Kia ora koutou,
Comments by the Maori King, Kingi Tuheitia, that he favoured a strong relationship between the Maori Party and the MANA Movement as the representative voice for Maori in the political world, were welcomed by MANA leader Hone Harawira.
“The principle of kotahitanga, of unity, is a core element of MANA’s very existence” said Harawira. “It’s a principle I addressed in my first interview as a MANA MP, it’s a principle I have adhered to in all public comments about working with the Maori Party, and it’s the reason why I was comfortable meeting with the Maori Party President last month to talk about possible arrangements running up to Election 2017”
“How that rolls out over the next few months is a matter to be addressed by the presidents of both MANA and Maori, but I look forward to seeing what they come up with”
“I also commend the King for his call to Maori leaders to play “a large part” in resolving issues such as drug abuse, crime, the high prison population, reintegration, poor health, homelessness, poverty and unemployment, and in leading the charge for the preservation of our language and culture.”
“But building a decent society based on the Treaty of Waitangi and ensuring a “Maori share in New Zealand’s sovereignty by 2025” also means stopping the current government’s agenda of allowing the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor and the dispossessed, and selling off the nation’s assets before we even get a sniff of that sovereignty” said Harawira
“Interesting times ahead” said Harawira. “On a more personal note, it’s good to see Tuheitia speaking at the Koroneihana. I know he’s not been too well lately, and I wish him all the best with the challenges he faces.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is being negotiated in secret by 16 countries and a leaked copy of its investment chapter includes proposals to allow foreign investors to sue governments at an international tribunal.
These investor suits can be for unlimited cash damages and compound interest. If the proposals are accepted, this investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) would allow foreign investors to sue RCEP governments if they regulate in ways that disadvantages the foreign investor, eg by reducing its profits, including by introducing new laws/policies or changing their laws/policies, even if it is for public interest reasons.
Past ISDS cases have successfully challenged health, environmental, tax, financial regulation and many other laws and a losing government in one case had to pay an investor as much as US$40billion. This is difficult enough for any government to afford, but RCEP includes three least developed countries: Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar who would find it particularly burdensome to pay foreign investors this much.
There are 696 known ISDS cases against 107 countries and the number filed each year has been rapidly increasing (the most ever were filed in 2015). These cases which broadly interpret investors’ rights and restrict governments’ ability to regulate have caused many developed and developing country governments to rethink their support for these investment protection provisions (including ISDS) in bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and free trade agreement (FTA) investment chapters. For example in RCEP countries alone:
- India and Indonesia are withdrawing from their BITs,
- Singapore’s Attorney General and the Chief Justice of Australia’s highest court have expressed concerns about ISDS and
- The New Zealand Chief Justice noted that human rights based determinations of domestic courts may give rise to ISDS claims.
In countries outside RCEP there is also opposition to ISDS including:
- Other countries such as South Africa and Ecuador are withdrawing from their BITs,
- Germany’s Economic Minister opposes ISDS in Europe’s FTA negotiations with the USA,
- the Dutch, French and Austrian Parliaments oppose ISDS in their FTA negotiations with Canada and the USA and
- All US state-level parliaments oppose ISDS in any treaty.
Various United Nations (UN) human rights bodies have also stated their serious concerns about ISDS including 10 UN Special Rapporteurs/Independent Experts on human rights who said that the ISDS cases demonstrate ‘that the regulatory function of many States and their ability to legislate in the public interest have been put at risk’ and governments have been chilled from regulating. They recommended that in negotiations of FTAs like RCEP, the negotiating texts are published and the negotiations are conducted transparently with the participation of stakeholders including civil society.
RCEP Trade Ministers will meet in Laos on 5 August 2016 to try and resolve some of the issues that are stuck in the negotiations. Given this, the xxx RCEP civil society organisations listed below strongly urge RCEP countries to reject ISDS in the agreement.
