The Treaty partnership at work? DoC’s Minister is defied after declaring opposition to a rāhui in Whirinaki Conservation Park

The Point of Order team, constantly keeping an eye on Beehive decisions that affect the way we are governed, has been looking for evidence that the Minister of Conservation is in charge of the Department of Conservation and that her department can over-ride travel bans imposed by anyone who cares to put up a “Keep Out” sign.

The evidence sadly suggests the Minister, Kiritapu Allan, is not in charge.

At least, not when Maori tribal leaders opt to flex their muscle.

This raises significant questions about accountability and ministerial responsibility under the Ardern government.

It also raises questions about so-called Treaty partnerships and co-governance.

Our appetite for checking out Allan’s grip on DoC was whetted by news that tribal leaders in the Bay of Plenty area have slapped a “Keep Out” sign on the Whirinaki Conservation Park.

They don’t call it a “Keep Out” sign, of course.  They call it a rahui. Continue reading “The Treaty partnership at work? DoC’s Minister is defied after declaring opposition to a rāhui in Whirinaki Conservation Park”

Jobs for the boys (including a Nat) – govt sets up two panels to work on the reclassification of DOC’s stewardship land

It’s great to see former Cabinet ministers – two of them elderly white men – landing jobs as members of panels set up to work on the reclassification of “stewardship land”.

Moreover, it’s great to see the government’s fondness for diversity resulting in a former National cabinet minister, Christopher Finlayson, being among the appointees, along with former Labour ministers Philip Woollaston and Mita Ririnui. Remember them?

They have been appointed to two “independent” expert national panels tasked with coming up with revised classification recommendations to the Conservation Minister.

“Stewardship land” is the term given for land allocated to the Department of Conservation  when it was formed in 1987. It includes former State forest and Crown Land that were considered to have conservation value.

We are talking about a hefty chunk of the country.  Around 30% of conservation land is stewardship areas, approximately 2,508,000 ha – or 9% of New Zealand. Continue reading “Jobs for the boys (including a Nat) – govt sets up two panels to work on the reclassification of DOC’s stewardship land”

Whee – it’s Whio Awareness Month, folks, but we must wait a while to learn how Kiwis will be cared for in a reformed health system

Our Beehive bulletin

We must wait for Budget 2021 to be delivered on 20 May (the date was announced today) to find how much we will be borrowing to implement initiatives and programmes the government announces almost daily from the Beehive.

Some of those initiatives profoundly and directly affect most if not all of us.  Reform of the health system, for example.

Others – not so much.

Conservation Minister Kiri Allen has announced two of these –

  • Seventeen hand-reared whio (blue duck) will be released into Arthur’s Pass National Park later this week, the first of several whio releases planned across the country over the next few months.  The first release coincides with “whio awareness month” (we confess we were blissfully unaware the calendar included such a month).
  • Philanthropic contributions to save the kiwi are being encouraged. This was announced at the launch of the Kiwis for kiwi Endowment Fund, which aims to raise $20m over the next five years to support kiwi conservation.

While Allen was hailing the kiwi as a taonga, Andrew Little was tidying up the speech in which he described our publicly funded health system as one of New Zealand’s greatest assets.

But it is under serious stress and does not deliver equally for all, Little said. Continue reading “Whee – it’s Whio Awareness Month, folks, but we must wait a while to learn how Kiwis will be cared for in a reformed health system”

Don’t go looking for Treaty principles in the Treaty – they come from the courts and DoC is grappling with a new set of them

A Supreme Court judgement in August last year has led to the Department of Conservation undertaking partial reviews of the Conservation General Policy and the General Policy for National Parks, to give better effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

And what are these principles?

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage told Point of Order:

“The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi are not explicitly stated in the articles of the Treaty itself.”

Nope.

“They have evolved primarily though jurisprudence…”  

They also have significant governance and constitutional implications.

Another stage in this evolutionary process was the Supreme Court’s ruling which   buttressed an iwi’s claim to exclusive rights to conduct commercial tours for at least five years on the Rangitoto and Motutapu islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki went to court to challenge DoC’s issuing five-year tourism concessions to Fullers and the Motutapu Island Restoration Trust on the islands. Continue reading “Don’t go looking for Treaty principles in the Treaty – they come from the courts and DoC is grappling with a new set of them”