Andrew Dickens: Ihumātao another example of Govt sitting on the fence

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 28 August 2019, 4:07PM
Protesters march to Jacinda Ardern's electorate office. (Photo / ZB)

What exactly is happening at Ihumātao? 

Rumours that Tainui will buy out Fletcher’s have been swirling since last week.  Now there’s talk the government may provide some sort of loan to Tainui to buy Fletcher’s out of the mess they find themselves in.

Whatever the truth is we’ll find out soon enough, but the question keeps being asked as to why this is the Government’s concern at all, seeing as it’s a private land deal between manu whenua and Fletcher’s and the Wallace family.

What people don’t seem to be considering is Labour’s complex history with Maori which stems back 15 years ago to the Foreshore and Seabed fiasco.  When Labour as the Crown tried to annex the foreshore they peeved Maori off mightily.  Enough for the Maori Party to be formed, which then won electorate seats,  which then in a final act of utu formed a coalition government with National.

When the Maori Party imploded at the last election, Labour re-inherited all the Maori seats, which were crucial in forming a government and denying National the Treasury benches.

Labour has some making up to do with Maori and a need to prove good faith. Come down hard on the protesters and they may just have another foreshore moment which could reignite the Maori Party and threaten Labour seats.

Now imagine this.  A loan to Tainui to solve this land claim would show Maori that Labour is back on their side. But because Tainui would buy the land then the government is not technically setting a precedent that could upset 45 years of Treaty settlement dialogue.

It’s all a bit tricky dicky to me.  It’s all a bit ‘sit on the fence’ which is this government all over.

Let Tainui buy it if they want.  They’ve got the money.  They could borrow the money privately from banks at a very low interest rate.

But if the Government loans them money then they’re virtue signalling to Maori and to me they’re still threatening 45 years of hard work by good people from the Crown and Maori for the sake of a few brownie points.

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