My blog Brown Taken Down Again on 28 Feb alerted you to the provisions in the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan for ‘cultural values assessments” i.e. you can’t get a resource consent without sign-off from up to 31 iwi. Here are a couple of examples of what’s happening already, let alone what might happen in the future if this ill-conceived policy continues unabated.
This from yesterday's Herald.
A couple have been told to apply to 14 different iwi to keep the water running to their home.
The Tassells will meet Labour MP Shane Jones, who has been vocal in his disagreement with iwi approval rules.
He warned the new Auckland Council lacked safeguards.
"Maori heritage, while it's important, it must never be used as a basis for divisiveness - and I fear that's a consequence in this case," he said.
Iwi should not be allowed to intervene to "test whether there's a taniwha down a 10-year-old bore".
An Auckland Council spokeswoman admitted the new rules placed "additional burdens" on applicants, and said the council was working with iwi to streamline the process.
But the Tassels slammed the application process as "unworkable" for ordinary Aucklanders who would foot the bill for cultural assessments. If denied, they and the other families on the lane - will need to install rain water tanks costing thousands of dollars.
Auckland Council already has a policy of ‘capacity building’ for Maori. That sounds somewhat of an insult to me. That someone with some Maori heritage somehow needs more help doing things than the rest of the general populous. It also means ‘consulting’ some Maori whenever you want to do something. Let’s face it, New Zealand; ‘consulting’ has become a euphemism for handing over money.
The cost of consultation has become “how long is a piece of string”. The price tag seems little related to services provided and how is one to argue with a process that has no parameters.
During the time of the first Waiheke Local Board, the proposal to develop a Te Matuku track hit the ‘cultural values assessment’ block. The price started at $50000 and Council officers raced to comply. In their wisdom they recommended the Board just hand over your hard earned ratepayer’s dollars. The Board said – what do we get for our money? No good response. We said no. Board Chair Faye Storer then began some astute negotiations and knocked the price down to no more than a modest $5000 and only after the same project scoping as expected for any other discretionary expenditure.
Given that $50 billion of assets (yes that’s right, an eye watering amount isn’t it with lots more to come) have already been handed to Maori by Government over the past twenty years, you could be forgiven for wondering who exactly has received these benefits, when the statistics for Maori poverty, education and health are all steadily getting worse.