It gives me some pleasure to speak again in the course of the progress of the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill.
The preamble simply relates the history of the fact that this legislation dates to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. When we come to debate on Part 1 I will take more time to discuss some of the particular provisions. The background to this deed of on-account settlement of the historical claims of Whanganui iwi is outlined in this bill. That is what the preamble refers to.
It goes on to talk about the fact that the agreement as expressed in the bill has been the result of negotiations between the Crown and the Southern Whanganui Cluster / Tūpoho working group to enter into an agreement in relation to parts of the Whanganui Forest and the Kaitoke Prison. The preamble also outlines the fact that the North Island part of the Ngāti Apa iwi consulted with neighbouring iwi, and then proceeded with the Crown and the working group to sign the deed that this legislation gives voice to.
The preamble simply summarises the effect of the provisions that follow. I would prefer to use more of my speaking time in discussing Parts 1 and 2 as we get to them. Thank you.
Kia ora, Mr Chair, te Whare Pāremata. He mihi nui ki te tangata whenua o ngā hapū me te iwi o Whanganui. The Green Party recognises the complexity of the Treaty settlement process, and we support the Whanganui (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill. But we recognise the huge and ongoing consequences of colonisation, and we are very well aware that with bills like this one, iwi and hapū are forced into a form of legal warfare with the Crown and with each other, sometimes with very heavy burdens being placed on the people concerned. We recognise that iwi and hapū must bring settlement claims in order to create the resources for the future and for their mokopuna, but it is at high cost.
We also feel that no matter how many Treaty settlement processes are passed through this House—all of which we have supported—the deeper challenge is to make sure that Pākehā and tauiwi katoa have a deeper understanding of the history and current privileges we enjoy, so that both cultures approach the Treaty settlement process with the respect with which tangata whenua approach it. Both cultures recognise the burden that is placed on the shoulders of a culture that would like to see us address the inherent racism in, and the limitations of, Treaty settlement deadlines and the raupatu issues associated with the foreshore and seabed—the takutai moana.
We support the bill in the context of a flawed process and a struggle by hapū and iwi of Whanganui for basic justice for many, many years. As a non-expert on the detail of the bill, at the preamble stage I simply get up to say that we support the hapū and iwi of Whanganui in their struggle for justice and in their difficulties in a Crown-defined process, which sometimes virtually entirely limits their ability to use their cultural mechanisms to sort out any differences in the way they traditionally would. We control the shots, and often the people pay the price. That situation has been so since the coming of the Pākehā.
I say kia kaha to the people of Whanganui. I support the bill. Kia ora.
I will take a brief moment to make a contribution to the preamble and reiterate Labour’s support for the negotiated outcome that has been reached in respect of the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill.
The preamble is a very succinct illustration of the on-account settlement, but one might be forgiven for reading quite a bit into it, because at some point it affords the opportunity for Kaitoke Prison to be owned by the people of Whanganui, and particularly by the people of Ngāti Apa, as I read it.
Although I was not on the Māori Affairs Committee, I commend its members for their work, as difficult as it was for them. They were not able to change too much in the bill. In fact, no changes have been made to the preamble, at all. That is probably an inheritance of the Treaty settlement process, and a negotiated outcome between, primarily, the Crown and iwi. The select committee has become more of a sieve, if you like, that tries to ensure that the intent of the negotiated outcome can be articulated correctly in legislation. We have, at the most, minor technical amendments, but not substantial amendments, and that has been the case since this process started. Although various parliamentarians have at times sought to consider changes in various parts of the bill, we recognise the difficulty in being able to do that.
In respect of the preamble, I think the process of setting out clearly in a preamble what the terms and conditions of a settlement are is a good standard for settlement legislation. Over time, as our House matures, we might actually see a greater calling for bilingual interpretation of our legislation. I can see that over time we as a House may see ourselves debating our laws both in English and in Māori. We have a number of lawyers coming through the Whanganui iwi who want to see law written in te reo Māori. Indeed, one day we may see preambles of Treaty settlement legislation, at the minimum, translated.
In response to some of the comments raised by the Green Party member Catherine Delahunty, I say that I do value Green members’ contributions to these types of debates. Although the process is difficult, by and large once one gets to the point where a settlement has been reached—and to the point where iwi and certainly negotiators have recognised it along the way—concessions, a great deal of sacrifice, and some judgments have to be made. By the time that process has been through and we have got to this stage in the House, it is my strong view that as parliamentarians we should ensure that there is a robust process to ensure that the legislation aligns to the intent of the deed, and to ensure that those voices who do not feel that they were heard through iwi processes have Parliament as a last forum in which to petition and advocate those interests prior to the passage of legislation. Perhaps as a lasting testament to the leadership of the country there should be an opportunity for political parties to put a peg in the sand and say where they stand on Treaty settlements, which will form the foundation of where this country is going.
In my brief contribution to the preamble, I say that it is a succinct summary of the terms and conditions of this on-account settlement with Whanganui iwi regarding Kaitoke Prison. I want to talk more, probably in other parts of the bill, about the substance of what that affords in terms of opportunities. Finally, I would like to commend the work of the Māori Affairs Committee in ensuring that there is a strong alignment between the intent of the settlement with the form of the legislation. Kia ora.
Kia ora, Mr Chairperson. The first line of the preamble of the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill states that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. I think it is fair to say that things went downhill from there. At Waitangi on 5 February, when all the political parties were invited on to Te Tii Marae at Waitangi, the Prime Minister told Māori to put grievance behind them, and to focus on education. I agree with those sentiments exactly. The way forward for Māori is to pursue education and to make sure we all achieve beyond our potential. But it is another thing to say we should just put grievance behind us. I agree with the sentiment, but a heck of a lot has to be done to help us put grievance behind us as Māori.
