January 23, 2024
Corrupt or Incompetent? Possibly both.
JOHN TAMIHERE: Corrupt or Incompetent? Possibly both.
Te Pāti Māori received a confidential cabinet paper briefing this Government on its so called Treaty Principles legislation advanced under the Coalition Agreement between National, ACT and NZ First.
We then gained access to the full document of which the following is my view.
Clearly Māori have acted within the rule of law since signing the Treaty with the Crown in 1840. Equally as part of us consenting to non-Māori sharing our whenua with us, we reserved a number of rights unto ourselves exclusively. The re-write by this Government of the Treaty and its principles is either corrupt or incompetent.
In operating within the rule of law, Māori have over the last 44 years achieved a slow, monotonous, painful acknowledgement of rights which were dishonoured on the day on which they were signed in allowing non-Māori to share our whenua and its resources.
Our Government is underpinned by a constitution that flows like this. Firstly, you have the Executive which is the Cabinet, appointed by a Government and formed after an election, that’s called the First Estate. The Second Estate is the legislature, the Parliament that keeps that Cabinet and that Government honest by processing multiple pieces of legislation through that House and more importantly, by directing the flow of billions of dollars of money per annum into certain hands.
The Third Estate is the judiciary. The importance of their role is that many Politicians have designed laws in trying to correct what they consider to be wrong law.
The judiciary determines, by a very refined and defined process, what the law actually means.
We have multiple Waitangi Tribunal recommendations and cases that have worked through the rule of law and found in favour of Māori rights and entitlements. A number of them have not been upheld by Governments, but that is not to say that a vigorous legal process was undertaken and a range of recommendations were made by a judicial enquiry.
Not only is there a huge body of jurisprudence that has been built up by the Waitangi Tribunal, there is a huge body of law from District Courts, High Courts, Court of Appeal, Privy Council and now to our own Supreme Court that have defined Māori rights and entitlements as opposed to the “winner take all” approach this Government is endeavouring to assert.
Consequently the release of advice to this Government demonstrated significant apprehension regarding their proposal to overturn the law by pretending to simplify it.
A minority party cannot position the National Party into Government and then overturn all of this huge history of difficulty and pain suffered particularly and solely by one part of Aotearoa, and that is anyone with Māori whakapapa.
What is being projected by this Government is either incompetent (and this is clearly identified by the leaked cabinet paper) or it is corrupt.
It is incompetent because in the knowledge of 44 years of jurisprudential identification of multiple laws, over multiple Governments, the body of law has now solidified in regard to honouring in a piecemeal fashion, parts of the obligations, duties and responsibilities, of Governments to Māori.
The Treaty of Waitangi is our foundation document. It is greater than the 1215 Magna Carta was to the people of Great Britain.
It is the founding document that allows others to share this great nation and its resources. It is not a document that granted absolute right and entitlement to non-Māori over Māori domains. That is a matter of fact. What we see is a re-writing of the Treaty and its principles in a modern framework and in a very, very illogical, irrational and non-legal way.
This leads me to the conclusion that not only can it be incompetent, but this Government must also be corrupt. This is one of the biggest plays for a resource that has occurred in this country’s history up to and including 1840. Deny Māori rights by decreeing they no longer exist but are not absorbed by Pākehā elite. A reward to the 2% of kiwi who control 50% of our national wealth. A corrupt abuse of power.
It is an underhand grasping for Māori resources void of any legitimacy other than to say, “We are all Kiwi’s” which is code for, “We are all Pākehā so you do what we say or you get nothing!”. That’s the unscrupulous nature of this play being agreed to by this Government.
To suggest Māori will lay down on an illegal, incompetent and corrupt Government is just not going to happen.
What we have seen with the activation of Māori simply through social media on the day parliament was established as the 54th iteration of Government, played out without any recourse or model of leadership. It was viral, instantaneous, momentous and all within 72 hours.
What we see playing out at Kiingi Tuheitia’s kotahitanga hui is just another build out of our infrastructure, our organisation and our capacity and capability. More importantly, a belief in ourselves.
What we will see at Rātana is history making in itself. This afternoon Te Pāti Māori will enter Rātana with the Kiingitanga. At Waitangi, Te Pāti Māori will advance the interests of Māori people by going on with Kiingitana and Rātana.
This is a huge outcome for us as a people building our own movement.
In 1934 when Rātana entered into a compact with Labour Party led by Michael Joseph Savage. 90 years to the day Te Pāti Māori will be changing the face of all Māori movements as it enters Rātana as the preferred political force for Māori people.
It is a statement that we are evolving, it is a statement that we are rising, it is a statement that we are organising and it is a statement that we are now skilled enough, strong enough and able enough to stand on our own two feet. We no longer need or want others standing over us making us subservient, making us believe we are lesser than them.
As we head to Waitangi once again Te Pāti Māori is the only constitutional force that can protect, advance and defend Māori-related interests in the house that oversees our full constitution, Parliament.
So, winning six seats in 2023, who was to know that this challenge would be thrust upon Te Pāti Māori at this particular point in time. It is an outstanding outcome as we start to evolve on our next journey as Māori, working together as a confederation where we do not stand on the mana of each other. But we do understand that working together in congress and in unison under one political movement is stronger than the multiple parts of the confederation singularly.
Kotahitanga is about collective action. Kotahitanga is about us understanding the net authority in power of our coming together across organisational structures. Kotahitanga is moving as one massive force when we call our activations to defend our whakapapa.
Finally, messages have to be sent to people at the taxpayers union, to people embracing Hobson’s Choice, those in the so called freedom movement those against Three Waters, that we are free, Indigenous Sovereign Peoples.
No longer will Māori be stood over in our own whenua.
Te Pāti Māori President
Radio Waatea and its board would like to advise that the opinions expressed in this article are those of John Tamihere and not necessarily the views of Radio Waatea, its Management or its Board.