Hon TARIANA TURIA (Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector) on behalf of the
Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations: I move,
That the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill be now read a second time. E rere e. E rere ki raro i te maru o tōku ariki maunga a Tongariro. E rere ki te whenua karekare o tōku waka a
Te Arawa. E rere ki te whānui o tōku pāpā ki Raukawa. E tōku tūpuna awa e Waikato e. E rere e.
[Flow on. Flow below the shadow of my priestly mountain, Tongariro. Flow to the
agitated lands of my canoe,Te Arawa. Flow to the vastness
of my father at Raukawa.
Oh, my ancestral river, Waikato, flow.]
The Waikato River is a distinctive feature of the landscape of Aotearoa. The Waikato River is of great cultural, historical, traditional, and spiritual significance to all of the w’ānau, hapū, and iwi who derive their strength from its source to the ocean, and along its tributaries. In Whanganui we often refer to our river as Te Awa Tupua. The metaphor of tupuna awa is a double one, reminding us that the river is our ancestor and, like an ancestor, it provides a common link amongst the people. This is what we celebrate and we identify with, when we come to this Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill. We celebrate w’akapapa that links diverse peoples together, ancestral ties strengthened over successive generations, and the history associated and linked together through the flow of the great Waikato River. The Te Arawa River Iwi, Raukawa, and Ngāti Tūwharetoa each connect particularly with the upper Waikato River. They affirm their own unique connection to the river while also acknowledging that they have in common their own distinctive traditions and tribal identities.
This bill establishes participation by each iwi in a co-governance framework for the Waikato River and its catchment, as well as establishing co-management and related arrangements with each iwi. I am so proud of the investment that the people of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, Te Arawa, and Waikato have made in developing the co-management approach. The co-governance framework in this bill complements arrangements agreed between the Crown and Waikato-Tainui in a deed of settlement signed last year and given effect through the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act, passed by this House in May of this year. In carving out the co-management space, this bill establishes the precedent for future natural resource co-management between Māori and the Crown that can only bode well for us looking ahead to the future. Co-management is about a form of rangatiratanga, respecting the unique autonomy and decision-making authority of each of the iwi while also supporting a focus on kota’itanga, requiring the three iwi to work together to achieve a negotiated and mutually acceptable outcome. The bill also encourages dialogue between the other iwi groups who oppose the bill, which is also a good thing.
This bill, then, gives effect to deeds entered into between the Crown and Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi, by which the Crown and each iwi have agreed to a co-governance framework for the Waikato River. The bill delivers a framework of co-management arrangements for the overarching purpose of restoring and protecting the health and well-being of the river for present and future generations. I want to mihi to all of the iwi involved for their determination that they should best advance a vision and a strategy for the Waikato River through the establishment of a single co-governance entity, known as the Waikato River Authority. The authority will
set the primary objectives for protecting the river. Of course, the waters of this river, although revered for their spiritual and cultural significance, are also associated with significant primary industry, electricity generation, water supply, recreation, and aquatic habitats. There is, in essence, a great deal to be considered when one thinks about the future prosperity of the Waikato River.
The Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill contains three parts. Part 1 sets out the overarching purpose of the Act, guiding principles of interpretation, how the Act applies to each of the three iwi, and general interpretation. It also provides that the Crown is bound by the Act. Part 2 provides for recognition of the vision and strategy for the Waikato River, establishes and grants functions and powers to the Waikato River Authority, and provides for an upper Waikato River integrated management plan. Part 3 provides for upper Waikato River co-management arrangements for each iwi, including iwi environmental plans, joint management agreements, regulations, and accords.
I acknowledge and thank the Māori Affairs Committee for considering and reporting on this bill in the short amount of time that was given to it. In doing so, I want to note that so often the success of Treaty settlements proceeding through the House reflects upon the ideal processes of parliamentary cooperation. The role of the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations is pivotal to progress in advancing Treaty legalisation, and I stand here to formally recognise the unique contribution that Minister Finlayson has brought to this portfolio. But the cooperation of other related Ministers, particularly the Minister of Finance, the willing participation of select committee members, and the active involvement of all members of this House in the debate are also key ingredients towards enabling iwi to achieve the aspirations they set in the settlements arena.
The fundamental importance of collaboration and cooperation cannot be understated. It is important to achieve as much coordination as possible, and the implementation of the co-governance framework for the Waikato River contained in this bill and in the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010. The timely consideration of this bill by the Māori Affairs Committee has made that coordination possible.
I acknowledge too that a couple of weeks ago in Te Kūiti the Minister signed a deed with Maniapoto over the Waipā River, which is the main tributary of the Waikato River. This will ensure there is a full alignment of aspirations and endeavours focused holistically on the whole river system.
The Māori Affairs Committee received 18 submissions on the bill and heard oral presentations from 14 submitters. Half the submissions were made by iwi representatives, and, overall, submitters were mostly supportive of the bill. Support came from representatives of local authorities, Federated Farmers, and others. The committee has recommended a small number of minor technical amendments, which will help to improve the bill.
In its commentary, the committee noted the relationship between the bill and the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010. The committee noted that significant parts of this bill replicate parts of that Act, and considered that it may be appropriate for the bill to acknowledge the relationship between the two pieces of legislation in order to promote their effective implementation with clarity and consistency. I believe this is a very helpful suggestion that iwi are comfortable with. Therefore, at the Committee of the whole House stage Minister Finlayson is intending to present a Government Supplementary Order Paper for consideration, which will make an explicit link between these pieces of legislation.
Finally, I acknowledge the foresight and pragmatism of Te Arawa River Iwi, Raukawa, and Ngāti Tūwharetoa. The values and relationships associated with the
Waikato River and the people and communities associated with the Waikato River are integral not only to the well-being of the river but also to the well-being of those communities. By entering into their own arrangements with the Crown for the co-governance of the Waikato River, Te Arawa River Iwi, Raukawa, and Ngāti Tūwharetoa have added significant impetus to bringing the community together to build a future where generations to come will benefit from a healthy Waikato River.
I commend this bill to the House and it should proceed through the House without delay. Tēnā koe.
Hon MARYAN STREET (Labour)
: It gives me great pleasure to rise to speak on the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill in its second reading. Labour supports this bill. It was clear from our position on the Māori Affairs Committee and in the first reading of the bill that we were going to support it, partly because negotiations had originally been led by Dr Michael Cullen. The agreement was signed by Labour on 4 September 2008 and the deed of settlement was signed by the National Government on 17 December 2009, so we have an interest in supporting this bill.
I will traverse some of the material that emerged from the select committee’s report in respect of the bill and perhaps highlight a couple of issues in particular that will be taken up in more detail when we get to the Committee stage. The select committee recommended that the bill be passed with a number of amendments. These amendments deal with joint management agreements, the Te Arawa lakes, the upper Waipā River, the Waikato River Authority membership, regulations and by-laws, and the relationship to the raupatu claims and the legislation surrounding them.
I would like to mention a couple of things in particular, but, first of all, I say that the amendments that the Māori Affairs Committee has put forward enhance the bill. As I said in my first reading speech, I think the place the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations took the essential agreement signed by the previous Labour Government in 2008 is a good place. I commend him for that. The particular bit that I wish to address myself to is the nature of the Waikato River Authority and its membership. When Labour was in Government the original deed established a number of statutory boards, but the Hon Chris Finlayson has since renegotiated the deed to replace the statutory boards with one single co-governance entity—namely, the Waikato River Authority. I think that is a good change. It is a good change in that it appears that all of the iwi are in agreement with that structure, and it seems that it might be more workable than the previous design.