Note: The RCEP countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand
The seven Māori electorates had the highest rejection for flag change in the country. The most resistant electorate was Te Tai Tokerau voting 78.5% against flag change. Even former MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira made an appeal to the electorate for change. His anti colonial argument for change made sense and I changed my vote based on his argument. It doesn’t make sense why Māori voters would support the Union Jack considering Hone Heke chopped the colonial “Butchers Apron” down. Several Tai Tokerau voters felt the alternative flag was such an unattractive option, might as well stick with the old one.
Many Māori voters are disgruntled with the National Government and for good reason the discrimination against Māori is at an all time high during the flag debate. In fact the National bias media discriminated against Māori and the Prime Minister condoned that discrimination. John Key represents Farmers and urban home owners on over valued real estate. Unfortunately in this referendum he needed to bring all New Zealanders together including Māori.
The Kiwimeter survey by state broadcaster Television New Zealand. In the survey the question was asked “Māori should not receive any special treatment.“. This question had an ulterior motive to condemn Treaty settlements where billions of dollars of confiscated real estate is offering minimal compensation of a few million dollars less than 2% of its current value . What if the Kiwimeter survey asked this racist question “Pakeha should not receive any special treatment.” the Prime Minister would have fired the CEO of TVNZ immediately. Although that question has more merit considering the generational wealth inherited by the descendants of British colonists on the backs of Māori land confiscations.
The Prime Minister made this statement in regards to the Treaty of Waitangi “It was the foundation stone of where we were equal and treated equally“. John Key the Prime Minister is out of touch with history of his own country with this colonial rhetoric. The Treaty of Waitangi was designed to protect indigenous rights from colonial land thefts. More importantly Ngapuhi only signed the Māori version of the Treaty and never ceded sovereignty.
There is a fear amongst some Māori that New Zealand Aotearoa becoming a Republic puts degree of separation Treaty settlements will not be settled fairly and land not returned to its rightful owners. Before we start the New Zealand Republic debate we need to start the colonial land theft debate.
On Waitangi weekend PM’s loyal propagandists Mike Hosking and Paul Henry slagged off Māori considerably in demanding the PM abandon Ti Tii Marae . How do you welcome someone on your marae, who signed the TPPA compact with foreign countries, undermined the the mana of the Treaty and the sovereignty of Aotearoa , the day before the annual commemoration of the "Treaty partnership?" In exceptional circumstances, like rape, murder and theft when tikanga protocols do not apply to the manuhiri.
The Kyle Lockwood flag was given an entire week on the Harbour bridge although it represented no Nation. The Tino Rangatiratanga Flag was only permitted 24 hours on the Harbour bridge yet it represents the Māori nation. Why should Māori voters take the Kyle Lockwood flag seriously when the Tino Rangatiratanga Flag is consistently condemned by critics as being separatist.
Some may ask why wasn’t the Tino Rangatiratanga Flag in contention as our National Flag? "The Tino flag has its own mana, identity and national recognition amongst many Māori. Papatuanuku (red), Ranginui (black) and the koru of Te Ao Marama (white) remind us of our responsibilities to our taiao and simple enduring values from our past to guide our rangatahi and future mokopuna. The Tino flag is not owned by the state , it is a taonga Māori and is not to be vetted by others who mock Māori sovereignty. Māori are comfortable with the tino flag- which is a modest statement of Māori identity and is not separatist nor a critiicism of anyone else . Aotearoa is not ready for Tino, for Māori landlords, it's not even ready to replace the union jack. "
The Feed the Kids bill was shut down by the National government yet they managed to find $26 million for a re-branding exercise. There is a housing crisis throughout the country. In the eyes of many struggling families this was a government with their priorities wrong.
The argument was made that voters rejected the flag based on a dislike of John Key.. The counter argument is John Key didn’t establish an unbiased atmosphere of nation building but a political spin doctor driven campaign recruiting celebrities as a propaganda tool to sway the argument. Key was highly critical of loyal National supporters e.g the RSA and for the first time National supporters were exposed to the propaganda and spin progressive’s complain about.
Until the National Government can make genuine efforts to suppress racial discrimination against Māori voters in society it can expect no cooperation or goodwill from Māori voters. The Prime Minister was taught a hard lesson for any future referendum if you don’t have Māori support you will lose the initiative.
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