1995-1996 Maori L. Rev. 1 (1995-1996)

handle is hein.journals/maori1995 and id is 1 raw text is: The Maori Law Review
A monthly review of law affecting Maori

February
1995

Editor:
Tom Bennion
PO Box 11310
Wellington
New Zealand
Phone/fax (04) 475 3681
email bennion@actix.gen.nz
Publisher:
Esoteric Publications
PO Box 11310
Wellington
New Zealand
Phone/fax (04) 499 6376
North American -Sales:
Gaunt Publishers
3011 Gulf Drive. Holmes Beach
Florida 34217-2199, U:A
Phone (813) 778 5211
Fax (813) 778 5252
 Copyright Tom Bennion 1995

NOT JUST ONE TREE HILL
It is becoming abundantly clear that the proposals released in December 1994
have stirred a suppressed impatience among Maori about progress with claim
settlements and that the fiscal cap aspect of the proposals will be generally
rejected. The Government was given ample warning that this would be the
case. In the Parliamentary debate following the announcement of the propos-
als, all non-Government speakers complimented the Government on its at-
tempt to grapple with these issues, but warned that setting a fiscal limit would
bring trouble. Helen Clarke said: Sometimes the Government may be in a
position in which it can attribute Maori opposition to, perhaps, a small group
of activists or radicals. This is not one of those times. The reservation about
this concept stretches across Maoridom .... The whole concept of settling is in
danger of becoming totally discredited because of the attempt to confine it to
a set sum of money and to imply that timetables are involved. If we discredit
the concept of settling in a fair and just way, then I fear that it will not be just
one tree on One Tree Hill that suffers, but rather the state of affairs in our
country generally. (NZPD 8 December 1994)
There are other concerns arising from the present debate. One is the nature of
advice from the Treasury. If, as has been repotted, Treasury advised that the
settlement fund idea would reduce many claimants inflated expectations,
one wonders how thoughtfully and thoroughly these issues were investigated.
This phrase is more reminiscent of letters to the editor than carefully consid-
ered policy advice on a matter of constitutional importance. In policy docu-
ments produced in 1987, Treasury admitted it would be surprising if any
settlement that might realistically be expected would extinguish all sense of
grievance. What may be hoped for is that the level of settlements be a suffi-
cient indicator of the sincerity and good intentions of the Government to
satisfy most Maori and non-Maori opinion that justice had been done in a
reasonable way (Government Management. Brief to the Incoming Government vol
1 p331). Is that central concern for justice evident in its advice today?
Another concern is the pressure the consultation process is placing on Maori
bureaucrats. As Wira Gardiner, Chief Executive of Te Puni Kokiri, has put it,
these officials are often prominent members of their tribes, and are having to
carry a message which their tribes by and large are rejecting (Wanganui Chroni-
cle 20 February 1995). The cost of doggedly continuing to promote the fiscal
cap might be the loss of talented Maori policy advisors for the future.

ISSN 1172-8434

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