There is not an iwi in the country that was not affected by the deeds—or misdeeds—of the Crown, and the Whanganui iwi are no different. They had their land taken away from them, and they had all sorts of misdeeds perpetrated on them, and it is only right that this bill is before the House now, to turn those round and help rectify the wrongs of the past.
The preamble to the bill sets out the background to the deed of on-account settlement of historical claims of Whanganui iwi in relation to the Whanganui Kaitoke Prison and part of the Whanganui Forest. The bill defines the term “deed of on-account settlement” as “The deed of on-account settlement of historical claims of Whanganui Iwi in relation to the Whanganui Kaitoke Prison and part of the Whanganui Forest between the working party on behalf of Whanganui Iwi, the trustees of the Pakaitore Trust, and the Crown dated 31 July 2009 and as amended from time to time”.
I do not intend to go on in terms of debating the preamble, but I think it is really important that we acknowledge that this is a very necessary bill, and that the misdeeds and wrongs that have been perpetrated on the Whanganui iwi, amongst other iwi across New Zealand, are righted. This bill is the start towards rectifying those issues from the past. Kia ora.
Mr Chairman looks surprised that a Pākehā boy from the West Coast can stand and speak on the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill, but I have been drawn into this debate for a couple of reasons. The first is that I am here in the Chamber. The second is that through fate I was formerly the Minister of Corrections when the negotiation that led to this bill was taking place, so I am familiar with some of the background to the bill.
In the preamble there is reference to consultation with neighbouring iwi. I visited the prison with the Hon Tariana Turia on one particular occasion, and it is fair to say we had to negotiate a sensible position, because at that time there was a dispute about which particular iwi was tangata whenua when visiting the prison. Being conscious of that, when the agreement in principle was brought to me as the then Minister of Corrections to sign over half of the land, effectively fee simple, to North Island Ngāti Apa, I was somewhat concerned about that. I was not sure what it might mean, knowing full well that there had been discussion between iwi and that the Crown had a clear obligation to settle this matter with iwi. I will not go into the injustices; my colleagues know full well what has taken place. The Crown has a duty and an obligation to work through Treaty settlements right through the country.
I think this is a sensible agreement. Kaitoke Prison is an unfortunate establishment. I do not think that any iwi wants to have a prison sited on its land, and I guess there will be questions as we go forward, and maybe later in the legislation here, as to what happens with regard to that ground. I am sure that within Māoridom there is debate around whether Māori should be owners of land or indeed of prisons. The unfortunate fact is that 50 percent of the population of prisons is Māori. That is a disgrace for a nation, and we have to work on that.
I am speaking just on the preamble here. I acknowledge South Island Ngāti Apa as an iwi in my local area. I also acknowledge that the preamble lays down the background to what has been quite a difficult, if not an uneasy, process at times that has led to this legislation coming to the House. All of us welcome the bill, and we want to move it through the House as quickly as we can. Kia ora.
The important parts of the preamble are obvious. Jo Goodhew might sigh, but it is important. The important parts of the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill preamble are, in fact, recitals 3 and 4. Recital 4, more particularly, sets out that there will be provision in the overall settlement for Ngāti Apa to purchase the Kaitoke Prison. That is the key element of the on-account settlement because it signals a clear intention.
My colleague Kelvin Davis said that it was all well and good talking about trying to get to this point, but it was, indeed, very difficult. I expect that the discussions amongst the Whanganui iwi collective in terms of identifying the components of the settlement that were important to them—getting the balance of interests right, and setting the overall quantum—actually took quite a bit of internal negotiation, but they got there.
I point to recital 4 because it specifically outlines the provision for the overall setting of the quantum of the settlement. I say to the Minister in the chair, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, that I might have got this wrong and he might want to correct me, but my reading of it is that in the overall setting of the quantum, provision will be made for Ngāti Apa to purchase Kaitoke Prison and the sum of that purchase will be considered in the final redress measure. That is certainly my reading of that recital. If I am wrong I would like to be corrected so that I am not misinterpreting the Minister’s intent.
In terms of approaching opportunities for settlements where there are specific interests of hapū groupings within a wider iwi collective, this type of approach gives a level of certainty and assurance to hapū groupings that their particular components of iwi settlements have been provided for and are considered very specifically in terms of the overall setting of the redress quantum.
I will not take too much further time on the preamble. Recitals 3 and 4 are the most important.
I thank the chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, who wants to rush this debate through. I understand his eagerness. But I recommend this preamble as a great standard. For settlements where there are internal differences around what people place as their priority in terms of redress, it sets out a framework to address those types of matters.
When the time comes for Ngāti Apa to put some very real consideration into purchasing back Kaitoke Prison, the redress component will have already been factored into the settlement and they will be able to do that. Then they could ask themselves further questions about the long-term management, potentially, of Kaitoke Prison and what further role they want to have over and above that role as landlord.
I reiterate the comments made by former Minister of Corrections Damien O’Connor. It was helpful to hear his insight into this matter. I say simply that I am very sure that the people of Whanganui, although they might be the owners of a prison, will certainly hold very strong views about not wanting their people to go to prison. This might afford a future opportunity, and we can only hope that fewer Māori go into Kaitoke Prison. Kia ora.
I want to pick up a number of points that relate to Part 1. I foreshadowed them somewhat in my comments on the preamble. First of all, it is important to note, as my colleague Kelvin Davis drew attention to in his speech, that this settlement legislation is not something that has been arrived at in a vacuum. It dates back to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, so for it to take time in this Chamber is no hardship. If we get this right and the legislation is right and the settlement is good, just, and durable, then we are performing an enormous service to the country.
The settlement of Treaty of Waitangi grievances, historic grievances, is absolutely fundamental to our forward progress as a nation. For members opposite to roll their eyes and think that we are taking too much time over this is offensive—it is simply offensive. I ask that they look at the bigger picture and look at the seriousness of some of the infringements of the Treaty of Waitangi that have occurred, which this small bill, in its small way, is trying to redress for the people of Whanganui iwi. So it is worthwhile to take time and look at it.