The fact that the legislation says that the membership can be examined during the review process at a later date is also helpful. As we are dealing in this bill with a co-management agreement—which is, as the Minister Tariana Turia said in her speech a moment ago, a precedent for other such arrangements—it is suitable that a review be built into this structure at this stage so that any changes or anything that needs to be adjusted because of the movement of relationships, the addition of people, or the re-examination of issues and contributions can be built into the structure of the Waikato River Authority as it proceeds with its work.
Submissions actually recommended that the membership of the Waikato River Authority be increased from 10 to 12 members so that Ngāti Korokī Kahukura could be represented in the authority membership. The Māori Affairs Committee believed that a way should be found for Ngāti Korokī Kahukura to achieve their aspirations, but it maintained that the authority should remain at 10, which would be a workable number. Therefore, in the end it recommended no amendment to the membership of the authority. For the reasons that I have just given—namely, that a review process is built
into this structure—that is an acceptable place for the Māori Affairs Committee to land; clearly everybody was in agreement with that in the end.
I would like to make a couple of points about joint management agreements. We refer to it as a co-management approach, which to me is very significant. Minister Turia said a moment ago that this legislation conveys some respect for the autonomy of each of the three iwi. In this sense, this bill is not simply about cleaning up an ailing river; it is much more than that. One could see it as that if one wanted to be minimalist about it; indeed, the Waikato River is ailing for a number of reasons that I do not have time to traverse tonight. The restoration of this great river to health, which will be important right across the regions that it passes through, will be the responsibility of the Waikato River Authority.
However, the bill is not simply about cleaning up a river; it gives life to the Treaty of Waitangi. It begins to address some issues—not only in substance but in structure—that I think are important for the future of this country. It outlines the vision and strategy for the river, as it says. To have a vision and a strategy for a river may sound odd to the uninitiated, but it has very practical implications. As well as the practical implications of restoring the river to health, it has significant relationship implications as well. It is the relationship implications of this bill that I think make it very significant legislation. It goes some way to experimenting with a new structure and a new process, which may well, as Minister Turia said, set a precedent. That is a good thing. If we are to enact in real time and in a real way the Treaty of Waitangi in the 21st century, then I suggest that this bill is one very good way of going about that. Having a built-in review also allows for correction if the process seems not to work, if additional members are required, or if something else needs to be assessed through a review of the Waikato River Authority and its membership.
It gives me great heart that this legislation addresses not only the physical environment that is so important to all of us but also relationships as they might be played out in the 21st century under the Treaty of Waitangi. Thank you.
Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations)
: I always enjoy the intelligent contributions of the previous speaker, Maryan Street. I greatly appreciated that contribution. It makes a refreshing change from the mindless negativism one often gets from that side of the House.
I was very pleased that Mrs Turia was able to take the first call on the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill. I think she is a great New Zealander and a wonderful colleague, and I know how much this issue means to her. A few weeks ago she, Mrs te Heuheu, and I were in Taumarunui to farewell that great New Zealander Sir Archie Taiaroa. Sir Archie worked so long and hard on these issues for the Whanganui River. I promise Mrs Turia, and I certainly express the hope, that in the not too distant future we will be able to reach a Treaty settlement over that river. After all, Whanganui iwi have been fighting their cause for over 100 years.
But let us look at the Waikato River. Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa each have their own unique relationship with the river and their own established tikanga in relation to it. For Ngāti Tūwharetoa their relationship with the Waikato River is inextricably linked with the relationship between the river and Lake Taupō. For the northern hapū their relationship with the river is both significant and enduring. Raukawa, some of whose members I welcome here tonight, have many rich associations with the Waikato River. The river runs through the centre of their rohe, and many sites within and alongside the river are important to them. There are waka landing sites, food and material gathering sites, and blessing and sacred sites associated with the Waikato River. Te Arawa River Iwi can point to many kainga, cultivations, and burial caves along the banks of the Waikato River. The river provided many benefits to their people,
and it was often used to transport produce that was traded with other iwi and with early settlers. For each of these iwi the river remains a source of spiritual, cultural, social, and physical sustenance, and, in turn, they embrace a deep sense of respect for the river, which shows itself in an intergenerational responsibility to care for that river.
The Crown has responsibilities on behalf of the regional community and the nation as a whole. The river and its catchment provide New Zealanders, obviously, with a source of energy, fertile lands for primary industry, and a place for recreational activities enjoyed by many people. There are important values and relationships between the river and many people and communities that must be respected.
Ultimately, we will all be judged as an enlightened nation, and our economy will prosper, by the way in which we manage and respect our environment, especially our waterways, and by the inclusive nature of our society and its institutional arrangements—and that is what Ms Street was referring to. It is of considerable moment, therefore, that we now stand at the dawn of a new era of co-governance in respect of the river that will secure the long-term sustainability and the health of the river for both present and future generations.
Under the new framework, existing relationships will be strengthened and new relationships will be forged, leading to greater understanding and a greater focus on shared aspirations for the river. We can all look confidently to a time when a healthy Waikato River sustains abundant life and prosperous communities, which in turn share in a common endeavour to restore and protect the Waikato River and all it embraces for generations to come.
A few weeks ago in Te Kūiti—and I know that Nanaia Mahuta was there, as well—I signed a deed with Maniapoto over the Waipā River. The Waipā is the main tributary of the Waikato River. This deed will ensure there is a full alignment of aspirations and endeavour focused holistically on the whole river system. So I too acknowledge and thank the Māori Affairs Committee for considering and reporting on this bill, and for doing so without delay, so we can get on with putting these remaining elements of the new framework in place.
The co-governance framework in this bill complements arrangements agreed on between the Crown and Waikato-Tainui and given effect through the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act, which was passed by this House earlier this year. It is important to achieve coordination in the implementation of the co-governance framework, and the timely consideration of this bill by the Māori Affairs Committee makes that coordination possible. I thank the committee and its outstanding chair, Mr Henare. In its commentary the committee noted the relationship between the bill and the 2010 Waikato Act—
Hon Tau Henare: I’ll give you your taonga later on.
Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON: I thank the member so much. The committee noted that significant parts of the bill replicate parts of the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010, and considered that it may be appropriate for the bill to include an acknowledgment of the relationship between the two pieces of legislation in order to promote their effective implementation with clarity and consistency. I think that is a very helpful suggestion, and we are all comfortable with it, as indeed are the iwi. At the Committee of the whole House stage I will present a Government Supplementary Order Paper for consideration to make the link between those two pieces of legislation.
I very much support the motion that this bill be read a second time. The bill is an important element in the new framework for the Waikato River, and it should proceed through the House without undue delay.
Hon RODNEY HIDE (Leader—ACT)
: I begin by saying something publicly that I have said privately to the Hon Tariana Turia, and that is to apologise to her and to the Māori Party—and, indeed, to iwi—for the way I presented ACT’s opposition to the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Bill. This, the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa Iwi Waikato River Bill, is its sister bill. We were opposed to the former bill and had concerns about the legal interpretation of spiritual concepts in that bill. I am afraid that I put our opposition in a way that, I agree, was derogatory towards people with spiritual values, and for which I sincerely apologise.
Hon Tau Henare: The season for apologies.
