Thursday, December 17, 2020

A good first step

The government has finally accepted the inevitable and purchased Ihumātao from Fletcher Building, apparently with the aim of eventual return to iwi. Good. It shouldn't have taken them this long, but I guess that's what happens when you have Winston Peters in your government. Now he's gone, there can be progress. As for how much progress, the people whose views actually matter here are the Kaitiaki, the people actually occupying the land. They're cautiously welcoming the deal, but pointedly not mentioning the government's plan to put housing on the site, so it could all still fall apart. Still, its a good first step, and shows the government is at least trying to find a solution, rather than sticking its fingers in its ears and pretending that there is no problem...

...except on the Treaty, of course. The government is saying the purchase and return is part of a "non-Treaty process", and the agreement includes a clause saying that it isn't a Treaty settlement. Which is exactly as meaningful as its clauses saying that Treaty settlements are "full and final": not at all. Yes, the government wants to pretend its not setting a precedent, and not upset its long-running scam of offering Māori a tiny fraction of what was stolen from them and relying on exhaustion and goodwill to make it stick. But we all know they are, and that the door is open for those settlements to be revisited. And we should welcome that. Because no person with a shred of conscience could consider what has been provided anything like just compensation for what was stolen - and until just compensation is paid, the wrong remains.