Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Not about race

In his press conference in Rotorua yesterday, Don Brash once again played the race card and accused the government of giving things to Maori solely on the basis of race:

"The compensation payment should be recognised because the annuity Te Arawa got in the 1922 agreement was never indexed to inflation, but giving them the lakes is wrong and so too is setting up a board that gives them representation purely because of their race."

Except of course that Te Arawa are not being represented on that board "purely because of their race". They are being represented on the basis of their significant historical and present ownership interest in the lake, and because government mismanagement adversely affected rights that were specifically protected by the 1922 settlement. It's a way of ensuring that it doesn't happen again - or rather, that Te Arawa is actively involved and can protect their rights. And given that they will actually own the lakebed (but not apparantly the water above it), co-management seems a fairly good solution - certainly better than the alternative of managing by court action and suing the regional council, DOC etc whenever they make a decision that impacts on those rights.

Of course, all of that is far too long and complex for a shallow soundbite by the lakeside, and wouldn't play very well with the rednecks Brash is targetting in any case.