Media

By ROMY UDANGA – Manukau Courier

21/05/2009

 Verpal Singh

SIKHS FOR HIKOI: Auckland Sikh Centre chairman Verpal Singh says that if the government does not address the concerns of the people, they will have no recourse but to call for a rates revolt. Photo: NEIL DUDDY

Auckland’s 8000 Sikhs are overwhelmingly against the government’s supercity plans and will march with Monday’s hikoi to voice their protest.

The Manukau-based Auckland Sikh Centre says it made the decision after consultation with the Sikh community and others showed people are “overwhelmingly against the concept”.

Chairman Verpal Singh says the planned supercity structure is “close to dictatorship” and is driving “widespread concern that it will leave many of the city’s residents unrepresented”.

“Most people are of the view that if any restructuring is required it should be in the Auckland Regional Council and not abolition of all local councils.

“The stated objective of the whole exercise was to remove roadblocks in executing projects across local councils. The solution isn’t to abolish local councils.”

Many communities expected the Royal Commission’s recommendations to come back to the people so they could have their say, Mr Singh says.

“But it hasn’t happened in any reasonable way and consultation is unlikely to happen in a rushed select committee process.

“They have built our house without our say and now they are asking us: ‘Which corner will the chair go in ‘?

“It does not matter much where the chair will go. What matters most is how we shape and build the house.”

The “blatant disregard for people’s views and a dictatorial streak” in the decision-makers is most obvious on the question of Maori seats, he says.

“The Royal Commission has given a view there should be seats for Maori and the reasons for that.

“But the government simply responds with: ‘Na, we do not think we need Maori seats’. Where is the conversation about this whole process?”

At least two polls have shown people are in favour of Maori seats but the government refuses to listen, Mr Singh says.

“Our people will gather with the rest of Manukau at 7am at the Civic Square outside the Manukau City Council building and from there join the rest of Auckland.”

If the government does not listen to a call for greater representation and consultation then the next step has to be a rates boycott, Mr Singh says.

“Why should we pay rates to support a supercity we don’t want? That is something we need to consider and put to the people.”

And he says people should be questioning the idea of “a supercity being a fait accompli”.

“We must ask what the alternatives to this supercity are.”

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Hikoi plan takes shape

By RANI TIMOTI – Norwest News

21/05/2009

Rising concern from the nor-west and Rodney will be heard loud and clear on a hikoi across the Auckland region on May 25.

Organised by the Iwi Have Influence (IHI) action group, it primarily voices Maori opposition to the proposal to establish a supercity without reserved Maori seats as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Auckland Governance.

But the march also welcomes other community groups, organisations and individuals who wonder where they fit in the big picture.

Marchers will gather at the bottom of Queen St at noon before peacefully walking together to the Town Hall and Aotea Square for speeches and entertainment.

Representing Ngati Whatua Nga Rima o Kaipara are IHI committee members Wikiriwhi Ratima and Malcolm Paterson.

Both say there’s been interest from around the North Island, including urban Maori groups.

“The current proposal is not acceptable whatever reason they may have,” says Mr Paterson, who works with Reweti Marae. “We also realise there’s wider concerns from other community groups like rates, local community boards – we’ve tried to support them too.”

Mr Ratima, an eighth generation of the South Kaipara area, says the supercity takes away or lowers their voice.

Feedback they’ve heard includes a limited airing of views and scepticism of a small demographic running the show.

Mr Paterson says throughout New Zealand history Maori have been trying to work with the powers-that-be without having to give up their rangatiratanga or sovereignty of the country.

“With the supercity, Maori are again seeing themselves sidelined,” he says.

The pair say police have been supportive in talking with the council about issues like closing roads for the hikoi.

IHI aims to reverse the government plan to have no Maori seats on the supercity council. Networking with other community groups to promote a greater understanding of the consequences of the proposed supercity is another goal.

The hikoi was initially suggested by Auckland Maori leaders at the Hui-a-Iwi in April at Orakei Marae and involves a range of different members.