Part 1 consists of clauses 3, 4, 5, and 6. Clause 3 is the purpose clause, which states: “The purpose of this Act is to give effect to certain provisions of the deed of on-account settlement of the Whanganui Iwi historical claims.” Why are we at this point? Why is this legislation necessary? What precipitated this legislation and means that we are moving it through the House in, I hope, a dignified and considered way, and not with the kind of haste that some members opposite are seeking?
The fact of the matter is that this bill is a response to breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. It is as simple as that. There is a piece of legislation that many iwi up and down the country revile, and it is the Public Works Act. Properties were taken by previous administrations in the course of the 19th century in particular but later as well. Pieces of land were appropriated, purloined, confiscated, and stolen by the Crown under the Public Works Act. In this legislation concerning the on-account settlement of the Whanganui iwi historical claims, two things are cobbled together: Crown forests and the Kaitoke Prison. These two things are put together—two sources of aggravation, of grievance, and of distress for Whanganui iwi. Here is a moment when we can correct that.
Clause 4 is simply interpretations, but frequently everything hangs on interpretations. It is again useful to remember that this legislation does not sit in a vacuum. Not only does it have its historical antecedent in breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi of 1840 but it tries now to address those breaches, and it picks up on grievances that have arisen subsequently, and I particularly want to focus on the definition of Crown forestry assets, because of what happened to that land and the land that was used for Crown forests.
In 1989, as we know, the process of the sale of Crown forests was held up by the New Zealand Māori Council. Sir Graham Latimer, as chairman of that council, took the case all the way to the Privy Council. This resulted in legislation that protected the land on which the trees stood. The land on which Crown forests stood was to be held in trust by the Crown Forestry Rental Trust for iwi or whoever the rightful owner was determined to be when an eventual settlement of the historical grievance under the Treaty of Waitangi was to be settled. We are settling that grievance with this legislation.
The process in this settlement was begun under the previous Government, and it is being continued under this Government by the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. Both the previous Minister for Treaty negotiations and the present Minister deserve to be commended for their efforts in bringing it to this pass. But it means that the Crown forestry assets that are referred to in clause 4, the interpretation clause, are set down in the Crown Forest Assets Act of 1989. The year 1989 is not so long ago, and it goes to show that even in relatively modern times events were happening that compounded grievances previously caused by Crown actions. Those grievances remain deeply felt by iwi, but here we have a settlement, and we have the restoration of the northern part of the Whanganui Forest in this settlement.
Little by little, piece by piece, Crown forestry assets are being returned to iwi, and the value of their rental is being returned to iwi, or apportioned appropriately, according to negotiation by the Crown and the iwi concerned. This is a living moment for a long-held grievance that resolves a piece of our history. It should not be rushed, it should be taken with care, and it should be scrutinised properly in the Committee stage. Before the next National member rises to move that the question be now put, I ask Government members to consider the seriousness of what we are dealing with at this moment. Thank you.
Clause 5 is titled “Meaning of Whanganui Iwi historical claims”, and it states: “In this Act Whanganui Iwi historical claims means every claim (whether or not the claim has arisen or been considered, researched, registered, notified, or made by or on the date on which the deed of on-account settlement becomes unconditional under clause 6.1 of that deed) that Whanganui Iwi had at, or at any time before, that date, or may have at any time after that date,”. I think that is really important in that we are talking about settling all the claims. This goes back to what I was saying earlier in the debate about the preamble. We need to settle all the claims so that Māori can move away from grievance, so that we can move ahead in our lives and not always be looking back.
I believe that clause 5 is a very telling part of this bill. It says that it will settle every claim from Whanganui iwi, and I believe that that is very significant. Throughout Part 1 we see that the word “Wanganui” has been changed to “Whanganui”, and that in itself is extremely significant. Many of the people listening and watching will be asking themselves what the big issue is about the letter “h” being included in the word “Wanganui” to make it “Whanganui”. This change recognises that Māori have for a long time been marginalised and it puts this little bit of history right for the iwi of Whanganui.
The time has long since come and gone when Māori needed to apologise or ask permission for our language to be spoken correctly, written correctly, and pronounced correctly. This bill rectifies the fact that for decades—centuries—the word “Wanganui” was used instead of “Whanganui”. In the Māori language there is no such word as “wanga”. That sounds more Aboriginal than Māori. From my understanding, “Whanga” means a bay and “Whanganui” means a large bay. There is no such thing as a large “wanga”, whatever that may be.
The other meaning of the word “Whanga” is to have to wait. One could say that “Whanganui” means a long wait or a big wait. The people of Whanganui have had to wait a long time for the wrongs of the past to be righted. I remember a kuia up north saying that when she hears a Māori word she can visualise the word in her mind and she sees a picture rather than a word. She said: “You can’t actually see a wanga, because it doesn’t exist.” That is basically saying that Wanganui, as the iwi of Whanganui know it, does not exist. It denies their history and, in itself, is worthy of, I believe, if not a grievance then certainly anger at being marginalised. I believe that this bill, by changing the word “Wanganui” to “Whanganui” rectifies that little grievance.
Another word mentioned in the bill is “Kaitoke”. It would be interesting to get an understanding of where the word “Kaitoke” comes from. As New Zealanders we all know that “kai” means food, or to eat, but I would guarantee that most people do not understand what “toke” means. Where I come from, a “toke” is a worm. So there is a bit of history there and, I guess, a bit of a story that remains untold to the wider public of New Zealand that somewhere along the line somebody has been eating worms. That sounds quite gross but I would say that there is a very deep and meaningful legend and story behind that that deserves to be told and shared. I believe that in schools these legends and stories about the naming of areas and the history behind that should be part of the school curriculum so that being Māori, and the Māori way of life, is not strange to New Zealanders but is something that is shared with all New Zealanders. All schoolkids should grow up understanding a Māori perspective on historical areas and events in their geographic region. I think that would do a lot to break down the misunderstandings and tensions that arise, simply because people do not understand the Māori perspective and the Māori point of view.
