From Waatea News:
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.