Archive for February, 2010

IHI Submission

 

 

Submission to the Select Committee on Auckland Governance Legislation concerning the

Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill

 

 

By: IHI (Iwi Have Influence) Action Group

c/o Helen Te Hira, Lena Henry, Rau Hoskins, Shane Cook, Keita Kohere, Kowhai Olsen, Rangimarie Abraham

8 Thomas Rea Place

Te Atatu South

Auckland 0610

 

No Super City Without Us, No Super City Without Maori!

This submission is representative of many iwi, hapu, whanau, Maori and non-Maori communities, residents of Tamaki and individuals throughout Aotearoa who have participated in the Tamaki Hikoi on 25 May 2009, Vigil Dawn Gatherings on Maungawhau on July 6th – 10th, 2009 and a National Hui on “Maori and Local Government- Beyond the Super City” on 4th December 2009.

We participate in this submission process knowing that our requests for genuine recognition of the interests of Mana Whenua and Maori representation at the governance level have been ignored. This Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill demonstrates the short sightedness of this government in its lack of consideration of and commitment to Treaty based relationships between Mana Whenua, Maori and Local Government.

Mana Whenua are currently discussing with the Crown through the Treaty Settlements process, breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and the injustices that iwi of Tamaki have experienced through legislation, local government policies, settlement of Auckland etc.

However, at the same time through the proposal of this bill, Mana Whenua are again relegated to the position of an advisory board, whereby the power still remains at the governance level where Manawhenua have no guaranteed presence and no guarantee of being genuinely heard at the decision-making table.

We submit that the Declaration below summarises the pertinent issues and recommendation that we strongly urge the Committee to consider in regard toClause 45- New Part 7.In 2007, the Labour Government initiated a Commissioner’s enquiry into the workability of local government arrangements in Auckland. In March 2009, the Royal Commission Report on Auckland Governance was completed with a set of recommendations that “sought to be forward-looking and to produce a structure capable of meeting the needs of the region as it evolves over the next 20-50 years”. There was a strong recommendation that Maori should be represented on the Auckland Council in the form of three seats, shared between manawhenua and Maori. The Royal Commission also recommended the appointment of a manawhenua forum with powers to appoint members of Watercare’s Maori Advisory Group.

In April 2009, the incoming National and Act led government rejected the recommendations of reserved Maori representation in the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill and they have continued to ignore the legitimate call for reserved Maori seats on Local Government through to the third Bill.

It was expected that the establishment of a single, region-wide unitary authority within the rohe of nga iwi me nga hapu o Tamaki Makaurau, Te Taitokerau and Tikapa Moana would overcome fragmentation and lead to more effective governance. However, the National and Act government have merely offered an advisory role to manawhenua and tangata whenua. On reflection, this is no different to the treatment of the Maori Local Government Reform Consultative Group’s recommendations 20 years ago in 1988 which were similarly ignored.

The Declaration of Independence, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi provide the basis of any governance structure in Aotearoa New Zealand. This has been restated throughout the entire review of the Auckland local governance process. Submitters (both Maori and non-Maori) to the Royal Commission inquiry and to the second bill have continued to strongly recommend the inclusion of Maori representation on local government as a Treaty right and appropriate for democracy in Aotearoa New Zealand considering our history and understanding of manawhenua and tangata whenua rights.

Injustices and breaches of the Treaty have been recorded and seek to be resolved through the efforts of the Crown and Iwi/Hapu. To prevent such grievances from reoccurring, manawhenua need to have a voice at every political level. Provision for manawhenua to have decision-making powers in the new Auckland Governance structure is paramount. The provision for any advisory board needs to follow-on from the provision of Maori representation at the governance level as a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

The key points set out in this declaration are not new to the Crown but a reaffirmation of the relationship Maori have been seeking for a very long time. These matters have been raised in previous local government reforms and various discussions between Iwi/Hapu and the Crown. Again, we ask that the government adopt the key points of this declaration from “Te Hui o te Kotahitanga” and amend the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill. All local government legislation should provide for and acknowledge the constitutional relationship between Rangatiratanga and Kawanatanga as affirmed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Our vision for Maori and Local Government

All local government legislation should provide for and acknowledge the constitutional relationship between Rangatiratanga and Kawanatanga as affirmed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Key Points

The following statements were reaffirmed at the hui to reflect the discussions held. These are a starting point for further discussions with whanau, hapu and iwi and communities.