A group from Helensville will meet at Nga Rima’s headquarters at Heartlands in the old post office building at 6.30am to leave by bus to Silverdale to gather at Awataha Marae in Northcote.

Other nor-west residents closer to west Auckland can meet from 9am at West Harbour’s Te Piringatahi o Te Maungarongo Marae at 19 Luckens Rd.

Maori voice missing on ‘super-city’ council

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Merata Kawharu: Maori deserve own voice in Super City

NZ Herald

Monday Apr 20, 2009

The matter of voting is not a recent issue. The request by Ngati Whatua o Orakei and other tribes, such as Tainui, Kawerau and Ngati Paoa, for recognition within Auckland is not about race, it is about honouring existing agreements.

The Super City administration being proposed for Auckland/Tamaki Makaurau brings multiple challenges and opportunities for all, including Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

The abolition of Maori seats on the governing Auckland body must rank among the greatest challenges. It is, in short, premature and flawed.

Let us consider some reasons from a Ngati Whatua perspective. The particular challenges facing Ngati Whatua now are the same they have faced since signing the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

These hinge on recognition of their place in this multicultural, civic community and acknowledgement of their role and responsibilities in the growth and development of Auckland.

In Maori terms, these ideas may be encapsulated by the term mana whenua: authority of, and over, traditional lands. Implied in this term is not only the exercise of rights but, equally, responsibilities, not least offering protection where relevant to those who may visit or live within the tribe’s traditional domain.

These “recognition” issues are being considered in Ngati Whatua’s Treaty claim over Auckland; the issues are the same in the Super City context.

By the time Captain Hobson arrived in Tamaki in 1841 to establish government, Ngati Whatua had already made the isthmus their home after turbulent wars fought in the early 18th century.

Under the leadership of Tuperiri, Ngati Whatua established themselves particularly about the axis between Te Arapueru (Mt Mangere) and Hikurangi, Tuperiri’s pa on Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill).

Ngati Whatua maintained political control of the Tamaki Isthmus by keeping mutually beneficial alliances with neighbouring Kawerau, Tainui and Ngati Paoa tribes. And so the idea of inviting Hobson and the British Crown to Ngati Whatua’s homelands was approached on that basis: of having feet already well planted here, and of believing in the idea of “mutual advantage”.

To begin with – and to cement the invitation to Tamaki that had been made to Hobson by a Ngati Whatua delegation at Waitangi in early 1840 – Ngati Whatua leader Apihai Te Kawau said: “Governor, governor, welcome, welcome as a father to me: there is my land for you … go and pick the best part of the land and place your people, at least our people upon it.”

In other words, to ensure that Hobson understood the significance of Ngati Whatua’s mana in Auckland, only the very best was offered, in exchange for Ngati Whatua continuing to have a role in the developing region.

Civilisations the world over are always concerned with sustaining and developing themselves. Ngati Whatua did not think any differently. Some 3500 acres incorporating Mt Eden, the Central Business District , Newmarket, Ponsonby, Herne Bay and other central city suburbs was transferred in October 1840. Another block, 8000 acres, was transferred in June 1841, not long after Hobson had officially arrived in Auckland in January that year.

By addressing Hobson as “father”, which was probably “matua” in his speech, Apihai was respecting Hobson’s authority and leadership, and he expected Hobson would accord Apihai and his people the same – reflecting the principle of reciprocity, that is so embedded in Maori thinking. Crucially, from Ngati Whatua’s perspective, by Hobson accepting their offer, he was also accepting the obligations inherent in the offer. Translated, this meant that Ngati Whatua believed they were not giving up their lands, livelihood and mana, but rather they were strengthening their political and cultural footing through a developing economy and enhancing their ability to serve others.