Hon RODNEY HIDE: There is certainly no excuse for that offence, but I was trying to make a legal point, I say to Mr Henare, and I am afraid it was too easy to misinterpret it. I apologise for that.
It will not come as any surprise to the House that the ACT Party opposes this bill. We have had some experience of major reforms in local government in Auckland, but—I say this to the House and to the people of New Zealand—I believe that what this bill proposes is actually a deeper and more fundamental change to local government in New Zealand than what we are doing in Auckland. This bill establishes a co-governance model for the river and the catchment, which is a very valuable resource stretching across a large area of New Zealand, including private property.
At present, regional and local councils have enormous power over private property rights. They can make decisions that mean life or death to a business, a farm, or an operation, in economic and social terms. We allow that in a democracy because, in order to have that power, one has to stand and be elected by the community, and if one’s decisions prove disagreeable to that community, then one can be voted out. I think that is not a bad principle. We accept that it means minorities miss out. Mr Clayton Cosgrove is fond of pointing out that ACT is a minority party. We know what it is to be a minority. I think that the Labour Party, with its current support, also knows what it feels like to be in the minority. So we understand that the majority can override the wishes of a minority, and that is why it is always important to exercise that judgment with some considerable understanding. It is something that we do not always get right, and again it is something that I have quite often got wrong, but we try to do better. But I do not believe that is a reason to overturn the governance structure.
Let me explain what this bill does, because it is dramatic. It sets up what we call the Waikato River Authority, which overrides the regional council and all the district councils. It is made up of people appointed by the Government and people appointed by the local iwi. There is no mechanism, if you will, for the general population of the Waikato to have a say about who those representatives will be. That group is charged with coming up with what will be called the vision and strategy for the Waikato River and, therefore, for its catchment. That strategy trumps everything. It trumps anything that central government does. For example, if members look at clause 12(1), they will see that it overrides a national policy statement. So central government decides something, and the strategy overrides it. Mrs te Heuheu shakes her head. I ask her to look at clause 12(1), which states: “The vision and strategy prevails over any inconsistent provision in—(a) a national policy statement issued under section 52 of the Resource Management Act …”. So I am sorry, but unless English is no longer English, that is exactly what the vision and strategy do.
Hon Parekura Horomia: Oh, cut it out, Rodney.
Hon RODNEY HIDE: Well, it is not cutting it out; it is explaining what this does, I say to Mr Horomia. The vision and strategy, which are decided by unelected people, override a national policy statement. Clause 12(1)(b) provides that they override a New Zealand coastal policy statement. Clause 13(3) states: “The Council must—(a) review
the Waikato Regional Policy Statement to see whether it is consistent with the vision and strategy; and (b) if the policy statement is inconsistent with the vision and strategy, initiate an amendment to it to make it consistent, …”. There we have it. The Waikato Regional Authority can have its policy statement, the Waikato River Authority can come up with its own—which is decided by the iwi and Government bureaucrats or appointees—and then suddenly that drives what is in the Waikato Regional Authority’s policy statement for the catchment of the river. Therefore, the elected members of the regional authority are overridden.
Hon Tariana Turia: What about the mess they made of the river?
Hon RODNEY HIDE: I tell Mrs Turia that this Government took a lot of heat—and the Māori Party did not support it—when we overrode democracy in Environment Canterbury. We overrode it temporarily because of the mess that was being made. Tariana Turia is asking about the mess that is being made in the Waikato, so let us override democracy, not for 4 years but for ever. Tariana Turia says yes, and I agree with her; that is what it does. It overrides democracy for the management of the catchment of the Waikato River, and the river itself, for ever.
Kelvin Davis: What’s the overriding purpose of the bill?
Hon RODNEY HIDE: That is interesting. The bill states that its purpose is to improve the river. We agree with that, I say to Mr Davis. But does he agree with overriding democracy to improve a river? I understood that the Labour Party was complaining about democracy.
Hon Parekura Horomia: What about in Canterbury?
Hon RODNEY HIDE: I agree with the member that this Parliament overrode the democratic principles in Canterbury. It did it for 4 years. What the Labour Party is voting for is to do it for ever. That is what the National Government is doing. I do not know how Mr David Bennett will get on in Hamilton. I do not know how the National Party will get on in the Waikato when—[Interruption] I tell Mr Horomia to sit down; there is a bit more to go. I know it is a long way up for him.
Clause 13(4) states: “Every local authority must—(a) review its regional or district plan to see whether it gives effect to the vision and strategy; and (b) if the regional or district plan does not give effect to the vision and strategy, initiate an amendment to it to ensure that it does so, …”. So what is happening is that the iwi and the Government-appointed bureaucrats are driving the regional council and the district councils according to their plans. That means no democracy and no say by the locals. This Parliament is handing it across. This Parliament is making a mistake. Only the ACT Party—and I say this in a loving way to the Māori Party—stands against this. This Parliament and the people of New Zealand will rue the day. Thank you.
Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA (Labour—Ikaroa-Rāwhiti)
: Tēnā koe e te Kaiwhakahaere o te Whare. E mihi kau ana i a rātou katoa o Raukawa, rātou o Te Arawa, mai i Maketū tae atu ki Tongariro. E mihi kau ana ki te rangatira te Heuheu me rātou mā o Tūwharetoa. Nā te mea i roto i a koe, e mihi kau ana ki a koutou o tērā taha ngā kanohi Māori. E rekareka atu i tae atu tātou i te wā nei ki te whakawhitiwhiti atu tēnei mahi rōroa atu. E mōhio atu tātou mai rā anō, e tuku atu ngā tūpuna ki a tātou te tikanga o te awa, te tikanga o te whenua, me te tikanga o te ao katoa. Nā te pai o te take nei, kei te whakawhitiwhiti atu ngā iwi e tae pai atu, i te otinga mō tēnei mahi roaroa atu.
E tautokotia atu ngā kōrero a Tāriana, mō te āhua o te awa nei. E mihi kau ana ki a rātou e kore i konei, pērā i a Atawhai, pērā i a Jim, ngā tāngata e whai atu ā muri a tēnei take. E tae atu tātou ki wētahi o ngā rōia i kōrero atu mō te awa, i reira kē a Archie mā. Nō reira e mihi kau ana ki a rātou. Kāre hoki te mahi nei he mahi hōu. Kāre hoki atu te
mahi nei mō te tau anake. E roaroa atu te pīrangi a wētahi o tātou, hei whakatikatika. Nō reira tēnā tātou.
[Greetings to you, Mr Assistant Speaker of the House. I acknowledge all those of Raukawa and of Te Arawa from Maketū to Tongariro, the chief te Heuheu, and those of Tūwharetoa. Because you were involved, I also acknowledge the Māori members on that side of the House. I am delighted that we have now come to the time that this longstanding process is dealt with. We know that historically the ancestors handed the traditions of the river, land, and of the entire world down to us. And because this matter is a good one, the people are consulting with each other to ensure that this lengthy process is settled amicably.
I support Tariana’s remarks about the nature of this river. I pay tribute to those who are no longer here, like Atawhai, and like Jim—people who worked on this matter in the past but have since died. We include some old soldiers who talked about the river—Archie and others were there. So I acknowledge them. This process is not a new one; it is not for just a year. Some of us have wanted it resolved a very long time ago. So greetings to us.
The member who just spoke, Rodney Hide, preaches one thing in one city and town, for one lot of people, then goes on and paraphrases ridiculously about something that, more than just modernising, allows us to manage ourselves as a nation going forward into the future. I am proud that it is Māori people from Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa who have the gumption to ensure that co-management becomes a reality.