I will go back and mention something I have mentioned in this House before: New Zealand is like a river. On one bank of the river is the Māori part of New Zealand and on the other bank is the non-Māori part. The Treaty of Waitangi, which I mentioned in the preamble, is a bridge that connects the two sides. Over the decades and the centuries, most Māori have crossed that bridge and stepped into the non-Māori side of New Zealand. They understand the language, the customs, and the ways of doing things. The question that has been asked is how many non-Māori have crossed on to the bank on the Māori side and seen New Zealand from our point of view. Some, but not many, Pākehā have crossed over. Just about every Māori in New Zealand has crossed over, and understands and feels confident in walking on the Pākehā, or the non-Māori, side of that river.
With that, I will close by reiterating that it is great that under clause 5 this bill looks to settle all Whanganui iwi historical claims. Kia ora.
I will speak on Part 1 of the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill. The purpose, if I am to understand its intention stated in clause 3, is that this bill is a small part of a larger comprehensive claim for Whanganui iwi.
As I alluded to in my previous contribution, the mechanism to give effect to small component parts of larger comprehensive settlements is very important in terms of how the legislation is set out. I want also to speak on clause 5. I think the way in which negotiators have set out their intent of what is comprehensive in clause 5 is quite deliberate. Clause 5(b) clearly sets the scene by stating that we are dealing only with historical claims. Clause 5(a) sets out the basis upon which those claims originate. So claims emanating from the Treaty of Waitangi, or as a result of an omission in law, or issues to do with common law are the types of things that are component parts of this comprehensive settlement.
Clause 5(c) is really important. In my mind it highlights what Sir Archie Taiaroa lived and died for: the Whanganui River. The Whanganui River is not included in the comprehensive settlement. That gives me great hope in terms of his aspiration and vision for the people of Whanganui in ensuring that the river settlement—as the river is so much an intrinsic part of the people and how they identify themselves—will be dealt with altogether differently. If that is the intent, I say to the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, of clause 5(c), which states that it “does not include claims relating to the Waikato River.”, then the comprehensive—
Sorry, did I say Waikato? Well, they are one and the same in terms of some history, so I could go back to that, actually. It is said that there was one teardrop that fell on Ruapehu and from there the Whanganui and the Waikato rivers originated. There are many stories that we have that link us as a people in Waikato to the river. I think we may have inherited our kōrero from our tuākana in Whanganui, so my apologies.
If my reading of clause 5(c) is correct, then the Whanganui River is not included in the comprehensive historical claims. I think that is a good thing. It is a testament to wise leadership, which had been so long provided by Sir Archie Taiaroa. It will be a testament to his memory that the people of Whanganui can address their very important concerns regarding that settlement in a meaningful and separate way.
On Part 1 I reiterate the comments made on the forestry component of this on-account settlement. I further highlight that there is a significant share of lands in the Whanganui area under the conservation estate. My brief time of interacting with the people of Whanganui often has been turbulent in terms of their experience of how Department of Conservation lands have been managed in the area. The forest component of this settlement, I am sure, lends itself towards a very proactive opportunity for the Ngāti Apa people.
I will go back to the issue of Kaitoke Prison. If it is the intent—and it is Ngāti Apa’s decision to make—to purchase the land on which Kaitoke Prison is situated, then the people of Ngāti Apa will be the landlords of that facility. As I said earlier, my strong gut instinct is that the people there will not want to see more Māori going to prison; they will want to see fewer Māori going to prison. As landlords, that may have some influence on how they see their role in that area. I make the comment without any type of judgment, but with the understanding that as a landlord of a Crown-rented operation, the corrections facility, that may create a little bit of tension. As market rentals are reviewed and the Crown is required to pay perhaps more than their market rentals, they may not understand on the other side of the ledger that those rentals are an opportunity to reinvest back into the development of the people in the strong hope that more will be invested into Whanganui people, so that they are not going into prison but are staying out of prison.
I watch with some anticipation to see how events there unfold. We see that this Government wants to privatise prisons, and there is a mood amongst various iwi groupings that they may want to get into managing prisons. This is a case in point where there may be an opportunity to consider that in some serious way. I make reference to that because it is a very important issue when we start to think about the potential opportunities arising out of settlements like this.
I follow on, with regard to Part 1, on the issue raised by my colleague the Hon Nanaia Mahuta.
It is not for me to relitigate in any way the quite complex issues that were discussed through the settlement process, which was based on addressing the grievance that the Crown had acquired land cheaply, and at the time assured Ngāti Apa that they would benefit greatly from it, but, of course, they found themselves effectively in poverty and trapped. I ask a question that was in my mind as Minister of Corrections when the proposal to utilise the prison land was brought to me: is there a potential conflict of interest? I raised it briefly in my earlier speech.
If the settlement is indeed intended to pass on to Ngāti Apa some prosperity, then we have effectively, by transferring prison land, ensured that the benefits that accrue from the rental from prisons will benefit Ngāti Apa. But the sad and tragic reality is that 50 percent of the population inside that prison may very well be Ngāti Apa as well, so poverty will come from this deal, too. If we consider that incarceration of Ngāti Apa people—those who have committed crimes and have gone through the justice system—is indeed the way that we pass on prosperity to Ngāti Apa, then we have a conflict of interest.
I do not think anyone in this House would want another grievance to ensue through the settlement process, so I just raise this word of warning. I may be raising it from a slightly distorted view of the matter, or maybe from a fresh new view; I do not know how people may see this matter. But I, for one—and, I know, my colleagues as well—would not like to see any poverty or any further grievance flow from this settlement.