This stance on mana is reflected in another saying by Apihai and his relative Te Tinana: “Let the Pakeha come, and he shall rest on our knees.” In their minds, the Crown would settle among them on their terms. Or so Ngati Whatua thought. Apihai’s nephew Paora Tuhaere echoed the same sentiments about mana in the 1860s in relation to provincial councils. He said simply “Let us be admitted to your councils.”

He and other Ngati Whatua representatives, including Te Keene, Paora Kawharu, Te Warena, Tautari and others, frequently insisted at the Kohimarama conference in 1860 that they be involved in the law-making “councils”. Tuhaere was also concerned “to seek out a path” (in administration) in accordance with the Treaty.

Tuahere was in 1867 made an adviser to the Superintendent of the Provincial Government and was a member of Auckland Provincial Executive Committee. But this did not fully reflect Ngati Whatua’s aspirations for exercising their mana and stewardship responsibilities.

The Provincial Council in 1907 hailed as the answer to sewage treatment the discharge of crude effluent directly into the harbour off Okahu Bay.

Ngati Whatua condemned the scheme most strongly, their opposition being made plain in 1905-1907 to MP Hone Heke. Kihirini Reweti, Mere Paora Tuhaere, Merea Kingi, Hauraki Paora and others argued that (sewage) deposits would kill their food supply, cause a disease breeding-ground in the foreshore and create an objectionable stench. We would all have to agree that they were right in their understanding of their environment.

There are many other examples in Auckland’s post-contact history that amply demonstrate Ngati Whatua’s cries for inclusion at the appropriate levels of leadership and for a chance to exercise their traditional trusteeship responsibilities meaningfully.

Opportunity to do just that did arise with the establishment of the Orakei Reserves Board in 1991. Ngati Whatua had seen the return of their former ancestral land at Okahu Bay. Almost as soon as it was returned, the elders and leaders of the tribe discussed next steps and decided to share it with the public.

The Reserves Board was established with the Auckland City Council, and decision-making over this publicly accessible land is shared. Notably, Ngati Whatua have not needed to use their casting vote ever.

Ngati Whatua also gave a 50 per cent discount on the ground rent to establish the Vector Arena; another contribution to Auckland to help it be a “World Class City”.

The abolishment of the three seats on the new Super City governance entity does not reflect the principles of sharing, inclusion or mana as envisaged by Ngati Whatua.

The decision to eliminate the seats repeats mistakes made in the history of this city. There is enough in our historical kete to guide us in facing current political challenges. Let us not ignore them.

It will be worthwhile to consider much more carefully the cultural and political issues that have been here in Auckland for more than 160 years and which are so intimately tied to the Super City proposal.

* Merata Kawharu is director of research, James Henare Maori Research Centre, University of Auckland. She is of Ngati Whatua and Ngapuhi descent.

– – – – –

Auckland supercity bill passes, but criticism continues

Sun, 17 May 2009 7:10p.m.

 The first stages of setting up a single council in Auckland had a fiery passage into law over the weekend and the criticism is still coming in.

A marathon session of Parliament ended on Saturday evening after the Government figured out a way to short circuit the Opposition’s delaying tactics.

Labour dragged out the debate – known as filibustering – on two bills to set up a single council in Auckland, but the Government introduced its own amendments to gazump Labour’s efforts.

The first bill was passed into law and sets up the concept of a single council and a transition agency to manage the change, while a second which outlines broad detail about the council was sent to a special select committee for submissions.

The Government is expected to announce who will run the agency in the coming week.

Amongst other things the agency has the power to veto local bodies in the region and contracts worth more than $20,000.

As a result, Auckland City Council’s city development committee says it has had to defer a $21 million waste collection contract.

Committee chairman Aaron Bhatnagar told Radio New Zealand the $20,000 limit was too low and he hoped the transition agency would not nit-pick over every little item of council spending.

Another committee member, Glenda Fryer, said many things councils did would be brought to a grinding halt.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Sua William Sio took issue with the Government taking out adverts to highlight public meetings on the issue.

Mr Sio said the advert gave the false impression Aucklanders were being consulted on the reorganisation of their local government.