Here is a member who preaches zero tolerance and sticks up for all his buddies. Here is a member who goes down to my Pākehā relations in Canterbury, the Rutherfords, and makes sure they have plenty of water for their land, and thinks nothing about it. Then, when Māori try to ensure that the river—something that they have travelled on, that they have wandered on—is looked after, the member starts all his mumbo-jumbo and tries to scratch that redneck itch. That is outrageous, I say to Mr Hide. It might be a long way up for me to climb, but it is a long way down for you to slide, in that sense. It is disgraceful.
I want to tell you about the river. Mihi atu ki te Kīngi Tūheitia. [I acknowledge King Tūheitia.] I want to tell you about the importance of the river. It was the democracy and the practices of this country for generations that polluted the river and made it so unsafe to swim in, made the dam water stink, and made it undrinkable. It was your democracy that did that. It was the organisations that allowed Māori to come to them, to talk to them, or advise them when it suited them. That is what the councils generally did. The voting system, in respect of those structures, ensures at times that people who have an attachment to the river, be it culturally, socially, or economically, are marginalised because of our systems. What is so wrong about subsets in the legislation of local authorities being made to stand up and to ensure that they cater for everyone?
Māori did not dream this up just this year. They have been trying to do this for years and years. My tūpuna, in November 1858, went to Pūkawa to talk with the Tūwharetoa people, the Raukawa people, the Te Arawa people, and other tribes in this country, to talk about the waterways and how they were being treated. That is a long, long time ago, I say to Mr Hide.
I am pleased that the present Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Christopher Finlayson, has followed on from what previous Ministers in this Parliament—namely Michael Cullen and me—signed up to 2 years ago in agreeing to try to organise a structure to consolidate the vision and the strategy. It has certainly come a long way forward.
This bill gives effect to the deeds agreed between the Crown and Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi, by which all parties agreed to a co-governance
framework for the Waikato River. That is fantastic governance. That is commitment by people who sometimes do not agree amongst themselves. They put aside a whole lot of differences to ensure that there is a commonality—that is, the river, and what it meant to them traditionally and means to them in modern times. That is something to be saluted. Mr Hide stands up and tries to say that it is ramrodding, it is divisive, and it is nasty legislation. He will not concede. He will wait until the next time he stands up in the House to cry huffy-puffy to Tariana and say “I apologise.” You should apologise right now, Mr Hide.
Hon Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I was ignoring this to help the flow of the member’s speech, but he was demanding that you apologise; I think he means me.
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes, I did try to intervene. The member cannot bring the Chair into the debate.
Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: That member should apologise to Māoridom and to the rest of the people who care about the river. He should apologise to this fine Minister, Christopher Finlayson, who has enough gumption, even though he is a Pākehā, to carry on and do the right thing by Māori. He has done well, but his co-partner is messing around, trying to ensure that there are ructions around this bill. Shame on that member!
I tell Mr Hide that local authorities have not necessarily ensured that Māori issues have been taken care of, and he knows that. I am glad that Mr Len Brown became the Mayor of Auckland, because it may bring some sense to it. He has made an effort to understand Māori issues. Mr Hide says that this bill will put asunder all local authority legislation and that it does not respect the law, but I say he ain’t respecting the lore. Why not give it a shot? Raihā Mahuta said in the early 1980s that the river was polluted, and she talked about native trees growing on the side of the river a long, long time ago, because her people had talked to her of it a long, long time ago. The simple statement that was coined was that the fish should be replenished, that they should be healthy enough to be eaten again, that our elders should be able to bathe in the water, and that the water should be clean. What is so bad about that?
That member is huffing, puffing, and blowing about this bill being disrespectful to local authority legislation. Mr Deputy Speaker knows, coming from an area where the river supplies water for dairy farms, water for agriculture, and water to bathe in, that it is polluted. It is a mess. I tell Mr Hide that the thing to be remembered is, clearly, Māori want to clean up the river. The aspects of environmental adjustment are upon us. We continue to say that we are clean and green.
This is an important bill. It is a wonderful bill. It shows that Māori, as I said before, even though they differ, can come together. Strangely, the churches never used to agree, and they would not come together. Strangely, the councils do not agree, but this agreement should be supported by the councils. I say do not scratch the itch, do not demean this great legislation. Get on board, row one’s waka down it, and get a good feeling out of it. That is what this partnership is about. It is about ensuring that Māori get what is rightfully theirs. It is about ensuring that other people can share in, and care for, the river, and that future progress is not stormed upon by unnecessary platitudes from people like that member.
Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader—Green)
: It is with great pleasure that I stand to speak in support of the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Awawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill. I think it is instructive, in terms of understanding the significance of this bill, to look at the vision and strategy that are to be implemented, which are contained within schedule 1. The ACT Party has quite rightly pointed out that it is the vision and strategy that will gain legal force, assuming that the bill passes through the
House. I think the rabble-rousing that the ACT Party has engaged in around the vision and strategy shows something of its values, because when we look at the vision and strategy we see they are things that we think, as New Zealanders, are tremendously important.
For example, the strategy states that in order to realise the vision, certain objectives will be pursued. Those objectives include the “recognition and avoidance of adverse cumulative effects, and potential cumulative effects, of activities undertaken both on the Waikato River and within its catchment on the health and well-being of the Waikato River”. It is not understood by people who do not follow river ecology closely that what happens in the catchment of the river is actually much more important than what happens in the river itself. Most of the pollution that ends up in the mighty Waikato River is a result of activities undertaken within the catchment. More than three-quarters of all the nitrogen that ends up in the river comes from intensive agricultural practices undertaken in the catchment of the river, and the vast bulk of these agricultural practices are permitted activities. There is no control over these kinds of activities.
So when we say we want to give power to the co-governance body to implement the vision and strategy, it seems to me that that is a wonderful thing to do—to give power to local tangata whenua to have some say over the activities that are resulting in the destruction and pollution of this river. When we look at the contaminants that end up in the Waikato River, we find they are the nitrogen and the phosphorous that come directly from intensive agricultural practices. The point source discharges, such as the sewage treatment plants in Hamilton and other places, are a very small part of the overall pollution that goes into the river. So I say to the river iwi that they have an enormous challenge ahead of them. It is absolutely true that the regional council has failed in its duty to protect the river, and it has been left to a minority within the Waikato region, not only tangata whenua but also greenies and environmentalists, to speak up for the river, because the river has been polluted over many, many decades.
It is also important to look at other aspects of the wonderful vision and strategy that is in schedule 1. Clause 3 states: “In order to realise the vision, the following objectives will be pursued:”. It talks about the recognition that the Waikato River is degraded and should not be required to absorb further degradation as a result of human activities. It also talks about “(i) the protection and enhancement of significant sites, fisheries, flora and fauna: (j) the recognition that the strategic importance of the Waikato River to New Zealand’s social, cultural, environmental, and economic well-being requires the restoration and protection of the health and well-being of the Waikato River: (k) the restoration of water quality within the Waikato River so that it is safe for people to swim in and take food from over its entire length:”. By the time the Waikato River reaches the river mouth, visibility within the river is less than 1 metre. When it leaves Lake Taupō, visibility is more than 14 metres. That loss of visibility happens between the top and the bottom of that river system because of the massive contamination that goes into it, and overwhelmingly that contamination comes from intensive agricultural activities. That is realised by anyone who cares to look at the science on the issues, rather than at the rhetoric that comes from Federated Farmers and others who are merely advocating for intensive corporate agriculture.
