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David Round

David Round is a sixth generation South Islander who teaches law at the University of Canterbury. He is the author of Truth or Treaty? Commonsense Questions about the Treaty of Waitangi (Canterbury University Press, 1998) and a contributor to Twisting the Treaty, A Tribal Grab for Wealth and Power (Tross Publishing, 2013). He is currently the chair of the Independent Constitutional Review Panel.


Now in fact Maori have a shared role in sovereignty now. Do not be alarmed; we all have a shared role in sovereignty now. Although the arrangement is one with very respectable historical and philosophical antecedents, it is evidently one with which this tribal chieftain and ‘king’ is unfamiliar. It certainly seems not to be to his taste. The arrangement is called ‘voting’. The basic idea is that every adult, of whatever race, sex, or religion, is considered to be equal before the law and entitled to an equal say in determining who shall guide the nations’s affairs. Sovereignty is ultimately vested in the people, and the people share that sovereignty and exercise it by voting for representatives to make laws and govern them. The political system is then described ~ with more or less accuracy, depending on the details of your particular country and your point of view ~ as ‘democratic’.

But this is not Tuheitia’s desire. He desires a formally-defined ‘share’ for Maori in New Zealand’s sovereignty. He is obviously dissatisfied with the present share, which is the share that ‘Maori’ are entitled to as a proportion of the population. Although he did not say so, it is very difficult to believe that he would be happy with any share of less than 50%. 50% representation for about 15% of the population.

So ~ so much for democracy. ‘Shared’ sovereignty ~ you and I will continue to pay our taxes and otherwise obey the laws; but we will have far less say in how those laws are made and how those taxes are spent. We will not be completely powerless, not instantly, anyway; but if ‘Maori’, by one constitutional device or another, have a 50% share in decision-making, then we will have less representation than we are entitled to in decision-making, and they will have more, and what will be the inevitable result? Three guesses are unnecessary. At present we abide by the ancient principle of ‘no taxation without representation’. We have always thought that to mean ‘no taxation without equal representation’. Tuheitia wants it merely to mean, in our case, that there should be ‘no taxation without some representation’. That is completely unacceptable....

Read David Round’s full NZCPR guest commentary here > http://www.nzcpr.com/two-nations/#more-19726

Prosecuting Sonny Tau

I am pleased to hear that the Department of Conservation is prosecuting Sonny Tau, big man in Northland’s Nga Puhi, for the possession and indeed, so I understand, for the killing of five native wood pigeon or kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae). A Departmental officer at Invercargill International Airport is said to have found the five dead pigeons in Tau’s possession as he was about to board a flight. To hunt, kill or have in ones possession absolutely protected wildlife such as the pigeon is a serious offence under the Wildlife Act 1953; the penalty is a fine of up to $100,000 or two years imprisonment.

I must admit that for a while I was worried that the Department was not going to prosecute. I am afraid that from time to time the Department does show itself to be a little ~ over-delicate? pusillanimous? downright cowardly? ~ in its approach to Treaty issues. An old friend, indeed, was so worried that he laid a complaint himself at his local police station ~ where the girls in blue were not at all helpful, and rather surprisingly seemed to take a very dim view of citizens reporting criminal behaviour, at least where Treaty issues were involved. He thought I should also lay a complaint, and I was resolved to do so after my return from a few days down south. I even thought about urging all of you, gentle readers, to follow suit! But now I am back, there appears to be no need....

Continue reading David Rounds great NZCPR guest commentary HERE

The Enemy of Nationhood

Tribalism is the enemy of nationhood. The flying of a Maori sovereignty flag on our national day may be looked upon as a meaningless gesture by those for whom nothing is sacred, and who see our own flag only as a meaningless bit of cloth. They ‘know the price of everything and the value of nothing’. But Maori sovereignty enthusiasts do not see it as an empty gesture, and neither should anyone else. It is an insult to those who serve and love our nation’s flag, for no other flag can be as good, and Maori sovereignty and division is the enemy of the one new Zealand nation of our very own flag. There may be arguments as to what ‘exactly’ Maori sovereignty means. One radical will claim it is one thing, another another. But this at least is perfectly clear ~ that it means that those who fly it do not want to be part of the same nation the rest of us are in. They will continue to want the funding of course. But for the rest, they consider those outside the tribe to be ~ what were Hone Harawira’s words again? ~ just people to be used, exploited and at the same time hated. We have to be grateful to Hone ~ which is more than he is to us, of course, for the manifold blessings of European civilisation ~ in that at least he reminds us of what we are up against. He is the true voice of the Maori party. No other voice is possible.

Dr Brash was absolutely right when he made his wonderful Orewa speech, and Phil Goff was absolutely right when he recently similarly warned of the dangers of racial division. It is a depressing indication of the madness now an unquestioned part of our national life that those calling for racial equality and respect for the rights of all, including the foreshore and seabed as our common heritage, are automatically condemned as racist. New Zealand is indeed a deeply racist country. But the racism lies in a race-based political party, racially-selected Parliamentary seats and members, a special racial electoral roll, race based sports teams, schools and units within schools, television stations, government departments, trusts and financial assistance galore, legal recognition of racial privilege, treaty indoctrination on every conceivable occasion. Universities now have special Maori graduations. No public ceremony in our secular country is complete without Maori elders and karakia. Every new appointee in the public service is welcomed with a powhiri…..None of this is diminishing. It is growing. We are not working towards becoming one nation. We are walking in completely the opposite direction.

