INDEPENDENT NEWS

Independent Maori Statutory Board releases plan for Auckland

Published: Sun 2 Sep 2012 03:14 PM
Independent Maori Statutory Board releases ambitious plan for Auckland on Marae Investigates
The Independent Maori Statutory Board has released an ambitious plan for the future of Auckland Māori that could cost the city more than $30 million a year.  Launching the plan on TVNZ’s Marae Investigates programme this morning, the Board Chairman David Taipari said Auckland Council had not met its obligations to Māori in the past and that had to change.
A Board commissioned audit of the Auckland Council found it failed to meet many of its obligations to Māori under the treaty of Waitangi.   David Taipari told the programme “I think the fact that Council didn’t even understand or have knowledge of their own obligations is a big problem because without that first and foremost, how can you get change. But there’s capacity, there’s the knowledge of obligations, there’s the consultation and engagement, there’s the lack of policy and procedures, its right across the board.”
Mayor Len Brown admitted the failings telling Marae Investigates “The report is fair, It’s a D for do better.”  He said the Council is committed to doing better.   He was also positive about the Board’s Māori plan and told the programme it was realistic.  “It will become a reality. Not all of it … no one gets everything they want but good parts of this plan will become a reality because it is our present and our future.  We are the largest Pacific – Polynesian city in the world.  We’re the largest Māori city in the world and I think Aucklanders are in a frame where they want to reflect and respect that.  Some aren’t but most are.  And for example we cannot promote Tāmaki Makaurau as a great city, a true international destination without having a clear reflector within that brand of Māori.”
The plan, among other things calls on the Auckland Council to support social, economic and cultural initiatives for Māori including support for marae, the building of a cultural arts centre and support for te reo to be made compulsory in Auckland schools.
Tahu Kukutai, Senior Research Fellow, National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, who helped research the plan, discounted concerns critics may have that it covers areas Councils shouldn’t be involved in.  “I think if you look around the world there’s a whole bunch of local governments and state governments who have set up these ambitious plans, long term plans to enhance the wellbeing of their people.  It’s not just about roads, rates and rubbish. And once you get into the business, as ISMB are, of enhancing the wellbeing of Māori, you have to think about the long term aspirations”
However David Taipari admits the plan along with its $29.5 million per year budget might be hard to sell to some ratepayers.  “I accept that and Māori are ratepayers so let’s not forget that.   I think it should be more than that. I mean we’re talking about a $3.3 billion budget per annum and we’re talking 1% of that budget.”
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT FROM MARAE INVESTIGATES 2ND SEPTEMBER 2012. MIRIAMA KAMO, PRESENTER, TALKS TO DAVID TAIPARI, CHAIRMAN OF THE INDEPENDENT STATUTORY BOARD AND RESEARCHER TAHU KUKUTAI SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DEMOGRAPHIC AND ECNOMIC ANALYSIS, UNIVERSITY OF WAIKATO.
TRANSCRIPT INCLUDES A PRE-RECORDED SEGMENT WITH MAYOR LEN BROWN.
THE COPYRIGHT OF THIS TRANSCRIPT BELONGS TO TVNZ’S MARAE INVESTIGATES PROGRAMME, ANY REPLICATION OR PUBLISHING OF IT OR SEGMENTS OF IT SHOULD CONTAIN AN ATTRIBUTION TO MARAE INVESTIGATES
Mirama Kamo
The Mayor said a D for D Better – a fair assessment of his Council’s performance David Taipari?
David Taipari
I think so in terms of the audit though it needs to be understood that this is a benchmark and it’s from this point forward that we see that improvement and council’s made a genuine commitment to that by investing a fund this year to the monitoring of the systemic change that’s required.
Miriama Kamo
How could the council have been in any doubt about its legal obligations to Māori though?
David Taipari
It’s a bit hard to answer that. All I know is that local government in my view have struggled for decades across the country and I don’t think this is just unique to Auckland Council ah but this is a great opportunity for Māori, at the foresight of Parliament by introducing the Statutory Board, to be able to make that change and seek that change.
Miriama Kamo
So what was the most disturbing finding of the audit for you?
David Taipari
Again I don’t think it’s about one thing it’s about the holistic nature of it. I think the fact that Council didn’t even understand or have knowledge of their own obligations is a big problem because without that first and foremost, how can you get change. But there’s capacity, there’s the knowledge of obligations, there’s the consultation and engagement, there’s the lack of policy and procedures, its right across the board.
Miriama Kamo
It just goes on and on and on. In fact the audit just has red pretty much right through it doesn’t it?
David Taipari
It does and again. That’s a fair reflection of the current state of affairs but I think with the investment and implementation of the monitoring and evaluation and our introduction of our new plan I think we’re going to see that change sooner than most would think.
Miriama Kamo
Do you think we might have found out what the failings were if we had seats rather than a board?