As my colleague Nanaia Mahuta said, the danger, of course, with the current National Government is that it is going to privatise some of the prisons. That is a tragic and, in my view, unethical move by a Government that has no moral standards. If that next step were to take place and that prison were to be privatised, we would really entrench the potential for further grievance, poverty, and loss for Ngāti Apa. I raise the questions; I do not have the solutions. I do not want to relitigate the settlement, and I trust that the elders of Ngāti Apa and those who have negotiated this settlement will have realised this potential danger.
Of course, at the time of negotiation Labour was in Government, and we believe firmly that incarceration and management of the entire justice system is the role of the taxpayer and of Government. Transferring a big portion of that system into the private sector, as National and the member over there for Timaru—Aoraki—wants to see—
Sorry, yes. I am sure the people of Timaru like “Rangitata”, although I think they would probably prefer “Aoraki”. But anyway, I do not want to relitigate that issue—one thing at a time.
I just say that in Opposition we have a responsibility to raise the potential problems that might flow from legislation. No matter how well intended legislation may be, I think each and every one of us knows that whenever legislation is passed by this House, there will be faults in the wording or in the outcome of it. We have to trust the advice from officials, overseen by the Minister—in this case Mr Finlayson, no doubt, but assisted by Judith Collins. I know she wants to privatise the whole prison system.
I am not sure whether the Minister in the chair, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, can see the potential danger in what he is doing. I do not think he would genuinely want to create a further grievance. I trust and hope that the Minister in the chair can, if not in the passage of this legislation then in further discussions at Cabinet level, ensure that through the process of privatisation or some other distortion of the justice system, which National seems to be intent on, further grievances cannot occur. I hope he ensures that the Ngāti Apa tribe, which this legislation is aimed at, is not disadvantaged in some perverse way, whereby incarceration of their own people is the only way to generate benefit for their own iwi. We would hate to see that situation. I raise that issue because I think it is a realistic possibility, and one that we hope will not eventuate. Kia ora.
I feel moved to take a call in this debate today. The desire to take a call really arose from the response of the junior National whip when we were beginning serious debate on a bill that is the end of a long journey. I found it insulting and insensitive to hear the National Party whip tell us to hurry up as we were just debating the preamble. I say to that member that this is not just the preamble. She and other National Party members felt bored about the process of bringing the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement bill to the Committee today. We certainly heard about the long wait. I think this is the sort of debate that the junior whip would have precluded today by trying to railroad this bill through the Committee today.
We have heard some wonderful, erudite submissions today on this bill, both on the preamble and now on Part 1. My colleague talked about Whanganui and the long wait. Sure, they have waited. I tell Mrs Goodhew that my whakapapa in my family goes back to the Whanganui River. We feel insulted by that party opposite, although I would exclude from that statement the Minister in the chair, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, who has learnt about the sensitivity and time it takes to get Treaty settlements to the table. The Treaty of Waitangi is now 171 years old. We had the Treaty of Waitangi Act in 1975 and then we got to the deed of settlement and the Deed of On-Account Settlement of Historical Claims of Whanganui Iwi in relation to the Whanganui Kaitoke Prison and Part of the Whanganui Forest. That was when things started to move for Whanganui, which is reflected in Part 1. That was 2¾ years ago. We then moved on to the deed of settlement. The Minister in the chair has endeavoured to pick up the pace and rate of the settlement process. That will be appreciated by both Ngāti Apa and the Whanganui iwi.
A very important component of Part 1 is that it states: “Whanganui Iwi historical claims means every claim …”. That is great. We are getting to the difficult end of Treaty settlements. There is quite a complex cluster of issues around forestry and Ngāti Apa’s ultimate ownership of Kaitoke Prison. It is a very good model.
I want to refer, as did my colleague Damien O’Connor, to the issue of iwi ownership of facilities like Kaitoke Prison, which will result from Part 1. I was the member for Rotorua at the time when we looked for a youth justice site and could not find a site. In fact, National members at the time were dying to destroy my career. When I found a location, they did not like it. Ultimately, I went back and worked with iwi, who came up with a new proposal to have the youth justice site on iwi-owned land. That was quite a break in tradition, just as Part 1 will be a wonderful opportunity for the people of Ngāti Apa to look at prison management and ownership. We are seeing some very interesting things coming from Te Arawa involvement in our Rotorua youth justice site. It is really great to see provisions in this bill starting to address things that were injurious to the people of Whanganui and Ngāti Apa through the Public Works Act, through the taking of land to build a prison, and also through the forestry components that we are addressing in this legislation.
I congratulate the Minister in the chair. When this is over and we have heard the full debate on every part of the bill, I think it would be lovely if the Minister had a little quiet word to the members of his caucus to ask them to show a little bit more sensitivity when bills of settlement are coming before the House and to not rush through the process. It is a very important process. The debates are listened to by hundreds of people on the sound waves. It is offensive if there is an indication that we are wasting time. I am deeply offended by that suggestion. We are debating the bill as the House of Parliament, and this is the democratic process. I look forward to continued debate on the bill.
Part 2 Transfer of Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and northern part of Whanganui Forest and related matters
Part 2 is the guts of the matter. It is the heart of the bill. In my speech on Part 1 a few minutes ago I talked about Crown forestry assets and how they were arrived at. Clause 7 states that the “the northern part of the Whanganui Forest ceases to be Crown forest land …”. The land ceases to be Crown forest land and goes back to iwi. In the course of that process the accumulated rentals on that land also go back to iwi, so there is a financial component in this part of the settlement, as well. Not only do the lands get restored to iwi but the fact that those lands have been used by forestry companies to grow trees decade upon decade, and to have those trees felled and sold for profit—none of which has ever gone back into iwi hands—means that now is the moment when some economic benefit from the use of that land can be restored to iwi. They have been waiting a very long time for that. Let us be clear that this is the moment when both land gets restored and the accumulated rentals for the use of that land by forestry companies get returned to iwi, which is a wonderful thing. Forestry companies had paid a rental to the Crown for the use of the land to grow the trees, from which they had made a profit. A few years ago the Crown Forestry Rental Trust had a total pūtea of somewhere in the order of $380 million of accumulated rentals. The interest on those rentals, which were held in trust for iwi, was used for iwi to advance their claims. The interest on the rentals was disbursed to iwi as they were able to bring forward their claims and have them heard by the Waitangi Tribunal or in direct negotiation with the Crown.