The iwi have a tremendous challenge in terms of being on the co-governance body that is to try to implement that vision. I point to one of the real problems that we have, which is that most of the activities that are polluting the river are not activities that require resource consent but are permitted activities. Most of the agricultural farming activities that contribute the vast bulk of the pollution do not require resource consent. If we want to clean up the Waikato River, we must make intensive agriculture a consentable activity. Only when we make intensive farming require a consent can we
clean up the Waikato River. That is something that is quite radical in New Zealand at the moment, because a very powerful lobby says we cannot possibly require intensive agriculture to be a consentable activity. But in fact, if we do not make intensive agriculture an activity that requires a consent to control and reduce the nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment, and faecal loads that currently go into the Waikato River, we will never clean it up.
Some people say dairy shed effluent is a consentable activity, but in fact dairy shed effluent is a tiny part of the pollution that goes into the river. The vast bulk of the nitrogen that ends up in the river system comes from the fields where the cows are grazing. Each cow produces as much faeces and urine as 14 people. We have a million cows, or more, standing on fields in this river catchment, producing the same faecal load that we would have if 14 million people were standing in that catchment and doing their business on the ground. That is the equivalent of the intensity of the dairy farming within that catchment. It is that massive faecal, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment load that is contaminating the Waikato River. Until we make those kinds of intensive agricultural activities ones that require consent and can be controlled, we will not clean up the river system. That is a tremendous challenge, and nobody in this Chamber should underestimate—of course, most members do not even understand this—how great the challenge is and what a fantastically huge job it will be to clean up the Waikato River. We have been fighting an incredibly powerful lobby in New Zealand that does not want to clean up the river. The Greens constantly find themselves in battle against Federated Farmers and the intensive agricultural industry, which do not want to clean up that river system.
It is fantastic that we have this vision and strategy for the Waikato River. It is also fantastic that the river iwi are to be involved in some of the decision making and governance around this river system, because the iwi and hapū on this river system are tremendous allies of this mighty river. They are allies who will stand up to help clean up the river, and this vision statement is a fantastic statement about what the river system should be like. But my warning, if you like, to the iwi and hapū who are embarking on this journey is that if they cannot get control over the activities that actually produce the pollution—the intensive agricultural activities that produce the nitrogen, the phosphorous, the faeces, and the sediment that end up in their mighty river—then we will fail in our job to clean up the river.
So this bill is just a start. It is great that this vision statement will go straight into the regional plan, because the regional council has not done its job properly. It should have adopted a vision statement like this many decades ago, and thank goodness that the iwi have managed to get this vision statement put into the regional plan through this legislation, so that we will have a standard against which to judge the management of the river, and so that we can improve its management. This is necessary not only for Māori but for Pākehā as well, so that their children may be allowed to swim safely in this river and be able to fish in it for tuna and for whitebait, because this river system is part of our natural heritage. We spend a fortune on our cultural heritage, which is fair enough, but rivers like this one are our living natural heritage. The Green Party will support this bill tonight.
Hon TAU HENARE (National)
: Just when we thought it was the season for apologies, and just when we thought it was going to be a night of back-slapping and congratulations for each other, we had the Hon Rodney Hide stand up and bring us back to reality. The reality for some people is that they cannot really get the idea of partnership, and they cannot really get their heads around what is good for everyone. He went on about the undemocratic situation in respect of the unelected people this bill
refers to, but on the other hand he stands in the House as Minister of Local Government and supports council-controlled organisations in the super-city, which are unelected—
Hon Parekura Horomia: Oh, no—no!
Hon TAU HENARE: I do not mind their being unelected, because they do a pretty good job, and we know that they will do a pretty good job. They are in charge of billions of dollars of assets. But when it comes to Māori—and this is not just Māori on their own; this is Māori in a partnership—such people say no, they are not going to have a bar of that; they will have the other fullas. It interests me that Rodney Hide as the Minister of Local Government can get up and say what he says, but it is the local government people around the motu, and around the Waikato River in particular, who have got up and said that they have their heads around it, and that they are working with iwi. They can work with iwi, they were re-elected on the weekend—at least some of them were; poor old Bob Simcock was not, but never mind—and they can get their heads around the new framework that the original bill and this bill puts into place.
I say first and foremost to that dynamic Minister we have, the Hon Christopher Finlayson, what a good job he has done, not only in this respect but in the other Treaty bills he has brought to the House, which our Māori Affairs Committee has been lucky enough to be part of.
Hon Christopher Finlayson: You’re a great chair.
Hon TAU HENARE: I thank the member very much. I am sure we all know how significant the Waikato River is, and not only to Waikato and the other iwi—Raukawa, Te Arawa, and Tūwharetoa—who live along the river. In fact, I think that the Waikato River—and I am trying to be diplomatic here—the Whanganui River as well, the Waiapu, and those great rivers in the north, although I cannot name any at the moment, are akin to the Mississippi and akin to other rivers around the world. I agree 100 percent with the Hon Maryan Street when she says that it is not just about a dirty river, and it is not just about the degradation of the river; it is about trying to establish a new framework, and a new way of dealing with a very, very old problem. The framework we have in front of us is about partnership; it is about getting local government, local communities, local iwi, and Government working together.
I will read just a couple of paragraphs out of the Māori Affairs Committee’s report on the bill in regard to the Waikato River Authority membership: “We heard submissions that the membership of the Waikato River Authority should be increased from 10 to 12 to give Ngāti Korokī Kahukura representation. It was proposed that an additional Crown member could be nominated by the Federated Farmers of New Zealand. As we did when considering the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act, we gave serious thought to Ngāti Korokī Kahukura’s need for recognition as a river iwi and to be heard in respect of their Tupuna Awa. We believe that a way should be found for them to achieve their aspirations.
We remain convinced that to be most effective, the maximum size of the Waikato River Authority should remain at 10. We note that the membership can be re-examined during the review process for the authority at a later date. In the meantime, we understand that the iwi is currently negotiating with the Crown for the settlement of its non-raupatu historical Treaty claims, and we encourage both parties to use this process to address the iwi’s concerns.
We recommend no amendment.”
One of the hardest things we had to think about and deliberate on was the make-up of the Waikato River Authority—whether we had too many from one group and not enough from another group. It was always going to be a very, very hard decision, but in the end I think that what we did and what we came up with was in fact the scenario that
would achieve what we as a Government, and local iwi, wanted to achieve. I cannot wait until the third reading and we can get on to do what this bill sets out to do.
DAVID BENNETT (National—Hamilton East)
: I congratulate Tau Henare on his excellent leadership of the Māori Affairs Committee to get the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill to this second reading, and also the many members of this House who have worked together to provide the solution we see in front of us today. The Labour members in the previous Government kicked it off, and under the leadership of the current Minister we have been able to refine the solution and make it workable so that it will achieve the enduring goals that it is all about. I acknowledge representatives of the many iwi who are here tonight and who have made the journey here for the second reading; it is a pleasure to see them here and I thank them for their support. We look forward to working with them in the future, too, to address those challenges that the Green Party said would become a reality over time—and they will be. That is something we have to work through together in the region.
To the negotiation team up in the gallery I say that it is also good to see them, as well. They have put a lot of time and effort into this, so I say well done. We also acknowledge up there, as well, Ngāti Maniapoto, who settled recently, so they are the next step in the jigsaw of passing this bill—or the final settlement in regard to the river.