1. The functions and responsibilities of local government should be interpreted and implemented in a manner consistent with and giving effect to, the Declaration of Independence, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi.

2. A genuine Treaty partnership would reflect equal 50/50 representation of Tangata Whenua and tauiwi at governance level, however as a very minimum there should be three guaranteed seats for Maori representation and more importantly Manawhenua representation as recommended by the Royal Commission.

3. That Maori Advisory Units at an operational level be established and adequately resourced to support Council to meet both statutory and non-statutory responsibilities to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi for the cultural, spiritual, economic and social wellbeing of Maori communities.

4. That a Maori Local Government Commission be established to deal with those aspects of the Local Government Commission’s jurisdiction and activities that impact on Maori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

5. That an independent Treaty of Waitangi Audit Office be established to audit local government for compliance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi rights and obligations.

CLAUSE 45 –NEW PART 7

We would also like the inclusion of a statement which clearly sets out that the Maori Statutory Board is not responsible for upholding the functions, powers or processes of Local Government in regard to the Local Government Act 2002.

The Maori Statutory Board is not to be used as a one-stop shop for Council to tick the box in regard to The Local Government Act 2002 (LGA), Section 4 which outlines Crown’s obligation to satisfy the requirements of the principles of the Treaty and directs local authorities to establish processes that encourage Maori to participate in local government decisions. Section 81 requires Council to develop and maintain processes that improve the capacity of Maori to participate in the decision-making processes of local authorities.

The Statutory Board is not a substitute for the establishment of Maori wards as set out under sections 40(b) and 40(d). Additionally, section 77(c) requires local authorities to take into account the relationship of Maori and their culture and traditions when making significant decisions about land or body of water.

In the absence of Maori Wards and or guaranteed Mana Whenua / Maori seats, the legal status of the Maori Statutory Board should be elevated to sit alongside the elected Council in effect as a second house. In this way a Treaty Based system of local governance could be enacted for Tamaki as model for the Motu.

Council still needs to provide for Schedule 10(5) which states that information must be included in a LTCCP which includes the need for Council to develop the capacity of Maori to contribute to decision making processes. This requirement is extended in schedule 10 c.21 to ensure that local authorities report annually on the improvements and outcomes of these processes.

The new Auckland Council must plan and provide for the responsibilities and obligations to the wider Maori community in regard to provisions of the LGA 2002.

IHI Action Group supports participatory democracy where Mana Whenua and Maori hold enshrined governance rights, consistent with the articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We therefore believe that neither the Mana of our ancestors nor the diversity of our communities is sufficiently provided for in this Bill.

CLAUSE 24

The radical changes and inclusion of CCOs provide for the establishment of decision-making bodies also needs to provide for the Treaty-based relationship with Mana Whenua and Maori. The rights of Mana Whenua to make decisions about water and the environment are reaffirmed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and also recognised in the RMA 1991 and LGA 2002. Therefore the Bill must include guaranteed seats.

CLAUSE 2

Since the release of the Report of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, the National and Act led Government has rushed through a number of so called consultative processes. These processes have proven to have little regard to the communities of Auckland region and therefore we strongly request that this Government reconsider the commencement date as set out in Clause 2. Local Government reform in Auckland deserves a more considered approach than is possible in the current time frames set by the Government.

 

CLAUSE 62, CLAUSE 67, CLAUSE 71

IHI Action Group is also opposed to the privatisation of taonga and resources, the taonga of Tamaki are not for sale. We believe that provisions within the Bill put our resources at risk of being managed with a profit driven philosophy and therefore unaffordable for families with no and low income. Even more concerning is the risk of our taonga and collective community resources being sold out of public ownership and control. Therefore we oppose the inclusion of these provisions and recommend that they be removed.

FINAL STATEMENT

This government has an opportunity to be responsive, inclusive and creative in setting the future direction of Local Government in Aotearoa New Zealand. The current bill is a reflection of where the National Party and Act Party perceive Mana Whenua and Maori to be in terms of regional governance and civic affairs. The adoption of this bill in its current form depicts a cruel and ignorant return to the sentiments and fallacies espoused by the past National Government with the Orewa Speech. As spoken by one of our great rangatira Ta Hēmi Henare:

 

Background

He tawhiti kē to koutou haerenga

Ki te kore e haere tonu

He tino nui rawa o koutou mahi

Kia kore e mahi nui tonu

We have come too far

Not to go further

We have done too much

Not to do more

– Na Ta Hēmi Henare

 

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