David Taipari
I don’t know if we would have found out any failings if we’d had seats. I think it may have been perpetuated in terms of just getting caught up in the mix. I think the board was an excellent choice that Parliament made and I don’t say that because I’m on it. I just know that when I’m not on it, it will still be an excellent thing that I will support strongly because change is absolutely required.
Miriama Kamo
So Tahu what is this, is it a wish list?
Tahu Kukutai
No I don’t think it’s a wish list at all. These initiatives really need to be seen in the overall context of the plan and the Māori plan for Tāmaki Makaurau is a long term plan that sets out really clearly the aspirations for Māori as a collective over the long term, where we want to be in 10, 20, 30 years’ time. It puts some goal outcomes around those aspirations, recommends some initiatives to try to move those outcomes forward and then puts in place a robust monitoring framework so we can see, is progress occurring, what needs to be done. And I think what came through really clearly in that vox pop that you had earlier on is that Māori are a really diverse population within Tāmaki Makarau, more so than other parts of Aotearoa but neither the less, they still want to see their distinctive entity more firmly embedded.
Miriama Kamo
Māori want to see that but the challenge is going to be to sell it to ratepayers … to sell it to Aucklanders. Making te reo in schools compulsory – how is that council business?
Tahu Kukutai
I think if you look around the world there’s a whole bunch of local governments and state governments who have set up these ambitious plans, long term plans to enhance the wellbeing of their people. It’s not just about roads, rates and rubbish. And once you get into the business, as ISMB are, of enhancing the wellbeing of Māori, you have to think about the long term aspirations.
Miriama Kamo
Do you think the Council sees its role as not just being about rates and rubbish and roads and that te reo Māori - making that compulsory should be part of their business?
Tahu Kukutai
Well I was quite heartened to see that the Mayor Len Brown says that absolutely the Council needs to do more. I think it would be a mistake to focus on the specific initiatives like for example compulsory te reo in schools because the broader point is that Maori want to see their distinctive identity more embedded in Auckland and that’s going to involve some bold ideas it’s not just business as usual and so that might be expressed through te reo Māori in schools, it might be expressed through more Māori-centric urban design principals …
Miriama Kamo
Or an arts festival or building an arts centre … David Taipari there are some big ticket items in here. Is it realistic?
David Taipari
Sure, so it’s good to know that Māori have their sights see high because this is about them. The plan is for them and it’s been told to us, this is what they want and we’ve got to do what we can with Auckland Council. We know that there are going to be other agencies, Central Government, the community and Māori as a whole that have to contribute to these things. So it’s not a one place you do it all, it’s about here’s what Maori want let’s get on and do it.
Miriama Kamo
Does the Mayor see it becoming a reality?
Mayor Len Brown (pre-recorded interview)
“Of course it will. It will become a reality. Not all of it … no one gets everything they want but good parts of this plan will become a reality because it is our present and our future. We are the largest Pacific – Polynesian city in the world. We’re the largest Māori city in the world and I think Aucklanders are in a frame where they want to reflect and respect that. Some aren’t but most are. And for example we cannot promote Tāmaki Makaurau as a great city, a true international destination without having a clear reflector within that brand of Māori.
Tahuri Tumoana
Are you afraid that you’ll be seen as pandering to Māori by accepting any off this?
Mayor Len Brown
No – I say no to that question. I think the city and this nation has a great future respecting the unique position of Manu Whenua and the Tangata Whenua in that.
Miriama Kamo
So the Mayor there is very careful of his wording, how much of the plan do you want to see implemented.
David Taipari
All of it of course.
Miriama Kamo
Well realistically what do you think your success rate is going to be here?
David Taipari
We’re being realistic in terms of this is the plan. Again this is not going to happen overnight so I don’t know where someone can make the judgement that this is not going to happen.
Miriama Kamo
So the Mayor’s saying …we’re interested in this but you’re not going to get everything you want, no one gets everything they want.
David Taipari
Sure but the Mayor also needs to acknowledge and I know that he does that this plan will align with the Auckland plan. There’s a number of aspirations within the 30 year plan of Auckland that if I sat here and said ‘that aint going to happen’ how fair would that be. I need to give it that time and that opportunity, same needs to apply here.
Miriama Kamo
How much is this going to cost?
David Taipari
Well again we need to use this document, the plan, the audit and issues of significance that we had. At the moment we believe Māori outcomes need to be met and we’ve got those in volume II of the long term plan. That’s a minimum of $295 million for the next ten years or 25 years or $29.5 per annum and we believe that that’s a starting point. We will create an implementation plan from the Māori plan and we’ll be able to realise and detail that more as we go along but it won’t be any less than what I’m saying $295 million because we’ve already realised that.
Miriama Kamo
So nearly $30 million a year is what you’re asking for?
David Taipari
I think it should be more than that. I mean we’re talking about a $3.3 billion budget per annum and we’re talking 1% of that budget.
Miriama Kamo
So you think this is a modest amount but we know that ratepayers are going to be pretty concerned about this.
