Hone Harawira: None of this is Ngapuhi's fault

Hone Harawira. Photo / File
Hone Harawira. Photo / File

Mana leader Hone Harawira is "getting hoha" (annoyed) with people blaming Ngapuhi for not settling their Treaty claim and using it to fix the North's economic and social deprivation.

"Stop blaming Ngapuhi," he said.

"It was Labour's decision to sell off state assets and privatise government services, and National's determination to continue down that track that caused the economic devastation in the North.

"And it is the ongoing damage caused by those economic decisions that has led directly to the high levels of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, crime and suicide that have become the norm in many communities in Tai Tokerau.

"And what's the rush to sign up to a settlement which is less than three per cent of the value of the claim? Is there a Ngapuhi anywhere who thinks we should be settling for three cents in the dollar? If government wants to seriously address the issues, then up the settlement figure. And let's be polite, let's start with 50 per cent."

Mr Harawira noted the Waitangi Tribunal's finding that Ngapuhi had never ceded sovereignty.

"That's a massive statement, which actually lifts the Ngapuhi claim to a whole different level, but Treaty Minister Chris Finlayson never mentions it, and strangely enough neither does Kelvin Davis.

"All they do is blame Ngapuhi for not getting their act together," he said.

He had a few positive suggestions, such as:

* Creating a Ngapuhi Settlement Trust and appoint Raniera (Sonny) Tau (Tuhoronuku), Pita Tipene (Kotahitanga) and Kelvin Davis to it, along with some wahine "from home" to give it credibility, focus and accountability, and then get the government to invest $20 million so it can start building the capability of Ngapuhi hapu and iwi.

* Get the government to commit $50 million to regional development in Northland, with representatives from the Trust and the Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara district councils. ("Remember," he said, "the economic devastation is almost exclusively the fault of the Crown, not Ngapuhi.")

* Get the government to commit another $50 million to social development in Northland, with representatives from the Trust and Ministry of Social Development, and threaten to throw them in jail if they don't get quick results.

"The government bailed out a Pakeha finance company to the tune of $1.2 billion. They can easily spend 10 per cent of that to give the country's biggest iwi a kick start," he concluded.

- Northland Age

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