That process has been speeding up a lot in the last few years. We now have the disbursement of those accumulated rentals to iwi as part of the settlement, together with clause 7 in Part 2, which states: “the northern part of the Whanganui Forest ceases to be Crown forest land and any Crown forestry assets associated with that land cease to be Crown forestry assets.” In other words, land and money will go across to the Whanganui iwi, and this is a process of settlement. It is about redressing wrongs.
I know that Mr Henare got a bit tired of my last speech a few minutes ago to this effect, but he has that dismissive attitude towards anything that is said by members on this side of the Chamber so I have learnt in my few years here not to take any notice of him. But it is important that we consider what is happening here, and the fact that this now gets to the heart of the matter. Part 2 is the stuff that the settlement is made of.
In clause 8 in Part 2 we have the application of the Ngāti Apa (North Island) Claims Settlement Act 2010 to transfers. That is critical to the Whanganui iwi. It is what they have been waiting for, it is what they have negotiated, and it is what they have been working towards for a very long time. It is a good thing. Here comes the land on which the forests have grown—the forestry land—and the assets, the accumulated rentals, and they will go to the iwi for the betterment of that iwi.
I know that National relies for support on people who are sometimes a bit disconcerted by what this means, and who wonder whether there will be a whole lot of wealthy Māori around who will exercise undue influence and commercial power because of Treaty of Waitangi settlements. I just say that in my time as a trustee of the Crown Forestry Rental Trust, which was before I came into Parliament, I have never known of any iwi that has done anything other than apply the settlements, and the things they acquired from settlements whether it was land or financial redress, to anything other than the well-being of their iwi. So I think we can have some confidence that this settlement will materially benefit the people of the Whanganui iwi.
We have heard my colleagues talk about the possibilities for the Kaitoke Prison, and what might happen with the greater engagement of Māori in that facility—and in the whole custodial and judicial process, really. I look forward to a greater sense of partnership as we move forward out of the historic grievance period, as these historic grievances are settled, and as assets are returned or appropriately disbursed. Assets are not always returned to iwi; sometimes they are returned to the Crown, or portions of them are returned to the Crown and portions are returned to iwi. It is not always about simply giving back something to iwi, but predominantly that is the case, I have to say, because we are redressing grievances.
But in this disbursement of settlement assets lie the hope and the future of the Whanganui iwi. They have the same aspirations for their children that I have for mine. They have the same aspirations, the same goals, and the same wish not to be the dominant population of our custodial facilities—not to be the majority population in prison. They have no wish to perpetuate that situation. They do not wish that on their children and their children’s children. Their wishes are no different in that respect from anything I would wish for my family, and we need to see this settlement in that light.
Here we have both prisons and forests. We have two aspects of our society, both of which Māori are heavily involved in, one for good and one not so much for good. But they are two aspects of our society that Māori have been traditionally heavily involved in. They have been involved in contributing to the forestry industry but they have never seen the benefit of land ownership accrue to them, and they have been trying to keep their young people out of prison. Perhaps in this settlement, by the joining of these two quite diverse and different assets, we can see something that not only gives rise to some hope and future prospects for the Whanganui iwi but also settles the past and allows them to get on with their future.
I have a few questions for the Minister in the chair, the Hon Chris Finlayson, around clause 7. We have heard just now from the Hon Maryan Street how Whanganui iwi are getting the land back as well as the assets—that is, the rentals. My question, though, is what happens to the trees on that land and who is liable if they are harvested? Does the iwi then have to replant those trees? Do they have any liabilities under the emissions trading scheme? I bring this up because Ngāti Hine—the iwi up north around the Bay of Islands area—were convinced to plant pine trees 35 years ago in quite a significant area of land. Harvesting has since begun and now the iwi has a real concern that because the forest will not be replanted by the owners of the trees the liability to replant falls on them because the forests were planted, I think, before 1991. They have real concerns that the liability for replanting the trees falls on them, since the company will not replant. That is my question for the Minister around clause 7. What are the liabilities, if any, for Whanganui iwi if the forest is harvested? Who is meant to replant; and if replanting is not going to happen, does the liability fall on the Whanganui iwi? I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response to those questions. Kia ora.
I was not going to take a call on the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill, but I am drawn to it because this is the first time since I have been in Parliament that I have had the opportunity to speak on the settlement of a Treaty of Waitangi claim. In some ways—
It is quite pertinent, I tell the member. For a couple of years I worked for the Tainui Māori Trust Board alongside Nanaia Mahuta’s father, Sir Robert Māhuta, collecting the evidence on the Tainui claim, which was settled many years ago. The settlement has meant that Tainui now has the financial and economic basis Sir Robert always dreamt of to give Tainui the mana and the economic strength to go on and be not only a stronger tribe but also an economic force amongst Māori and within New Zealand. It is interesting that settlements resulting in Māori ownership of their lands mean that the economic base of Māori is now in excess of $16 billion.
