Hapu Reject Flawed Waitangi Tribunal Voting Process for Whakatohea
Ngai Tamahaua Hapu Chair Peter T Selwyn says:
"We oppose the voting process recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal in their report into the Whakatohea/Pre-Settlement Claims Trust mandate (April 2018) and which is proposed to commence today (1st October 2018) and run to 26 October 2018. The proposed questions, voting process and the arrangements made to date have no credibility and none of it has been consented to by the Hapu. We have asked the Tribunal to withdraw the Hapu from the voting process immediately."
"Ministers were sent a letter on 21 September advising them to end their support of the WPSCT and the voting process."
[extract of letter] The Hapu have long demanded the Tribunal grant us a full district inquiry into the historic breaches of Te Tiriti by the Crown and that is what we view is required to be given to us as of right pursuant to the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. The Hapu have stated that negotiation with your government on a comprehensive Treaty settlement can only occur after completion of this inquiry. [...]
The Hapu must reiterate that the WMTB [Whakatohea Maori Trust Board] has no right and no permission to use the Ngai Tamahaua Hapu section of the roll for this proposed voting process and the Hapu reserves the right to take the measures that may be necessary to ensure this does not occur. The Hapu has exceeded the withdrawal petition threshhold set in the mandate documents recognised by your government and this must be satisfactory evidence of your own standard that the Hapu must be recognised as having no part in this framework. [extract ends]
Mr Selwyn says: "Our Wai claimants sent a memorandum to the Tribunal on 26 September insisting on the withdrawal of our Hapu from the flawed voting process."
[extract of memorandum] The effect of the voting recommendation and the way in which it has been organised under the authority of Tribunal directions is oppressive and insulting to the claimants and simply gives the WPSCT and the New Zealand Government an undeserved and blanket opportunity to repeat the same type of flawed process as that which the panel has roundly criticised in their report.
The undue haste of the voting process timetable combined with a refusal by Ministers to fund claimant costs are an insurmountable prejudice to claimants. This process should it be carried out will without any doubt result in the same type of disputed outcome as before and would be exposed to the same type of self-serving interpretation from the New Zealand Government as before. [extract ends]
A complaint to the Privacy Commissioner was lodged by Hapu Deputy Chair Tim Herewini on 27 September 2018 outlining the WMTB roll privacy breach and the WMTB, WPSCT and Electionz.com are being considered for investigation (however the Tribunal is exempt from investigation under the Privacy Act 1993).
Mr Herewini says: "There are many reasons why the vote is not going to be free or fair: the voting scheme of three yes/no questions and their order are confusing, the WPSCT are in effect running the vote, the voting packs are festooned with WPSCT imagery, the WMTB roll is both unauthorised and unverified, the information hui are starting after the vote not before, the opposing claimants and Hapu have had no time to prepare and no funding to match the WPSCT, and the relationships and interactions between the WPSCT, Office of Treaty Settlements, the Tribunal's appointed "Facilitator" and the election company are not transparent."
"The government are attempting to strong-arm our Hapu and the Iwi into accepting a contemptuously low-ball settlement offer. Pare Hauraki (with the same population figure, but losing relatively less in 19th century confiscation) have a $250m redress offer compared to the $100m offered to Whakatohea. Hapu representatives at the Tribunal inquiry stated they wanted the land returned as a priority and said it was prudent to wait until a full Tribunal inquiry was held before starting comprehensive negotiations."
The recently completed Ministerial inquiry into the WMTB by Mr Michael Heron QC (dated 13 September 2018) was critical of many aspects of governance and their 2017 elections and the Minister for Maori Development has ordered them to report to her by 14 December 2018 on the progress in implementing Mr Heron's recommendations. Mr Heron found that the Trust Board's handling of their electoral roll was poor in many respects and that it had clearly not been authorised for use by the Board as required (Maori Trust Boards Regulations 1985 8(2)(a)).