November 04, 2013
Maori Council freeloaders says O’Regan
Submissions have closed on the fate of the New Zealand Maori Council and the Maori wardens, with emotions high over the consultation process.
The council is still waiting to hear whether the Waitangi Tribunal will grant urgency to its claim about the way the Government has gone about reviewing the Maori Economic Development Act.
The Crown is opposing urgency.
Many of the submitters spoke in favour of the council continuing, and pointed to its history fighting for Maori rights.
But former Ngai Tahu negotiator Sir Tipene O’Regan says the role of the New Zealand Maori Council in the lands and fisheries cases of the 1980s has been overstated.
He says the council did not present any hard evidence, and it attached itself to the actions on behalf of iwi who were not litigants.
"It was convenient in that sense in that it gave the fisheries negotiations a representative air and evidence on the ground was done by Ngai Tahu, Muriwhenua, and not a lot for Tainui, they were largely there in support. We saw them largely as freedloaders and we made sure we had independent representation in the litigation," Sir Tipene says.
He says iwi rather than the New Zealand Maori Council are the crown’s treaty partners.
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