Politicking by politicians was less overt but whether there was less politics probably depends on your definition of the word and what lay beneath the optics, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.
Less politicking but still, there was politics
Prime minister Chris Hipkins said he welcomed “less politics” at Waitangi after yesterday’s dawn ceremony at the Upper Treaty grounds. The ceremony was a reverent affair. But I think “less politics” might better be described as “less obvious politicking from politicians looking to win votes”. The request for “less politics” this year came from the hosts. Politics is still just about how groups make decisions on things like resource distribution or recognition of status. I was up at Waitangi and while I did more eating than anything else, the various tents, forums and panels were alive with those kinds of conversations. It sounds like the hotel the politicians stayed at was equally lively, based on Stuff’s Glenn McConnell’s fantastic colour at the end of this piece. Politik’s Richard Harman reports on (paywalled) Willie Jackson telling Iwi chairs they would have to understand they either supported the government as it moved to water down co-governance or, if they didn’t, they would end up enabling a National-Act government.
Waitangi Tribunal report on Treaty breaches suffered by Ngāpuhi on the agenda
On Sunday, Alana Thomas hosted a forum at Te Tii Waitangi Marae on the stage two report from the Waitangi Tribunal into Treaty breaches suffered by Ngāpuhi. The iwi, the biggest in the country and on whose land the Treaty was signed, does not have a formal settlement from the Crown. The report, released in December, recommends the government return all Crown-owned land in Ngāpuhi’s tribal area and start talks about reworking New Zealand’s constitutional framework in the light of an earlier finding that Ngāpuhi chiefs did not cede sovereignty when they signed the Treaty. The government has said it won’t make any quick decisions on the report’s findings. RNZ’s Mani Dunlop and Julian Wilcox’s Waitangi Day live broadcast is now online and includes an excellent panel on the findings.
National Party hopes for “full and final” on Treaty settlements by 2030
In that panel discussion, Hinerangi Himiona wasn’t that impressed by what politicians had to say over the weekend – “a lot of learner drivers,” she said. The Herald’s David Fisher has a substantive write-up about what was said by leaders and representatives of political parties at Sunday’s pōwhiri. National Party leader Christopher Luxon said he “would hope” that all historic treaty settlements could be finalised by all iwi who want to by 2030. In an interview with the Herald this weekend (paywalled), treaty negotiations minister Andrew Little said the rush to settle claims as quickly as possible was over, with the Crown needing to earn back the trust of iwi and hapū. The forum set up after the pōwhiri to continue the conversation, which all politicians were invited to – and Ngāti Hine kaumātua Waihoroi Shortland said they were expected at “otherwise, next time, I will not feed you” – wasn’t attended by party leaders.
Same, same but different
Both Luxon and Hipkins made comments about health, education and the justice system at Sunday’s pōwhiri, all of which will be big election issues. Luxon said economic success for Māori was the same as for all New Zealanders and health, law and order, and education are issues for all New Zealanders. Hipkins framed it as “the future prosperity for Māori is prosperity for everyone”. As Newsroom’s Jo Moir writes, “While they almost sound the same, Luxon is coming from a position that if everyone is invested, then Māori are too, while Hipkins is pointing out that Māori are already so over represented in the negative statistics that the focus needs to lie there.” While politicking from politicians might have seemed less overt – the optics tuned to adhere to a celebration of unity – it’s still an election year.