Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Maori Economy 2017: Not my economy...

Anand Menon was in Newcastle speaking before the Brexit referendum. 'Invoking the gods of economics', Professor Menon argued the UK’s GDP was likely to plunge if Britain left the EU. A Geordie woman yelled out: “That’s your bloody GDP. Not ours.”'

Out of the mouths of hecklers, ay.

And therein lies the rub.
So what Maori economy?

Recall its inception by BERL (at the behest of the Minister of Maori Development). The initial model toted it up as:

• Trusts and incorporations of $4.0 billion
• Other Maori entities of $6.7 billion
• Businesses of self-employed Maori of $5.4 billion
• Businesses of Maori employers of $20.8 billion

I'd suggest few Maori are actually 'beneficiaries' (a loaded term) of this economy, and many who are, aren't picking up much of a cheque.

Fast-forward to 2017. Yes an election year, so expect lots of soundbites (including a rich white man calling a not-so-rich Maori man an Uncle Tom). The key comment for me came from the new Prime Minister, Bill English:

"[W]e have reached the limits of what government can do."

This is contrary to what Professor Jonathon Boston stated on Radio NZ (interview link here). Boston discusses evidence on the growth of poverty and the loss of opportunity for many New Zealanders through explicit government policies (from the left and the right although the mainstream left in NZ are hardly supportive of labour)

So if the government won't do more (I actually think they will, simply to maintain appearances), where are the resources to come from? I think it's quite clear that the expectation of government and many Maori leaders (iwi and business), is that Maori are to be supported by this Maori economy.

One might expect Maori to start heckling speakers such as Bill English. But not just Wee Will Pom (let's not forget his double-dipping over Parliamentary accommodation monies). Maori leaders should also be heckled over their economic naivety (ok, tikanga may prevent or at least censure traditional European heckling. And as an academic i must abide my many ancient rules that frame debates).

This Maori Economy is not the economy of many Maori at all, at all...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Expertsure link...

A while ago (sheez, 7 years!) I posted on Indigenous Peoples and Mining, specifically in response to Schedule 4 land in Aotearoa.

One of the links, to Bolivian lithium reserves, went to a site that has recently shifted domains. So, in the interests maintaining the information exchange, the new site can be viewed at...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Data ethics: The Signal Code

Hot of the press, The Signal Code articulates five human rights to information during crisis:

1. The Right to Information
2. The Right to Protection from Harm
3. The Right to Data Security and Privacy
4. The Right to Data Agency
5. The Right to Redress and Rectification

I was lucky enough to be one of the reviewers of this important publication and feel privileged to have met some of the instigators.

In this digitally connected world where data is generated by setting your alarm clock and sending some 'xxx' to your children, the need for a transparent ethical approach to data management in a humanitarian crisis might seem too messy.

What is argued here is that framing all our work in this space with a 'rights based approach' ensures an ethical commitment from the outset.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Te Arawa seeks place in Hauraki settlement

Iwi and hapu have interests in land that may now reside within another iwi's territory: we're quilted.

Te Arawa has a long-standing arrangements around the burial place of Tama Te Kapua, captain of Te Arawa waka, on Moehau, Coromandel Peninsula.

Under the proposed Pare Hauraki Treaty settlement, the maunga will be vested in Hauraki.

Kaumatua Toby Curtis hopes iwi can settle this without resorting to lawyers. The particular wahi tapu comes under a 439 Trust that has a Te Arawa representative.

Te Arawa seeks place in Hauraki settlement (Waatea News)

The full name of the maunga tells this history: Te Moengahau-o-Tamatekapua (the windy sleeping place of Tamatekapua).

Sunday, January 08, 2017

The Second Eejit thesis: Dickheads, Race Hustlers, PR Queens...

The recent Aotearoa NZ racism spat has been dismissed by some as a non-event, a rush of outrage to fill the Xmas holidays slow-news days. The facts are not in dispute: Wealthy Pakeha sports fan and philanthropist Sir Peter Leitch made a throwaway comment to Lara Wharepapa Bridger that Waiheke Island was 'white man's island' . Even the Race Relations Conciliator Dame Susan Devoy (we throw gongs around here for sportsie peeps) called this 'casual racism' and she's hardly renowned by Maori for being a bastion of support.

Sir Peter quickly backtracked, not least because his accuser went to Facebook with a tearful video she removed after many thousands of hits.

While many people want to brush this aside, it is always the response to accusations of racism that is important, The Second Eejit Thesis.

So the Second Eejit in this case was the redoubtable Ms Michelle Boag, National Party stalwart and PR Queen, who Sir Peter enlisted to go on point and who promptly fucked up by saying Ms Bridger was only 'coffee coloured', implying she didn't really have much claim to being Maori, and she just wanted to get famous.

Comments by Auckland City Councillor Dick Quax that Ms Bridger is a 'race hustler' are also offensive, like calling a rape victim a slut. At this point I repeat the old joke: How do you win a silver medal in the Olympics? Sit in a bucket of cold water until your dick quacks... Dick Quax just gets a bronze this time.

The best comments I found on this tawdry episode come from Leilani Tamu who calls Pete Leitch what he is: a patron. While PL may not be racist - and our country's Race Relations 'expert' considers him the 'least racist person' she's ever met, he certainly leverages his support from people he has financially supported.

Patronage. The money's great but the hours suck.

MMA Fighter Mark Hunter on Pete Leitch

White Owl on a Highway

Moving to Saskatoon very soon, I've decided to start a new blog 'White Owl on Highway 11' about personal and professional experiences in a new land, background research for which has already started...

Image result for Saskatoon highway

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

That was that... Maori unemployment still high, sheds aren't homes, and Rakiura win in customary rights case

I've gone quiet over the last few months, a few desultory postings, some updates. Nothing special.

So what's new I hear you laugh...

As a reminder, this blog started as a digital repository of news releases and data sources related to the 'Maori economy'. Despite wider and deeper data on things economic (and what's not economic, right), Maori seemed curiously absent. No, not absent but kinda glossed over. Both there and not there. So I've tried to collate whatever data appears, and track some figures over time e.g., Household Labour Force Survey and the so-called Maori economy.

This Maori economy, up-dated in 2013 to the tune of $42.6 billion, intrigues me. From its conception (by BERL) it has been used as political leverage for successive Maori Ministers.

But you still see an awful lot of tin sheds in Aotearoa with Maori tenants...
And while I say Maori are like ghosts in our own landscape, there are endless press releases on Iwi development, Maori branding, Maori innovation, bringing Maori land into production or seeking greater productivity from that land which is already a component in the NZ supply chain. Meanwhile, unemployment is stubbornly double-figures.

As for 2016, well the planet still spins on its axis, the Pacific Ring of Fire still rocks and rolls, Aotearoa NZ is still racist (and perhaps more so), Canterbury's environment is still degrading, and Lincoln University continues its struggles to remain a credible tertiary institution.

But let's finish on a positive note :) I think the highlight for Maori economic rights occurred right at the end of the year with the New Zealand high Court deciding on the first claim under the 2011 Takutai Moana Act. Denis Tipene represented his whanau and hapu in  succesfully claiming customary rights on Pohowaitai and Tamaitemioka, off the east coast of Rakiura (Stewart Island).

There are many other cases to come up and as Mr. Tipene says, Rakiura is probably the easiest place to decide on Maori rights, one of the benefits of isolation.

So roll on 2017. My focus is going to shift to Turtle Island, the America's. Watch this space...

Simon Lambert

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