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Gareth Hughes speaks on the Nga Punawai O Te Tokotoru Claims Settlement Bill - second reading

Gareth Hughes MP
Gareth Hughes MP
gareth [dot] hughes [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)
The Green Party continues to ask questions about this model of settlement with the greatest respect for the parties who have negotiated this, and with all our good wishes for the future negotiations, because Te Tiriti o Waitangi never ends; it embraces the model of permanent negotiation for justice and peace between the people of the motu. Hence, we reject the final settlement concept but embrace the concept of permanent Te Tiriti negotiation. We acknowledge this omnibus bill as a huge body of work affecting this vital part of Te Arawa lands, and we look forward to the third reading.
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GARETH HUGHES: Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou. Kia ora. I rise to speak to support the Ngā Punawai o Te Tokotoru Claims Settlement Bill second reading in this House. I want to give this speech on behalf of the Green Party but particularly on behalf of Catherine Delahunty.

First up I would like to say that it is an absolute privilege to be here speaking on Catherine's behalf on the second reading of this bill. It is an omnibus bill covering significant issues of justice for the peoples of the Te Arawa confederation, including Rangiteaorere and Ngāti Rangiwewehi. It is designed to settle historical claims, cultural redress, and commercial redress. I would like to congratulate all involved in the negotiations and the process. This bill includes an apology and various rights of first refusal for a range of properties in the rohe of this iwi. It acknowledges the Crown's breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in relation to this iwi.

The concept of first right of refusal is an interesting model in the framework of a justice-based Te Tiriti settlement. It is not exactly restoration of rights or mana and it is not exactly the restoration of whenua or other resources that have been stolen, alienated, or otherwise removed from the people of the land; it is the right to purchase a property back, often at market rates, but as a first right. That is the compromise in the Te Tiriti settlement process when land has become individual private property or State property and it is difficult to include in the redress of raupatu. But it is not what many people think Te Tiriti settlements are all about.

Many Pākehā and tau iwi katoa need to read the detail of the redress clauses in these bills and have their eyes open to what is actually available in the context of the settlement process. Their assumptions might receive a therapeutic education on the facts of what some people consider a very generous option. There were 12 submissions on the bill, and the Māori Affairs Committee has recommended passing it with some amendments. The Green Party supports these amendments.

The bill is about historical grievances and estrangements of the iwi from the cherished places in their rohe—the lakes, maunga, fertile lands, and geothermal taonga. There is much detail in the settlement that tells the shoddy tales of the Native Land Court, used as a tool of alienation, and the all too familiar saga of Crown disgrace. The bill also establishes Te Maru o Kaituna, the Kaituna River Authority, in an effort to create co-governance of the Kaituna River and awa, which are badly in need of a joint effort to restore, protect, and enhance that much-abused waterway.

The process is important, as all co-governance processes stand or fall on the way these processes reflect the balance of power and resources. The concept of co-governance relies on an equitable relationship whereby both parties can come to the decision-making table with the capacity to participate without one party dominating either via their world view or their access to resources.

The Green Party continues to ask questions about this model of settlement with the greatest respect for the parties who have negotiated this, and with all our good wishes for the future negotiations, because Te Tiriti o Waitangi never ends; it embraces the model of permanent negotiation for justice and peace between the people of the motu. Hence, we reject the final settlement concept but embrace the concept of permanent Te Tiriti negotiation. We acknowledge this omnibus bill as a huge body of work affecting this vital part of Te Arawa lands, and we look forward to the third reading. Kia ora.

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