The Government put Parliament into urgency on Wednesday to consider the bills and it finally came to a close at 9:40pm on Saturday amidst noisy debate and arguments about Parliament’s procedure.

Labour agrees in principle to a unitary council but is demanding a referendum so Aucklanders have the final say and stretched out debates to make a political point.

The most effective delaying tactic was tabling thousand of amendments – many of them ludicrous – each of which had to be voted on.

With each vote taking around a minute on each amendment, Labour MPs were initially picking they could force Parliament to resume on Monday and sit on into the week.

However, on Saturday afternoon the Government figured out a procedural way to stop the votes going ahead.

This had Local Government Minister Rodney Hide putting forward a minor amendment to each part of his legislation.

Under Parliament’s rules all of the other amendments were ruled out as MPs had all ready agreed on the issue before it.

NZPA

– – – – – – – –

Poll bad news for government

By DAVID KEMEYS – Editor in chief – Rodney Times

Last updated 11:39 05/05/2009

AUCKLAND’S FUTURE: Local government minister Rodney Hide claims to have consulted widely and has met the region’s mayors recently, and Mr Key has said the government is still listening.

Support for a supercity in greater Auckland is weak in Prime Minister John Key’s Helensville electorate.

A Phoenix poll conducted in Waitakere found only 34 percent of respondents support the government’s plans – which call for an Auckland Council covering an area from Franklin in the south, through Papakura and as far north as Rodney.

The plan would see the end of the Rodney District Council.

Nearly half of those polled – 47 percent – opposed the government’s plan.

In Mr Key’s Helensville electorate, which takes in large chunks of Rodney, it was slightly higher at 48 percent.

Only 16 percent of those poll respondents supported the plan to create 20 to 30 local boards under the proposed Auckland Council, as opposed to 66 percent support for the commission’s model of a super council with six councils under it.

The poll will be bad news for a government increasingly under fire from people who feel the proposal will effectively strip democratic representation from ratepayers – particularly since the government has not detailed what its 20 or 30 boards would do.

A Reid Research poll in Auckland between April 15 and 19 posed four questions – around consultation, the powers a new mayor should have, Maori seats and who should foot the bill.

The results show the government’s position is at odds with voters on three of the four issues.

Respondents were asked “Has the amount the government has consulted Aucklanders about the supercity been too much, about right or too little?”

An overwhelming 63 percent said too little, 31 percent about right and 5 percent too much.

Local government minister Rodney Hide claims to have consulted widely and has met the region’s mayors recently, and Mr Key has said the government is still listening. The majority of National’s MPs in the greater Auckland area have remained silent.

Opponents claim the changes will be rammed through under urgency and that consultations are a sham.

The second question was “Do you support having a mayor with the same powers as now, or should he or she have greater executive powers as proposed by the government?”

Only 39 percent agreed the new mayor should have more power – something essential to the operation of a supercity council as proposed – while 61 percent believed the mayor’s powers should not be expanded.

The government has emphatically ruled out Maori representation although the survey showed a fairly even split in support, with 46 percent for reserved seats and 54 percent against.

Those on Maori rolls were more likely to support Maori seats than general roll voters, while women and younger voters – those 18 to 29 – were more likely to support the seats than men.

The fourth and perhaps crucial question was “If the amalgamation does go ahead, should it be funded by Auckland ratepayers or the government?”

Only 29 percent of respondents answered ratepayers should foot the bill and a massive 71 percent said the government should pay.

No final figures have been made available on the exact costs but it has been estimated that in year one every ratepayer in the greater Auckland area could face a bill of $550.

The government is adamant ratepayers must pay, despite not even being able to say if the changes will lead to any financial savings.

National and Act have come under pressure over their stance, and in particular the lack of consultation with voters.

There is some disquiet among MPs about the government’s stance, and in particular Mr Hide’s inflexibility around the issues, especially given National’s election promise to “consult with Aucklanders once the findings of the Royal Commission are known”.