And not only is this racial distinction growing, it is absolutely clearly not working in its alleged aim of producing a happier tomorrow and relieving poverty and distress. A small tribal elite benefits. But how many of the benefits trickle down to the increasingly desperate alienated Maori underclass? They are vastly over-represented in all the wrong statistics ~ poverty, crime, prison population, truancy and illiteracy, unemployment, alcoholism and drug dependency, domestic violence and child abuse. If New Zealand were to extract the Maori (and, to a lesser extent, Pacific Islander) figures for these social ills from our statistics, we would appear as one of the happiest and best countries in the world. But instead, we are marred by this sad and growing underclass. The social welfare system subsidises its breeding, and so we are willingly creating the most dreadful social problem for the future. No government seems interested in stopping this vicious circle. Maori in Australia , where many of energy and enterprise have gone to live, are just as prosperous as anyone else. But here so many are mired in a system that seems designed to trap them in hopelessness. Liberals love to talk about this racism, as revealing our own wickedness and selfishness, while ignoring the racism of Maori privilege. What we must realise is that these two racisms are the two sides of the same coin.

Read David's full blog HERE

Questions of Water Rights and Ownership

And so the question immediately arises ~ if Maori were to be given any allocation of water, where would it come from?

Would there be a confiscation or compulsory purchase of existing water permits? (Unlikely, surely.)

Or would water charges be imposed, with a proportion of the charges being siphoned off to Maori? (Ah! Rather likelier ~ the effect of many Treaty settlements, after all, is to establish a new parasitic rentier/landlord class, clipping the ticket on other people’s labours.)

Or would there be some sort of preference given to Maori when water permits were renewed and new ones granted? (Which water permits could then be on-sold, with ticket-clipping again occurring. Or perhaps not; perhaps all our water might end up in the hands of a surly racial minority.)....

Read David Round's indepth analysis of the water rights affair HERE 

The Insidious Creep to Maori Sovereignty

How did it come about that we are now even prepared to consider such preposterous possibilities? It did not happen overnight, but one step at a time. Ask for one thing ~ the righting of historical injustice, real or alleged, even if previously settled ~ then, if you succeed with that, ask for something more ~ and then more ~ and eventually we find ourselves in the situation we are now in, where already our government flies the Maori sovereignty flag, recognises special rights in indigenous peoples declared in a United Nations charter, and where, in the words of the Otago Daily Times speaking of foreshore and seabed, it ‘seems a new class of property owner is to be created with superior rights, as well as unlimited opportunities for the courts to create precedent exclusive to one ethnicity. ‘One law for all’ has thus been abandoned on the cusp of indigeneity.’

And now Maori want sovereignty as well. As no more than the absolutely logical and inevitable next step, the key to our entire country, everything your ancestors and mine and we ourselves have laboured to create over a century and a half is at least on the table and liable to be given away by our enlightened governors. It is the old story of the frog sitting in the pot of gradually warming water, not noticing the heat and eventually being boiled to death. It is Hitler making one last, and then another last, and then another absolutely last territorial claim in Europe. The first claims may be reasonable, the last are anything but. And all our leaders do is wave pieces of paper and promise us peace in our time.....

Read the full interesting blog HERE

The Conservation Estate Belongs to Us All – not just Maori

There is no doubt that by the time of European settlement Maori had acquired a considerable degree of harmony with the natural world which is often held up to us as an example to be imitated. These environmental practices did not arise, however, out of any inherent racial superiority. There is abundant evidence that before European settlement Maori were responsible for the destruction of somewhere between a third and a half of New Zealand’s original forest cover. Considerably more bird species ~ somewhere about thirty, perhaps even more ~ became extinct in Maori times, compared with a dozen or so in European times, and some of the European extinctions ~ of the huia, for example ~ were made much easier because the birds’ range had been enormously reduced by pre-European Maori hunting. The reason that early European sealers killed seals only in the enormous colonies of the remote south was not because those places were the seals’ only natural habitat, but because Maori had hunted them to extinction everywhere else. Some archaeologists believe that Maori fishing for snapper was at unsustainable levels. If you wish to read more on this subject you could dip into Kerry-Jayne Wilson’s The Flight of the Huia, Barney Brewster’s Te Moa, Jared Diamond’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee (especially the chapter The Golden Age That Never Was) or Dr Tim Flannery’s The Future Eaters. Dr Flannery, indeed, suggests that by the time of European discovery of New Zealand a resource crisis was in full swing, and had it not been for the arrival of European food ~ pork and potatoes especially ~ there would have soon been a catastrophic collapse of the Maori population. It was that crisis which had caused the peaceful Maori of earlier centuries to develop a far more warlike culture. (This point we might well ponder as we approach a resource crisis of our own. But I digress.)

Maori environmental practices, then, were not the result of any inherent superiority, but were forced upon Maori by their circumstances. I do not say this to blacken the reputation of Maori. Europeans have not been any better. It is unedifying and ultimately pointless, these arguments as to whose ancestors were worse. Maori and European pioneers were all men and women of their own time, all strangers in a strange land, inevitably making mistakes as they slowly learnt of the nature and limitations of its resources....

Read the full enlightening blog HERE