Turning to Part 2, with regard to forestry, I am reminded that just a few weeks ago I was visiting Scion in Rotorua, in the middle of the North Island. That institution does research in relation to forestry. We were looking at the potential for forestry to drive many economic advantages for New Zealand. Interestingly, Scion said that because many of our major forest enterprises are now sold to foreign interests, and as those foreign interests are more interested in chopping down trees and sending them off to Russia and to China, in particular, we are not able to take advantage of the many developments Scion is making within the area of biofuels and organic plastics. One of Scion’s key developments was to look at the way Māori-owned forests were being utilised, so that they could get behind many of those economic opportunities.
The reason I bring that up is that under Part 2, which relates more particularly to the forestry assets that Ngāti Apa will accumulate as a result of this settlement, the benefits will, in fact, fall within the ambit of what Scion was trying to do—that is, the forestry interests will be owned by Māori interests. Māori interests will not sell them, as we have done with much of our forestry interests throughout the North Island and also, in part, in the South Island. It gives me personally a great amount of pleasure to stand up and speak to this bill. As my colleagues have pointed out, the bill is hugely significant for the Whanganui area. This issue has been a source of huge grievance over many, many years and finally some of that grievance can be put to rest.
I want also to touch upon the change made in Part 2 to the spelling of “Wanganui”, which is quite significant in many ways. To include the “h” in references within this bill is a bold way of expressing the changes that have taken place in Whanganui—or, as people from the area call it, “Wanganui”. I know that Minister Williamson at the time kind of had a buck both ways on that issue and said the Crown and Crown entities could do what they liked but that he hoped they would put the “h” into Wanganui, which they are doing now. I think that slowly, over time, we will see the general pick-up of that spelling throughout the Whanganui area, despite the best efforts of Michael Laws and the various people in the Whanganui area who have some sort of aversion towards it, just as many people in Taranaki had problems with the renaming of Egmont. But in Part 2, “Wanganui” is replaced by “Whanganui”.
If I was being flippant or was not making worthwhile or valuable points, I could understand the Chair not giving me the call. But he has, and I appreciate that.
Part 2 of the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill is about the transfer of the forests. One of the questions I have always had goes back to the objective of the bill, which is the settlement of a longstanding grievance. The grievance goes back to a contract laid out in 1840 about a partnership that was clearly short-cut by the Crown. We obviously have to address the grievances arising from that.
As I understand it, we are going to hand back the forest land. That may seem really good; it may be really great because iwi have a connection with the land. As a farmer, I can understand that connection. But the land in itself—and there is much Māori-owned land around the country—may not be delivering benefits. In fact, it may not even be paying its way in some places. Rather than being beneficial to Ngāti Apa, it could be a liability.
There are a couple of things to mention. I have believed for a long time that forest land in itself, although it has a wonderful, emotive connection with iwi or whoever owns the land, does not necessarily deliver benefits. I think we are starting to see this. In fact, questions are being asked around the country now about the division between forest land ownership and cutting-rights ownership, about who gets to determine where the logs go, about who gets the benefits of a rising market, and about who carries the losses from a declining market.
The issue is that the trees growing on the land will deliver economic benefits back to Ngāti Apa. Those benefits could come by way of a fixed-term lease calculated on the return on logs. I am not aware of the details of that. The settlement terminates obligations in relation to the forest. I am not sure; I guess the obligations may relate to replanting. They may relate to possible emissions trading scheme obligations, or there may be obligations regarding access. I am not sure what they are, and the Minister in the chair, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, might be able to take a call and answer that question. Those things are quite important.
It is no reflection on the negotiators; there are some very smart people around this country, and the negotiators have the very best intentions. But they may not have foreseen the change in the emissions trading scheme. I do not know what the Government will actually deliver by way of forestry obligations—or, indeed, agriculture obligations—in relation to the emissions trading scheme. It is yet to clearly define what it will do.
The point is—and I am not deviating too much from the bill—that this settlement terminates the obligations in relation to the forest on the land it is transferring back to Ngāti Apa, and those obligations are unclear to me. It is important that we in Opposition ensure that legislation being passed in this House indeed delivers on its intent. The intent is to do justice to Ngāti Apa. They will get half of the prison land back—I have question marks about what that might do—and they will get the forest land back. The question is whether, in that transfer—
Mr Quinn may know the answers to these questions. I ask him to please take a call. I confess that I was not on the Māori Affairs Committee, but I have come in objectively, looked at the bill, and read through it, and I am asking questions of the members of the select committee and the Minister. I think a lot of people out there want to know the answers, as well.
We know there is confusion in relation to the emissions trading scheme, in relation to forestry, and in relation to the land below the forestry. I ask who gets to pay the emissions trading scheme obligations. We have had a discussion; we are not sure. In the far north I believe the landowner pays, but I have always been led to believe that the person who cuts down the trees, or who has an obligation to replant, pays. I ask Mr Quinn to please get up.
I raise a point of order, Mr Chairperson. On this part, which is quite substantial, we have had only four calls.
People listening to the debate on Part 2 of the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill should feel absolutely assured that Labour strongly supports this bill. Throughout the debate we have raised questions, we have identified potential issues arising out of this settlement, and we have asked for points of clarification. In terms of our contribution this afternoon, it is for that reason that we have continued to seek points of clarification.
I will highlight some of the questions that have been asked about Part 2, because it is really the meat on the bones, the guts of the settlement, and the opportunities that will be afforded to the Whanganui iwi. Firstly, I am building on the contribution of Maryan Street, who said that a component of Part 2 transfers the Crown forest assets, the land, and the accumulated rentals. Arising out of her contribution my question to the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations is what the value of the accumulated rentals is. Part of the difficulty, the reason for our having to ask that question here in the Committee stage, is that the Māori Affairs Committee did not provide a robust report at the beginning of this bill that answered some of these more permeant questions. I put that question to the Minister because it is an important one; it is one of substance relating to the value of the settlement. Many times prior, in other settlements, we understood the value of the settlement, whether it was cultural redress or dollars. I think that is a reasonable question to ask the Minister. I also ask whether our contribution in identifying accumulated rentals as part of the transfer to iwi is correct. If it is correct, I ask what the value is of the accumulated rentals that will be transferred to iwi, because that, in itself, will signal the level of opportunity afforded to Whanganui iwi.
