Apr 19, 2011

Not enough

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell is putting up a private members bill that would give iwi a veto on offshore oil exploration and development.

The Waiariki MP says the bill is a response to the Government’s lack of consultation with Te Whanau a Apanaui and Ngati Porou before it licensed Brazilian oil giant Petrobras to prospect in the Raukumara Basin of the East Cape.

I think Flavell realises he completely misread the depth of feeling surrounding this issue as well as the level of opposition coming from the environmental movement and Maori in general. His reputation in Waiariki is compromised as a result. Initially, Te Ururoa Flavell declined to support Te Whanau a Apanui despite continued pleas from the tribe. He finally, and possibly reluctantly, moved when the government dispatched the navy. He had no choice really, but he should have moved behind Te Whanau a Apanui sooner. Of course he expressed concern some time ago re the lack of consultation, but he refused to provide tangible political support beyond a single press release and maybe a murmur or two in the House. Enter stage left, Hone Harawira. Harawira, as he tends to do these days, stepped in to claim the ground the Maori Party had vacated. He attended the powhiri for the flotilla and made it pretty clear he stands in solidarity with Te Whanau a Apanui.

Although I agree with the purpose of the bill I cannot help but feel it is a sop. I think it is reasonable to assume the government will not support the bill and Te Ururoa is not so naïve as to believe otherwise. The Maori Party is part of government, albeit a small and expendable part, does it not follow that they can tap the minister on the shoulder and say “hey, we need to talk” and then sort it all out without recourse to private members bills.

The bill is too little too late. Te Ururoa will not regain the ground lost. The dogs are out too. Shane Jones has come out strongly with this clever press release and Turia has responded. But ultimately Te Whanau a Apanui will not buy any of the rhetoric or casual sops. Symbolism is, at the moment, not enough. Te Ururoa’s bill actually doesn’t remedy the situation. It is a response after the fact. It doesn’t put a stop to oil exploration either.  

I hoped to be proved wrong. I really do. The bill would be good. And credit where credit is due. Te Ururoa is doing the right thing. Not enough to save his reputation up the coast though.    


  1. To little too late Te Ururoa - who had supported the iwi leaders and their privatisation, and mining sell out plans. Aotearoa needs to take action on climate change, not sell minerals and oil to foreign corporations.

    The Greens and Hone, along with e Whanau a Apanui and others are standing up for Papatuanuku and tino rangatiratanga, not foreign corporate profit based on the exploitation of workers and Aotearoa.

  2. The Maori Party is with National and Act, who care only for private profit, while the rest of Aotearoa misses out. They either support the East Coast or support Gerry Brownlee and National. They made their choice, and it shows - time and time again.

  3. Another fail from the maori party. They sold out on envrionment, climate and seabed (let alone wages and privatisation) issues. Key is interested in talking to compromising corporate iwi leaders, and oil and mining companies:

    Following iwi opposition to oil exploration in the Raukumara basin by Petrobras, the Maori Party wants the Crown Minerals Act to be changed. It wants consultation with iwi made mandatory for any similar projects in the future.

    But the Prime Minister is against the idea, saying he doesn't believe it's necessary.

    More Crown lies:

    Meanwhile legal advice sought by the Government over anti-oil protests looks set to remain secret.

    The Government obtained advice last week from Crown Law which it says gives police jurisdiction to act against iwi and environmentalists fighting against exploration work being conducted by Petrobras off the East Coast.

    That advice hasn't been released and the Prime Minister says it's unlikely to be.

    "I doubt it in the sense that it's a long standing position of the Government not to release its legal opinions."

    There are also conflicting views on exactly which laws are being used by police against anti-oil protestors off the East Coast.

    Late last week police said it was the Maritime Transport Act that was being used, with safety warnings being issued to provide safety zones to oil company Petrobras' survey vessels.

    However that's at odds with what the Prime Minister said at his post-cabinet press conference. John Key indicated a different statute, the Continental Shelf Act, is being applied.

  4. This is typical from the Nats. Bullshit piled on top of more bullshit and seasoned with a bit more bullshit. Wouldn't it be great if the so called "Maori" Party called them on that bullshit.



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