But I will talk about just a few concepts that have been raised by two speakers in relation to this bill tonight; those speakers were from ACT and the Green Party. The first thing I say—as a Waikato dairy farmer, a Pākehā, and somebody who lives and works in that region—is that together we are a region that is a little bit different from the rest of New Zealand. In our part of this country the relationship between iwi and the wider community is very strong, and will develop into something a lot stronger in the future. It is a little bit different from the demographics, I guess, of some other parts of New Zealand. The ownership of assets in that region is quite strongly held by Māori, as well, and Māori have a vested interest not only in the land as its productive capital but also in the future of things such as the river and its integrity and cleanliness.
We have a unique and dynamic situation, and we need to trust each other and work together to make that a possibility. It is easy to look upon that region and the people in it and say they cannot work together, and that it is one against the other, but it is not. The Waikato region and the Waikato people see themselves as unified, and they see this as a common purpose that they want to deliver on. That is the first thing.
The second thing we need to look at is the nature of agriculture in that region. I think the Green Party mentioned some important points there; probably they went to the extreme of it. The nature of it is that we have to look at what we do and how we produce our goods and services. Basically, agriculture will move from a low-cost production system in New Zealand to an environmentally friendly production system. We will want to get clean, green production. That is where we will get the premium on our products, for two reasons: one is that consumers will become more discerning over time, and the second is that we just do not have a whole lot of land in New Zealand where we can do more bulk commodity production. We are moving into a different field of agriculture. I think this river settlement should be looked at as something that will be of economic gain to that region in, say, 50 or 100 years’ time. If we get the river in a state where people are proud of it and are aware that it is their river, that will be a great selling point for us as an agricultural community in that area. To Mr Hide I say that I understand his argument, but the reality is that a bigger economic picture is upon us, which we can take advantage of.
This bill will deliver some large economic gains to the region over time. It will take some compromise, and it will take some hard work to make it a reality, but it will lead to a situation where the people of that region work together for their full economic
benefit in the future. This bill will lead to a lot of change, but change that will deliver very fruitful results for that region going forward. Thank you.
Hon NANAIA MAHUTA (Labour—Hauraki-Waikato)
: Tēnā koe. Tēnei e tāpiri atu i ērā o āku nei whakaaro ki ngā iwi mai i Te Hukahuka a Tāheke o Taupō-nui-a-Tia, tae atu ki Arapuni, arā, Karapiro. Tēnei e mihi ana ki a rātou katoa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa Waka, Raukawa, ā, tēnei anō te mihi atu ki a koutou.
[Greetings to you.
I add my sentiments here to the people from the Huka Falls of Lake Taupō, including Lake Arapuni and Lake Karapiro.
I acknowledge them all; Ngāti Tūwharetoa, the Canoe of Te Arawa, Raukawa, greetings once again.]
It gives me great pleasure to be able to speak in favour of the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill. This is the second reading, so it is an opportunity to highlight some of the issues that the Māori Affairs Committee considered. I am heartened to be able to again highlight that this particular bill builds on the Waikato River settlement, and I am especially heartened to hear that the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations intends to introduce a Supplementary Order Paper that makes that explicit within the bill. I think it is a very good amendment, and it is very helpful in understanding the whole intent of how this and the previous Waikato River bill stitch together to ensure that the ambition of achieving a clean Waikato River will be an enduring solution going forward.
I listened very carefully to the presentations made in the House, and I will at some point go through each of the points that were raised, because they are of some interest to me personally.
Firstly, in order for this settlement to be enduring, it is absolutely critical that central and local government continue to be long-term, interested, and committed partners in ensuring that the successful implementation of this bill and the Waikato River bill continues. We cannot afford for any Government to abrogate its responsibility of ensuring successful implementation, by saying that now the river authority is there it can do it all, and by stepping away from the process. I propose that it is absolutely critical that this Government and future Governments remain committed partners in achieving the successful implementation.
In the local government elections, and especially for Environment Waikato, the Rates Control Team ticket actually won a great proportion of the seats on this new regional council. There will have to be a period of re-educating those new councillors about the aspirations of the river settlement. Their ambition will be not to spend any more than absolutely necessary on this settlement, but for the settlement to be successful it will require commitment from Environment Waikato, which may mean that ratepayers will have to continue to be engaged in contributing towards the successful implementation of what this bill and the river settlement bill are all about. That is the type of leadership that will require the Minister in charge and the Minister of Local Government to give greater direction and leadership on achieving that aspiration. I was concerned to hear the contribution of the current Minister of Local Government. He seems to be shying away from his leadership as Minister in committing to bills like this. This bill sets a framework that I believe many other iwi will follow. If he continues to be the Minister of Local Government, it is absolutely necessary that he supports the direction and intent of the Waikato River settlement and this bill, because it sets the type of ground that certainly Whanganui iwi and other river iwi might consider.
More particular to the terms of this bill, I pick up very briefly the issue that was raised by Tau Henare in terms of the Waikato River Authority membership. There is a saying back home that goes “Taupiri is our mountain, Waikato is our river, Waikato, river of a hundred taniwha”—at each bend a taniwha. In the previous settlement under Labour a number of statutory boards were proposed, and the reason for that was that
Waikato-Tainui was not about to presume to dictate to other iwi in the upper catchment what should be happening in their rohe. With the current Government proposing a streamlined process, iwi in the upper catchment saw an opportunity to consolidate their interests. However, let the House be reminded that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Successful implementation will mean that there may be a few wobbly bits at the front end, in trying to smooth out how the river authority operates, and in balancing interests in the upper catchment vis-à-vis priorities set in the lower catchment. As politicians we need to be mindful that if there are a few wobbly bits at the front end it is to be expected. We must remain engaged and continue to work with upper catchment iwi and lower catchment iwi to ensure the successful implementation of this settlement for the Waikato River.
Secondly, on the membership of the authority, I believe that for Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, it is absolutely imperative to work out the interests from Arapuni to Karapiro. The intention of the river settlement is that the river be treated as an indivisible entity, and where interests are not quite resolved, I believe that it would be prudent and of sound judgment to ensure that there is no gap in the picture. For that pragmatic reason, I urge urgency in trying to resolve some of this alongside the people of Raukawa and Ngāti Korokī Kahukura.
Thirdly, on the issue of the upper Waipā River, I am pleased that Minister Turia and Minister Finlayson mentioned the signing of the Maniapoto deed of settlement, because without a clean Waipā there is no hope of trying to do anything on the Waikato River. In fact, the presentation that Russel Norman for the Greens gave about non - point source runoff absolutely applies to the Waipā River. So it is of concern that for the upper catchment of the Waipā River there is no consideration whatsoever of a clean-up fund in their agreement. I am hopeful and remain optimistic that the current Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations will understand the pressures going forward to try to get urgency in relation to cleaning up the Waipā, so that the real ambition for Waikato can be realised.
Indeed, there are very strong whakapapa connections between Raukawa and Maniapoto, but the bill itself should not rewrite the nature of that history. In explaining that, I just want to say that for my part, in good honesty to my own representation to say that Raukawa exercises equal influence on the Waipā akin to that of Maniapoto in current day terms is to misrepresent and misunderstand, first, the whakapapa link, but, second, what the reality is on the ground. Again, I see that the Māori Affairs Committee has stayed away from trying to determine that in the legislation. I think that is absolutely right, but I want it noted in
Hansard that the bill should not be justification for rewriting history. Very practical considerations will have to be made and negotiated directly between Maniapoto and Raukawa. I am pleased to see that the intent of this bill will elevate an opportunity for those iwi to be involved in co-management and co-governance arrangements. The ability for joint-management agreements to be implemented is, I think, a positive thing and can only serve to support and strengthen iwi participation at the front end of planning, policy, and decision-making processes, culminating in better resource consenting.