The Green Party has called on the government to undertake a formal consultation process – which is required by law – because parts of its proposal were not recommended by the commission.

Labour has called for a referendum and added its voice to concerns over a lack of consultation. It also says the Local Government Act provides for a poll before any reorganisation.

The supercity proposal is the biggest merger in New Zealand history, involving $23 billion in assets and more than 6000 staff.

The changes have seen MPs flooded with angry letters and emails, protest marches and organised opposition campaigns throughout the Auckland area.

Opponents claim they will not be properly represented under the proposed changes and that having one process for local body reform in New Zealand and another in Auckland is undemocratic.

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Manukau marchers in step with Auckland hikoi

 Maori action group Ihi is urging Manukau locals to join a protest hikoi in the city.

Links to more articles:

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rangimarie on May 7, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Tena koe Jo,
    Ae, tika tau…kua rangona whanuitia ngā kōrero e pā ana ki te mana whenua o ngā iwi,hapū hoki o Tāmaki Makaurau i te whakawā taraipuiunara i Mangere. Ko Ngati Paoa tetehi, a ko Ngati Whatua, ko Te Kawerau a Maki, ko Te Taou, ko Ngai Tai, ko Waiohua arā ko Nga Oho, Nga Iwi, Akitai me Ngati Te Ata. Na reira, he nui nga korero rerekē o ngenei iwi e pa ana ki te nohoanga o a tātou mātua tūpuna i Tāmaki i ngā ra o mua, engari, he maha hoki nga hononga o ngēnei iwi,hapū. Ki takū, ehara tēnei te wā hei tauwehe ai a tātou kotahitanga, a tātou whanaungatanga. Ko tērā te mahi e ngakaunui ana e te kawanatanga.
    Jo, you make a very valid point regarding the flaws made clear in the Tamaki WAI TRI report and I support you in this regard. I also agree with Ngarimu regarding writing to the NZ Herald to tell the world the Ngati Paoa version of events and I look forward to your contribution to the settlement of Tamaki Makaurau in the near future. It definitely needs to be told!
    As you know, Ngati Paoa are but one mana whenua/tangata whenua iwi of Tamaki as there are many others. (see above). Despite our obvious differences of opinion regarding the Ngati Whatua AIP and the atrocious disregard the Treaty Settlements Office demonstrated in their one-sided affair with Ngati Whatua o Orakei, the ‘Supercity’ hikoi is a kaupapa in which we need to put aside our differences and join together with the unified sense of purpose; that being fair representation of Māori at local government level in NZ’s largest city. It was not uncommon for our tūpuna to form political alliances in the past in order to strengthen the outcome of a battle and I believe joining iwi forces together for the hikoi is merely an adaptation of these processes to the 21st century. There is no doubt there are debates to be had in the future but for now let’s hikoi in unison. In the words of our tupuna Paoa…”Rahirahi tonu, kaua e matatoru” Na tētehi uri o Paoa…Rangimārie

    Reply

  2. Posted by ngarimu on May 11, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Tamaki Herenga Waka – ‘Tamaki, the place many waka are tied to’
    The Tangata Whenua, the traditional tribes of Tamaki Herenga Waka – the wider Auckland Region, have lived here for over a thousand years fishing in its harbours, the Manukau, Waitemataa and Kaipara and gardening across its once fertile land. The volcanic cones created by Mataoho, the god of volcanoes, served as thriving pa and villages and are the repositories of tribal histories. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by Auckland tribes on the Manukau Harbour and Tamaki River. It was the intention of chiefs that their people and their descendants would always have a central role to play in the development of their towns and city and in the management of ancestral resources in their tribal district.
    All tribes gifted land or made land available for settlement. Some tribes had land confiscated and some taken under the Public Works Act and other legislation leading to great land-loss and its associated devastating social effects. Auckland and NZ has profited greatly from the lands taken or given by the tribes of Auckland. Tribal leaders have always sought a voice in Council. “Let us be admitted to your councils”, said Paora Tuhaere in the 1860s.
    Auckland also now hosts many other Maori from different tribal regions making Auckland the largest centre of Maori population in the country. Over 25% of the total Maori population lives in Auckland with approximately 140,000 Maori residents.
    The Royal Commission Recommendation on Maori Representation
    The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Auckland Governance spent over 18 months consulting with the public before recommending establishing 3 Reserved Maori seats on a proposed 23 seat Auckland ‘Supercity’ Council.

