another way of saying it is is to promote co-governance arrangements whereby the leaders of around 15 per cent of the country’s population are assured of the same decision-making rights as the elected representatives of 85 per cent of the population (although elected representatives are supposed to serve all of their communities).
Jackson insists it is not a done deal – it will be discussed.
But first it will be discussed among Maori.
Significantly, Jackson’s statement can not be found on The Beehive website, the official website of the Government of New Zealand which boasts it is
“.. the best place to find Government initiatives, policies and Ministerial information.”
Education Chris Hipkins has been doing his bit for a Maori-Crown partnership, too, but at least The Beehive website does record his intentions.
He has announced race-based changes to the way the Government funds the country’s scientists and researchers.
He said the Government is building on the successes of the Performance-Based Research Fund “to ensure a stronger, fairer, more diverse tertiary education system”.
He is vague about what the changes will be but all too clear in advising us they are being based on the government’s highly contentious ideas about the Treaty partnership.
In the upshot, it’s not the merits of a project that matter and Maori researchers can count on being given a bigger share of the funding than they are getting now.
An independent review of the fund settings and targeted consultation with the research sector has resulted in changes “to ensure the fund is fair and best represents New Zealand”.
“… will better recognise the range of research excellence our tertiary education organisations produce,”
“The more holistic approach favoured in the review and through the feedback received will see the partnership between Māori and the Crown better provided for, with greater recognition of the contributions of Māori researchers and research.
“It will also better reward research that has important implications for Māori communities, and wider New Zealand society.”
Strengthening funding for research that reflects the growing diversity in New Zealand is another key component to the changes, with additional credit for the work of Pacific, disabled and early-career researchers and research.
“These changes [the details are absent from the press statement] reflect our commitment to equity and wellbeing outcomes, and our vision for a sustainable, diverse and representative research workforce.”
Hipkins’ statement is consistent with the progress towards co-governance signalled in Jackson’s announcement.
The emailed statement headed Next steps for Declaration plan on indigenous rights was sent from Jackson’s office at 12:01 pm yesterday under an embargo permitting its publication at 1.30pm.
But many members of the public who do not have Jackson’s statements emailed to them might have learned first about the latest manoeuvrings on the gradual dismantling of our democracy in a National Party press statement posted on the Scoop site:
He Puapua Is Not The Way Forward For New Zealand
Thursday, 1 July 2021, 3:28 pm
Press Release: New Zealand National Party
The Government has tried to down play Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson’s announcement today as a simple consultation process, but in truth it is an indication of what is to come, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.
Ten minutest later, Scoop posted this:
Next Steps For Declaration Plan On Indigenous Rights
Thursday, 1 July 2021, 3:38 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Government
Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has today announced the next steps in developing a national plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration).
In this statement, Jackson said this builds on the previous National Government’s decision to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
“… and will enhance our partnership with Māori”.
This is the partnership that – look as hard as you might – can not be found in the Treaty of Waitangi.
In the next phase of the exercise in fostering co-governance the Government will work through a two-step process, which will begin with “targeted engagement over the next few months” with “key” tribes and “significant Māori organisations” on how they wish to be involved.
And then – hurrah – Jackson assures is there will be “wide public consultation with New Zealanders on a draft Declaration plan”.
Jackson assures us:
“As we have previously said He Puapua is not government policy nor the basis of a declaration plan. Instead it is a starting point for discussion.”
He further said New Zealand’s position has continued to be that the Declaration must satisfy several fundamental requirements including:
- Being consistent with international law, and New Zealand law and policy;
- Protecting the rights of all citizens; and
- Safeguarding territorial integrity and political unity, as well as the responsibility of all democratically elected governments to govern for the welfare of all their citizens.
This doesn’t sound too threatening, constitutionally, to people who have fought for democracy and their descendants who want to preserve democratic governance arrangements.
But then Jackson says:
“This Government is focused on improving the wellbeing of Māori communities, addressing inequity issues for Māori and fulfilling our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and this is one part of that mahi.”
Those obligations are constantly being re-written by judges, politicians, academics and the Waitangi Tribunal.
Under this government they have provided the rationale for a raft of divisive policies that split the country into a Maori constituency and a non-Maori one.
Latest from the Beehive
(at time of writing)
More vaccinators coming on board for COVID-19 campaign
Retired and overseas-trained health professionals and the wider health workforce can now join New Zealand’s expanding vaccinator workforce, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced.
After the Government changed Medicines Regulations to allow more health workers to be trained to give vaccinations, Health Minister Chris Hipkins called on retired nurses, people who have trained overseas but are not registered here, and those in the kaiāwhina workforce – who work in our health system already in roles such as healthcare assistants – to join the vaccinator team.
More than 12,500 people have already logged their details in the Hands-Up database, which is designed to capture a broad range of skills and backgrounds for different roles.
DHBs have been following up with potential candidates to recruit people as the government scales up the vaccination programme.
The Immunisation Advisory Centre has trained more than 8,100 COVID-19 vaccinators from across the health sector since the beginning of the year.
Current projections are that the government will need 1,600 full-time equivalent vaccinators at the peak of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. This means 6,000 to 6,500 people will be needed.
Matariki holiday dates for next thirty years announced
The Government has released the recommended dates for the Matariki public holiday for the next 30 years to give communities and businesses certainty.
New Zealand will celebrate Matariki as a public holiday from next year, beginning on 24 June 2022. The calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift each year to align with the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar) and will always be on a Friday.
Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades, and refers to a cluster of stars that rises in mid-winter, marking the start of the Māori New Year. Some tribues name this time of year Puanga, after a bright star that is above and to the right of the Matariki constellation.
Performance-Based Research Fund to be fairer, more diverse
The Government is building on the successes of the Performance-Based Research Fund to ensure a stronger, fairer, more diverse tertiary education system, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.
Following an independent review of the fund settings and targeted consultation with the research sector, changes are being made to ensure the fund is fair and best represents New Zealand.
The changes will better recognise the range of research excellence our tertiary education organisations produce, better provide for “the partnership between Māori and the Crown”, and give greater recognition to the contributions of Māori researchers and research.
The Tertiary Education Commission is appointing a Sector Reference Group. It will be made up of members from across the tertiary education sector who can contribute critical sector expertise and knowledge to implement the changes.
More information about the Performance-Based Research Fund can be found on the Ministry of Education and TEC websites:
New ferries to reduce emissions and strengthen link between islands
Investing in two new, rail-enabled Interislander ferries will help reduce transport emissions and support more goods and people crossing the Cook Strait, Transport Minister Michael Wood said.
KiwiRail has formally signed a contract with Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard to build two new Interislander ferries which will replace the existing, ageing fleet. The new ferries are expected to arrive in New Zealand in 2025 and 2026.
The new ferries will reduce the Interislander’s carbon emissions by 40 per cent with initiatives like using battery power for manoeuvring. They are also “future-proofed” so that more batteries can be added over time and they can be modified to run on other low-carbon fuels like hydrogen as they become available in the future.