Fourthly, I want to comment briefly on Russel Norman’s contribution. If his proposition was that there should be greater regulation in terms of the farming industry, then I would have to offset that comment with some practicalities. Raukawa, Te Arawa, and Tūwharetoa are all involved in farming activities. I think they would want to see themselves as leaders in this industry, promoting best practice. Yes, I recognise that partial regulation may help achieve urgency in relation to better farming practices and introducing technology, but I do not want there to be any misrepresentation of the interests of iwi in the upper catchment, who are doing well in the farming sector and
contributing, and want to do more. They may well be the leaders as a result of decisions made in this space, and I would absolutely promote and support that.
Finally, I am pleased to see greater progress being made on river settlements per se, and a clear direction of intent from the Minister that something will be done in Whanganui. It should not have had to take as long as this for something to happen. I know that it is through no fault of the Minister, but his ambition to see Whanganui iwi reaching a settlement will, I think, be well supported on this side of the House. Nō reira, kia koutou katoa. Tēnā koutou.
LOUISE UPSTON (National—Taupō)
: Tēnā koe e te Mana Whakawā. Tēnā koutou ngā iwi rangatira o te Awa o Waikato. Tēnā koutou i ngā āhuatanga o te wā. Nō reira, e te Ariki Tumu te Heuheu, e Te Arawa, Raukawa mā, tēnā koutou katoa. Nō reira, e te Whare Miere, tēnā koutou katoa.
[Greetings to you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Greetings to the leaders of the Waikato River in respect of the circumstances of the day. Greetings to you, Paramount Chief Tumu te Heuheu, and to Te Arawa, Raukawa, and the others, greetings to you all. So greetings to you all, the House.]
As the member of Parliament for the Taupō electorate, I am thrilled to see representatives here from Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Raukawa, and Te Arawa. The settlement of the upper Waikato claim is significant to the communities that I work hard to represent. The Government is delivering on promises to complete final, durable settlements of all remaining historical Treaty of Waitangi grievances by 2014. Just this Monday I met with a group in Cambridge who asked that very question: when would the settlements all be completed? I assured them that our Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Chris Finlayson, is making fantastic progress with these settlements. It is important to note that the settlements recognise the wrongs of the past, but, more important, they allow iwi to realise their economic potential. The settlements provide an economic boost to the communities in which the iwi reside, which in turn is an investment in the wider communities, thereby creating jobs and wealth in our communities.
The Waikato River connects my constituents from Taupō, Ātiamuri, Whakamaru, Mangakino, Arapuni, and Karapiro, and that is why I am thrilled to stand and support this bill. As other speakers have said, this bill gives effect to the co-governance and co-management arrangements agreed with each iwi and, more important, creates the Waikato River clean-up fund—$210 million that will be distributed over a 30-year period. The bill comes into force once the scoping study on the clean-up priorities has been completed.
The Waikato River supplies 13 percent of New Zealand’s electricity generation. Just last week I was at the Mighty River Power annual general meeting at Karapiro, and the point I want to make is that it was interesting to see the wide variety of groups attending that meeting. I think it gives a sense of the number of organisations to which the Waikato River is critical. Iwi were there, as were Federated Farmers, a range of tourism business operators, neighbouring landowners, and sports clubs, as, of course, we have the World Rowing Championships soon; you name it, they were there because the Waikato River has such critical importance to the whole of the Waikato region.
As we have heard other speakers say, the Waikato River is degraded and badly polluted. Over 80 point-source discharges go directly into the river. The Green member Dr Russel Norman talked a lot about pollution, but unfortunately he did not talk a lot about some of the work that is already under way with the clean-up, and I want to mention just a couple of examples.
But first I will come back to the comments made by Nanaia Mahuta about iwi farming businesses leading the way in New Zealand. I was pleased to be at the
Ahuwhenua Trophy - Bank of New Zealand Māori Excellence in Farming competition when the Waipapa Trust took out the award. The trust is in this area, and I pay tribute to the excellence of the farming businesses that Tūwharetoa undertake.
I come back to the issue of pollution. I was at a recent lakes and waterways meeting that the Lake Taupō Protection Trust presented at, and they talked about what they have done to date in relation to the reduction of nitrogen, which, of course, is a critical part of reducing the pollution into Lake Taupō that has a downstream impact. Also, another business in Tokoroa in my electorate, Blue Pacific Minerals, recently opened a larger premise. One of the minerals it extracts in my electorate is being used in the clean-up projects on the rivers in Rotorua. I am convinced that work that has been done in our communities will also assist in the clean-up of our rivers. Obviously, we are doing work in Lake Taupō, and the focus now has to go on to the Waikato River. It is critical to our local economy. It has been in the past, and it will be in the future. I met recently with the South Waikato District Council Mayor, Neil Sinclair, who has recently been re-elected—and congratulations to him—about the economic development opportunities arising in the district. Many of those have an involvement with, and touch in some way, the Waikato River, so it is important that all of those factors are taken into consideration.
This Government is providing clear direction and certainty around co-governance and co-management of the Waikato River. We are providing more than words for the concept of partnership that is inherent in the Treaty of Waitangi. I was in Te Kūiti with the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations for the signing with Ngāti Maniapoto. For me that was a historic moment, as I was the witnessing signature on those documents. It was a proud day, indeed. Our Government has signed eight deeds of settlement, and that is a result I am proud of, just as this is a bill I am proud of. Kia ora. Ka mutu.
KELVIN DAVIS (Labour)
: Tēnā koe, Mr Deputy Speaker. Tuatahi māku, hei tāpirihia ōku mihi ki wērā o ngā rangatira mai i Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, Te Arawa i tatū mai ki raro i te tuanui o tēnei Whare, hei whakarongo ki wēnei whaikōrero e pā ana ki tēnei pire. Nā reira, tēnā rā koutou.
[Greetings to you, Mr Deputy Speaker. First, I add my acknowledgments to those leaders from Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa, who have arrived here beneath the roof of this House to listen to these speeches about this bill. So, greetings to you.]
It is a pleasure to contribute to the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill. The Waikato River begins at Te Waiheke o Huka, or Huka Falls, where there is a point that Ngāti Tūwharetoa know as Te Toka a Tia. The river flows north through the Waikato to Te Pūaha o Waikato, or the mouth of the Waikato River. This bill relates to the upper reaches of the Waikato from Karapiro. The iwi that this bill relates to are Ngāti Tūwharetoa, who are represented by the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board; Raukawa, meaning those individuals who descend from Raukawa Marae in the Waikato area; and Te Arawa River Iwi, in particular Ngāti Tahu - Ngāti Whāoa, Ngāti Kearoa Ngāti Tuarā, and Tuhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao.
It is appropriate to acknowledge that this bill is the sister legislation to the previous Act, the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act 2010, especially because that Act established the co-governance arrangements of the river, and has the overriding purpose of restoring the health and well-being of the Waikato River. It established the Waikato River Authority, which has membership comprised of one member each from the Waikato Raupatu River Trust, Te Arawa River Iwi Trust, the Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board, the Raukawa Settlement Trust, and the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board, as well as members appointed by the Minister for the Environment
in consultation with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Local Government: one on the recommendation of the council, another recommended by the territorial authorities, and three members appointed by the Minister for the Environment in consultation with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Māori Affairs. Altogether there are 10 members on that board: five iwi representatives and five appointed by the Minister.