    Why should there be Maori Seats?

    Today there are many issues Tangata Whenua needs a direct say in. How our once pristine harbours and waterways are managed. How our sacred sites are protected and respected. How the history of this land should be part of the proud identity of every Aucklander no matter their origin. How our communities can pay fair water and other rates. How our culture and cultural values can contribute to tourism and the major climate change issues facing our City. How Maori can contribute a more diverse view at the top table that includes a manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga perspective honed by living here for 1,000 years.

    Maori have struggled to achieve representation in Councils. Less than 5% of councilors in NZ are of Maori descent. First Past the Post is still the voting system of choice at local level and that has always failed Maori. No wonder the majority are locking in their control for another 50 years as the face of Auckland is rapidly changing to a brown one. Maori vote proportionately higher than any other ethnic group however Maori are still unable to get voted on to Councils. Some call this failure, the ‘tyranny of the majority’. Just as there are guaranteed seats in parliament, so too should there be Maori seats in local government to ensure there is a Maori voice and view being put forward on all matters.
    What has the Crown decided?
    The Crown ignored the Commission’s recommendation saying there will not be guaranteed Maori seats and that the issue of Maori seats is already provided for in the Local Government Act that allows for a public poll to be undertaken in 2010 on the issue. Maori are only 11% of the population in Auckland. It is unlikely that the wider public would vote for Maori seats and the Crown know this well. The Crown has further said that 3 votes out of 23 is a not a voice – but a proposed Maori Advisory Board somehow is. This defies all logic and sense and is simply a lie.
    What are Maori Planning to do?
    Maori firstly are planning to Hikoi, to march from the 4 corners of Auckland converging at the bottom of Queen Street to then walk in unison up to the Town Hall and Aotea Square. But this is not the end. There will be ongoing activities to keep the pressure on the Crown to reverse their short-sighted decision to exclude Maori from the Super City. Submissions will be made to the select committee and negotiations will continue between iwi leaders and the PM.
    You can express yourself too by joining the Hikoi on May 25. If you live outside of the Auckland area you too should be concerned as this model of corporate – rather than democratic governance is coming to a City near you.
    I’m not Maori – Can I Hikoi?
    Tribal leaders have invited all people no matter what culture to join the Hikoi. The Hikoi’s intent is to show the beauty, diversity and soul of today’s, and tomorrow’s Auckland. To show the Crown that Auckland and NZ have moved past gutter race politics towards an Aotearoa-NZ envisaged by those chiefs that started our City in 1840.
    Nau mai haere mai koutou katoa!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Harley Louis Nathan on January 28, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I am the oldest Son of the late Louis Nathan (Netana) who was a Grandson of Paora Kawharu.
    I am from Rewiti but now live at 10B Rui Street, Tahunanui, Nelson.
    Could I ask if I could have news of progress with getting Maori representation on the Councilfor the so called Super City.
    I think it is appalling that the descendants of the Original Owners are excluded from being represented.
    Wished I could have been there for the Hikoi.
    Please continue to fight for your right to have Maori included.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anika A on June 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Kia Ora, I am 15 years old and I have recently moved to Australia but am proud to say that I marched with all my whanau on the hikoi. It was simply amazing to see how many of us pulled together for it. But I think it’s totally stupid and unfair that they have made the supercity, ditched Maori seats and left so many unrepresented. I hope eventually we all get what we deserve.

    Reply

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