Monday, 14 July 2014

Hey Colin Craig...try being a Maori.

Otaki’s independent candidate Phil Taueki is lambasting Conservative Leader Colin Craig for his party’s ill-informed propaganda about Maori issues.
Mr Taueki is challenging Mr Craig to explain how he would feel if the police set up a round-the-clock scene guard to prevent him entering his own building or decided it didn’t matter if people trespassed on his property.
Mr Taueki is currently banned from leaving his bail address due to the electronic bracelet he wears. He says his overly-restrictive bail conditions and eight weeks spent in prison on remand reveal the extreme measures used to silence an outspoken activist who wants nothing more than the same rights as every other New Zealand citizen.
Despite being a direct descendent of a Treaty signatory, he says his recent Supreme Court judgement shows that for Maori, title means nothing more than a name on a piece of paper.
He has been arrested so many times he has lost count, but since 2011 he has kept a tally of all fifteen consecutive charges that have been dismissed, withdrawn or quashed on appeal.
During January this year, he was arrested for parking his truck on his own land in a futile attempt to stop Horizons and NIWA launching unwashed boats on the privately-owned Lake Horowhenua. The obstruction charge was quietly dropped after referral to the IPCA.
Mr Taueki says John Key’s Government steadfastly refuses to reinstate full property rights to the Mua-Upoko owners of the Lake Horowhenua bed and land around it.
Without the approval of the owners, Parliament passed legislation in 1905 giving the public the ‘right’ to use this lake free of charge and placing control of it in the hands of a Domain Board.
Within a year, politicians were already asking when this law would be repealed.
Mr Taueki says that Mua-Upoko has held a certificate of title to this property since 1899, and to make matters worse, an Appellate Court had classified this customary land to be ‘inalienable’.
He suspects that this ‘inalienable’ status is the reason Parliament placed control of the property in the hands of a Government-appointed Domain Board.  He says the existence of the Domain Board excludes owners from any  negotiations or compensation whenever a club wants to erect buildings on Maori Freehold Land or hold public events on land that the Crown neither owns nor leases.
Under the control of a Domain Board, this once pristine lake has become so toxic that a mouthful of water can be lethal enough to kill a child.
Mr Taueki says it is an insult to the owners to see the Government dish out money to subsidise the very people who were responsible for the state of the lake in the first place. Once again, the concerns of the owners have been ignored to such an extent that they have been forced to take the Horowhenua District Council to the High Court to divert Levin’s stormwater from the lake.
He wants to know how any other property owner would feel knowing that the only way they can stop their local council polluting their property is to dredge up the funds to take them to court, while this same council gets a hand-out from Central Government.
Mr Taueki says that it is time Mr Craig descended from his lofty tower to discover that colonial arrogance  and racial prejudice still prevails in this country.
Mr Taueki was in court last week defending charges that the police laid after he had  tried to stop rowers trespassing on land that is culturally sensitive. While he was held in custody overnight, his unlocked car was trashed beyond repair and his camera with evidential photographs went missing. 
As a self-litigant, Mr Taueki summonsed Police Area Commander Patrick Handcock as a witness for the defence, because the police refuse to prosecute rowers who have admitted assaulting Mr Taueki on this same site. Mr Handcock had written to Mr Taueki stating that “whether a trespass occurred or not is immaterial”.
Mr Taueki had told the court that this site is waahi tapu, as it is the place his ancestors ferried their dead. Directly off-shore is the artificial island where members of his tribe were stockaded, waiting to be killed and fed as fresh meat for Ngati Toa, led by Te Rauparaha in his quest to exterminate Mua-Upoko.
As for the Treaty, Mr Taueki says it remains a binding contract whether Mr Craig wants to accept it or not.
Mr Taueki says that one of the reasons he has chosen to once again contest the Otaki seat, is that he wants to once again come up against the Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
Mua-Upoko has a claim over 76 acres of land unlawfully gifted by Major Kemp to a private railway company chaired by Mr Guy’s great grandfather. Trains were already running on tracks laid at a time when the law prohibited the disposal of any land within this Horowhenua Block.
“It might be only a small sliver of land, but its strategic value as a portion of the main truck line is immeasurable.”
 He has a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry to back up his claim of disgraceful and fraudulent dealings in the past, and has told the Waitangi Tribunal in no uncertain terms that history is repeating itself because the politicians are once again dealing with people who are masquerading as Mua-Upoko, rather than the legitimate claimants.
He says there is good reason this Government is desperate to keep him out of circulation during this crucial period of Treaty settlement negotiations, but that will not deter him in the slightest.
“I am inspired by a comment made by Nelson Mandela that he had no doubt posterity would pronounce him innocent. It is unfortunate that somebody has to be prepared to go to jail before people realise there is a longstanding injustice that needs to be addressed.”
Authorised by Anne Hunt, 17 Nash Parade, Foxton Beach.

Anne Hunt is a past journalist and author and past District Councillor.  

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