Wednesday, February 01, 2017

National pisses on another Treaty settlement

In 2014, Parliament passed the Ngāti Kōata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu, and Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui Claims Settlement Act 2014, which settled the outstanding Treaty claims of those iwi. During the settlement negotiations, the iwi had quite rightly demanded their share of aquaculture space in the Marlborough Sounds (itself guaranteed by the 2004 commercial aquaculture claims settlement), only to be told that there was no free space to give. But now, the government seems to be unravelling both those settlements with a proposal to move a group of salmon farms to new sites:

The chairman of an iwi fisheries forum has lashed out against a plan to relocate up to six salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds, accusing the Government of dealing in bad faith.

The Ministry for Primary Industries wants to relocate five New Zealand King Salmon farms in Pelorus Sound and one salmon farm in Tory Channel, and claims the changes would bring economic and environmental benefits.

Te Tau Ihu customary fisheries forum chairman Richard Bradley said the plan was "not honourable".

And he's right. The government's position, pretending that these spaces aren't new, effectively says that space is available for aquaculture by Pakeha but not for Maori. And that's not just dishonourable - its deeply racist.

It also continues National's disturbing trend of ignoring the settlements it has worked so hard to complete, which in turn threatens the entire settlement process. After all, if the government doesn't regard settlements as binding, why should Maori? Again, if the government wants Treaty settlements to stick, it needs to obey them.