David Taipari
I accept that and Māori are ratepayers so let’s not forget that. But the reality is that we’re just talking about the Māori city of the world, we’re just talking about Māori needing identity ...we’re needing to reflect all these thing. You can’t do it without investing in all of that.
Miriama Kamo
But how do you convince all ratepayers that this is a good way to spend money?
David Taipari
I don’t believe all Auckland ratepayers are convinced on every matter that relates to the Auckland plan. What we need to do is ensure that the governing body that makes the decisions and those of our Board that are with them make the right decisions for the right things for the right purpose and this plan justifies that right purpose.
Miriama Kamo
And what do you think the Council’s response will be to $30million a year?
David Taipari
Well of course some will be ‘that’s too much’ some will say ‘that’s not enough’. Again what I’m more worried about is the final decision of each thing. It’s the job of the Board now in support of Māori to get that realised and I think that Māori will be more confident now when they get further engagement and direct engagement with Council to have their projects and investments realised. This will benefit Auckland. It’s not just about benefiting Māori.
Miriama Kamo
So are you holding your hand out with hope or does the Council actually have an obligation?
David Taipari
Oh absolutely Council has an obligation, the LGA, the RMA and the like.
Miriama Kamo
So there’s a legal obligation to implement at least parts of this plan you’re saying?
David Taipari
Yep I do believe that.
Miriama Kamo
The whole of the plan?
David Taipari
Well I believe as I say there will be components of Auckland Council, components of Central Government, community and Māori at large to invest in this plan. I know that with treaty settlements pending everyone’s going to want to help Māori spend their money there… so it’s about time Māori helped everyone spend their money in the right places as well.
Miriama Kamo
Do you think you’ve got much of a fight on your hands?
David Taipari
No more or no less than there’s been for the last 150 years plus, I mean there’s always been a fight going on but the reality is we’re taking this on a professional approach, we’re taking this with strong rationale and we’re knowing this is what the people want not what the 9 members of the Board want but what the people of Tāmaki Makaurau want.
Miriama Kamo
Tahu I asked you before about, we termed it as a wish list, but of course it’s not there’s science as you say behind it. What do you mean by that?
Tahu Kukutai
I think the most important thing to remember as David has pointed out is that this is firmly based in the aspirations of Māori of Tāmaki Makaurau. It’s not actually a plan for the Auckland Council, it’s a plan for Māori and we did extensive consultations with the Manu Whenua, Mataawaka and the Rangatahi groups as well and no where did they say – oh we’d be happy for our mokopuna in 30 years’ time to have education outcomes about 60% as good as non-Māori. No where did they say we’d be happy to have our cultural capability enhanced in the Marae but we don’t want to see ourselves in the city.
Miriama Kamo
Was there a number one response?
Tahu Kukutai
No the aspirations were ambitious but I think if there was one single thing that unified all those diverse groups within Tāmaki Makaurau it was about distinctive identity whatever that means and making that more visible in the city.
Miriama Kamo
So David, what does this mean for other Councils around NZ?
David Taipari
Oh I hope the lights opening up in their eyes and they’re all realising that they did wrong in the past and it’s time to have change as well and I think that if they use the platform of what’s occurring in Auckland that I think there are some good tools here that can be used right across the country and I’m a strong supporter of other Statutory Boards being realised across the country because that independent nature that we have enables some real robust discussions to be had ….for people to wake up and understand this is not just about one culture this is about NZ and it’s got a number of cultures and in particular has a Tangata Whenua and so this is where we’re coming from and I think it’s exciting, I really do and I don’t think it’s going to happen by next week and I don’t think it’s going to happen all in the next 3 years but in 30 years’ time plus, there’s going to be a range of things change. I’ve seen a bit of change in fact quite a lot of change in the last two years,
Miriama Kamo
What in council?
David Taipari
Yeah, in terms of our participation, our advocacy around the table that’s changed.
Miriama Kamo
So you feel that the Statutory board has done a good job, do you think Auckland Council now wishes it had gone for the Māori seats?
David Taipari
I think most people would have liked to have gone for Māori seats except for Māori Māori who are quite happy. I mean the other day I did a briefing for the Manu Whenua and Mataawaka in Auckland. They’re very pleased I think with the way it’s gone and they’re happy that in fact they have 9 seats.
Miriama Kamo
In fact you told me earlier that when you’ve gone to speak to other councils some of them have come back after you’ve spoke to them and said …we’re not going for a board. Clearly too much power there...
David Taipari
Yeah it’s certainly encouraged them to think about having Māori seats but that’s been an improvement because they didn’t even think about that before we were there so…
I know also since we’ve been to other places that they’re talking about boards as well and I know I believe the Local Government Commission will support that and I believe Parliament has already supported that and I can’t see why they wouldn’t put that across the country.
Miriama Kamo
What’s your pitch to get this plan through to ratepayers?
David Taipari
Let us get the implementation plan in place. Let us allow the measurements and indicators to be had. Let us measure the success rather than crystal ball gaze and throw sticks and stones at it, let us see the achievements first before we mock it to death and that’s all I ask for.

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