The Waikato River Authority is the organisation charged with fulfilling the purpose of this bill, as well as that of the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act. That purpose is described succinctly in Part 1 of the bill. It is “to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River for present and future generations.” That is an admirable overarching purpose, and it will ensure that future generations of Māori, alongside their non-Māori neighbours, will be able to play, swim, gather food, and enjoy a healthy river that is free, as far as is possible, from the devastating effects of 150 years or so of the dumping of domestic, commercial, and agricultural wastes such as herbicides, pesticides, and fertiliser.
Because of the similarities of this bill to the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Act, I will raise a few points that were made in the third reading of that legislation by the ACT Party. I have to acknowledge that the Hon Rodney Hide apologised for the comments he made in the third reading of that legislation. He has taken a bit of wind out of my sails, but I will still say what I have to say. In that bill he said that this House was legislating hocus-pocus based on Māori beliefs. I found that offensive. I wondered whether I should let it go tonight, as he has apologised, but the reality is that other members of the community in New Zealand will share his views and will not believe that his apology is justified. I raise it also because for ever and a day in
Hansard it will be recorded that Rodney Hide of the ACT Party believes that this type of legislation is hocus-pocus, and that we are legislating hocus-pocus. I found it offensive at the time, and I am glad for the opportunity to rebut it now.
At the time, David Garrett quoted the deed of settlement, which said—
Hon Tau Henare: Who?
KELVIN DAVIS: Yes, David who? He quoted the legislation as saying: “The river is a metaphysical being with its own mauri.” He then said: “The concept of mauri—life-force—will, in our view, have little significance to most Māori, who according to census figures are mostly Christian.” I am pretty tolerant of most opinions, but there is one thing that gets under my skin, and that is when somebody of another ethnicity tries to tell Māori what we must be thinking or feeling, based on his or her own narrow perspective of the world.
One of the great things about being a New Zealander who is able to straddle both the Māori world and the Pākehā world is that I can see that two opposing world views can exist quite happily. It is not confusing for me. Just as an example, in English we might say: “I am travelling up north.” The literal translation of that sentence in Māori would be: “I am travelling down north.” The fact is that it does not have to be explained. To me, that is just the way it is. The opposing perspectives can quite happily be accommodated by somebody with an open mind who is grounded in what it means to walk along two paths in 21st century New Zealand. If someone is unable to walk comfortably along those dual or multicultural paths, that is fine, and I accept their position, just as long as they do not fall back on their own ignorance to belittle another cultural perspective.
The ACT Party also lamented that the Crown is giving half of the control of the Waikato River and its surrounding land to five iwi. My question is: so what? ACT’s attitude smacks of the colonial view that the natives are getting uppity. Māori are simply having a say in the management and governance of a resource that was unjustifiably
taken out of their control, and it is about time we have the sort of legislation that enables Māori to have a say in the way their resources are used.
Those five iwi, along with the other members of the Waikato River Authority, are committed to restoring the well-being and health of the Waikato River for this and future generations. That cannot be a bad thing, except if one belongs to a particular group that has, for 150 years or so, become accustomed to the unbridled power that 100 per cent control gave it. Now we are suffering from the effects and the mess that that unbridled power has produced.
I welcome the fact that this bill transfers governance of the Waikato River away from a system that favoured the interests of a few to a system that shares the power and benefits the river for future generations of Māori, Pākehā, and all the other ethnicities that have made Aotearoa their home. The Hon Rodney Hide told us when we debated the last Waikato River Settlement Bill: “Well, I have to say that it is a very, very sad day for the people of Waikato and the people of New Zealand … What we will now have is the Waikato River Authority, and it will be made up of people who are not elected from that community.” Again, I say that ACT members fall back on their own cultural norms to justify their angst at their ilk losing their grip on power. The iwi representatives may not be elected in a way that satisfies Mr Hide and company, but those iwi members will be selected in a manner appropriate to the iwi they represent, and that is what is important. It is important that the Waikato River Authority is there to ensure the well-being and the health of the Waikato River, so that all New Zealanders may enjoy the benefits that that river can give to us.
Other members have spoken about some of the issues that the Māori Affairs Committee came across, such as the fact that Ngāti Korokī Kahukura wanted to have representation on the Waikato River Authority, and they submitted that Federated Farmers also have a member so as to take the total membership up to 12. As a committee, we believe that the most effective membership of that river authority will be 10 members.
PAUL QUINN (National)
: I have the privilege as the last speaker to bring closure to the second reading debate of a bill that, unsurprisingly, I fully support. I thought that in closing I might perhaps respond to some of the comments made by the leader of the ACT Party in particular in respect of democracy and having the power removed from local authorities. He focused on the fact that this particular bill was undemocratic. In so doing he made the observation that, unfortunately, minorities have to accept that they miss out, and that that is the way the cookie crumbles.
Well, I would like to share a bit of history with the leader of the ACT Party. I will take him back to 16 July 1787, and to what some might consider to be the guardian of world democracy—that is, the United States of America. If the member studies his history book he will find that on that date the founding fathers of the United States of America signed an agreement to constitute the Senate as part of the Congress of the United States of America. The Senate document stipulates that there can be only two members from every state. The simple fact of the matter is that if that document had not been signed and executed then we would not have the United States as we know it today. In trying to create the United States the founding fathers could not get past the fact that unless there were some protections against the large states of New York, Massachusetts, and so on, the smaller states were not prepared to cede their sovereignty—at which point in time they still held. So the compromise was that they created the United States Senate, and that every state was entitled to two senators only. The protection it provides is that ultimately to get anything agreed, and where in particular the smaller states disagree, there has to be at least a two-thirds majority of 60 votes. So there is the example within what some people say is the greatest democracy in
the world—that in fact minorities do not have to suck the kumara, to use an expression. The reality is that this particular legislation ultimately recognises property rights from way back.
In talking about local authorities and the fact that they may be hamstrung, I will share with the House at a very high level—because I think it is appropriate—the contributions made to the Māori Affairs Committee process by those local authorities. As has been mentioned, there were 18 submissions: approximately 50 percent were from iwi groups, and 50 percent were from other constituted bodies. I will run quickly through a summary. The South Waikato District Council supports the bill. The Taupō District Council in its submission supported the bill. The Waikato Regional Council supports the purpose of the bill “to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River for present and future generations.” New Zealand Eel Ltd made a submission and agreed with the measures proposed in the bill. The Eel Enhancement Company Ltd supported the initiatives arising from the bill. Federated Farmers supported the measures as set out in the bill, as did the Seafood Industry Council.
The fact of the matter is that the interested parties that this bill directly affects all support the intention of this particular bill. They are the democratically elected representatives of the people and the populace whom our friend Mr Hide said he was speaking on behalf of. I say to him that he should read the submissions. They all support the bill. With those few words, it gives me great pleasure to conclude the debate on the second reading of this wonderful bill.
A party vote was called for on the question,
That the Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Bill be now read a second time.
||New Zealand National 58; New Zealand Labour 42; Green Party 9; Māori Party 5; Progressive 1; United Future 1.
||ACT New Zealand 5.
|Bill read a second time.