Friday, June 18, 2004

Aquaculture settlement

I'm simply appalled that National is objecting to the aquaculture settlement as "space for race". For those who have forgotten their recent history, aquaculture was left out of the mammoth Fisheries Settlement several years ago as being too hard; today's announcement is an attempt to finally settle it. The settlement is in line with the previous deal, which gave 20% of all new quota to iwi, and nobody loses out. If there aren't enough aquaculture spaces remaining in an area, then the government will either find someone willing to sell, or compensate.

National meanwhile seems to have abandoned the consensus that we should right the wrongs of the past. Since they need the reminding, I'll spell it out: the reason Maori "get it for free" is because we stole it from them. Giving iwi a mere 20% of what they're entitled to seems to be quite a good deal for us. The reason we have a settlements process is because massive injustices were committed in the past, which stripped an entire people of their economic base and relegated them to disposessed poverty in their own country. After Orewa, Don Brash was at pains to recognise this injustice, saying that National would "set right" clear Treaty breaches, and "accelerate and then conclude the process of Treaty settlements". Today's reaction by his fisheries spokesperson show the lie behind that statement. Don Brash clearly has no commitment to righting past wrongs - at least, not when there's votes to be gained by bashing Maori instead.