With regard to the emissions trading scheme, building on the contribution of my colleague Kelvin Davis and the situation up north, I thought while he was speaking that if any question was to be asked regarding the emissions trading scheme, we should probably ask the Māori Party how its deal with National offered opportunities for Māori in this settlement. I understand that it was quite a key piece of the negotiating of an outcome on the emissions trading scheme. It would be really good if a member of the Māori Party could explain to the House what the benefit of that particular deal on the emissions trading scheme will mean for this settlement. It is a very real question to ask who has liability for the replanting of the trees: is it the owners of the trees or the owners of the land? It is a very simple question, and by and large something that goes to the heart of broader questions around how the emissions trading scheme agreement reached by the Māori Party and National would benefit the Whanganui iwi in this case.
So I tell Minister Finlayson that we have not asked too many questions on this bill, but we have sought points of clarification. We would indeed appreciate a response on those particular questions because we believe that seeking clarification at this point of the Committee stage will actually help people who are listening to the debate understand and appreciate, I think, the depth of the effort that has gone into this particular component of the settlement.
Also, I note in clause 11 that there is provision for access to the settlement online so that people can see the components of the settlement. I wondered when I saw that, and I cannot recall my attention being drawn to a clause like that in other settlements. It could be a common provision, but I wondered whether there were technical aspects of the settlement that might lend themselves to a type of interpretation that could create confusion. If the intention of including a small clause like that to make sure that access to the on-account settlement is free is to ensure that people are able to cite it in its full extent, then there should be clarification about whether some technical aspects of the deed could create confusion or misinterpretation of the intent of the deed.
So I have three small questions for the Minister. Firstly, around the emissions trading scheme, who has the liability for the replanting of trees—is it the owners of the trees or the owners of the land? Secondly, what is the value of the accumulated rentals, so that we could get a feel for the quantum of this particular settlement? Thirdly, is access to the settlement in the manner provided for in the bill because there could be some misinterpretation of the intent of the deed? If the Minister responds to the question and my concerns are unfounded on all three fronts, then I am prepared to accept that. Thank you very much. Kia ora.
A party vote was called for on the question,
That the question be now put.
Motion agreed to.
It is a pleasure to take a call on the Whanganui Iwi (Whanganui (Kaitoke) Prison and Northern Part of Whanganui Forest) On-account Settlement Bill. It is my first call in the Committee Stage. Obviously, along with other members, Labour members support this bill, but we would have liked the questions that my colleague the Hon Nanaia Mahuta asked to be answered by the Minister in the chair, the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. It is a pity that the Minister did not choose to do that when he had the opportunity.
I turn to the title of the bill. As the buddy MP for the Whanganui electorate, I want to take a call on the amendment to the title. When I have visited that particular region the question of the pronunciation “Wanganui” versus “W’anganui” or “Fanganui” is something that people have raised with me many times. As a lad brought up in the South Island—not unlike the member in the Chair, Eric Roy—when I have seen an “h” in the word I have been moved to say “Fanganui”, because that is what it has looked like to me. So it is interesting to note the change that has been made to clause 1. There is a move from what we would have said in the past, “Wanganui”, to “Whanganui”, but I have learnt as the buddy MP for this electorate that “Whanganui” is not pronounced “Fanganui” but “W’anganui”. It is something that I think is important to note. The amendment to the title clause changes “Wanganui” to “Whanganui”, which is pronounced “W’anganui”, not “Fanganui”.
No. That is something that perhaps people who are not from the area do not know, and it is an important change to this title clause—
It is. It is difficult for people who are not from the area. I know that the member who is from the area, Tariana Turia, when she is saying the Māori word for family, says “w’ānau” rather than “whānau”, and to the local iwi that difference is important.
I raise this issue because it is a significant change in the sense that this is the first bill with this word in it to come before the House since Maurice Williamson as the Minister for Land Information acknowledged that both “W’anganui” and “Wanganui” were acceptable forms of pronunciation of “Whanganui”, but not “Fanganui”, because that is pronouncing the “h” in a way that the local iwi do not do—as evidenced by Tariana Turia. I wanted to note that the change to the title clause is significant. This is the first bill since the Government acknowledged that either spelling of the word was acceptable, and it is worth noting that, because I know that it was a decision that the Government found difficult. Maurice Williamson grappled with it over a period of time, then allowed for both options. I know there are people in the city of Whanganui who would like to see one or the other chosen, but this is a compromise.
No; clearly, that would be incorrect, I say to Ms Sepuloni, because that is not the correct pronunciation. This title clause marks a significant shift in the way that legislation that involves this region is written, and I think it was important for someone to recognise that when we came to this particular clause. Thank you.
My colleague Grant Robertson raises a really interesting point when he talks about dialectal differences. Up north where I come from we definitely say “Fanganui”. It is definitely “Fanganui”, because that is how we say things up north. Mr Robertson has said that “Whanganui” is pronounced “W’anganui” down in “Fanganui”. But it is interesting the way Pākehā missionaries interfered with our language when they first arrived here. They did not like the “f” sound in a word like “whakarongo”; they did not like the sound of the first two syllables of that word, so up north they tried to get us to say “’hakarongo”.
That is correct. We stopped using the “f” sound and a lot of people up there will say “’hakarongo”—meaning listen. One can come across any number of words like that up there. That is true and it is because the missionaries did not like the sound of those first two syllables. Up there, quite often people will not say the “f” sound. They will use an “h” sound. It is quite common to hear people say “’Hangarei” instead of “Fangarei”. Even in the Treaty of Waitangi, if one reads it carefully—and I know that everyone in the Chamber has and has absorbed everything—