Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Man In The Mirror

Maori claim they see the world differently to others, that the land is their mother, that they'd far prefer to nurture its soul than swap it for thirty pieces of silver...
Tukoroirangi Morgan from Waikato Tainui says that same approach applies to how maori manage their assets. In August he talked up a plan for an iwi consortium, to buy into any state-owned enterprises that may be part-privatised post-election: "If you invest in maori, you invest in a long term organisation that is not going to sell, unlike the mums and dads in this country – they’ll sell at the highest price.
Iwi won’t sell and the investment is intergenerational." Seems to make sense...
Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon said the same: "Iwi are the Crown’s perfect partner. We're never going to leave the country. Everything we earn stays in the country and what we do earn we reinvest in our own community. It's a win-win for everybody."
But when push comes to shove, what happens to those inter-generational assets that connect maori spiritually to the land? They get sold!
Radio NZ yesterday said the Overseas Investment Office OKed the sale of another 22,000h of land to foreigners back in August - a Swiss company scored more than 18,000h of Canterbury forestry from Ngai Tahu, which sold the forest as part of a 'change in its investment strategy'. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
No real surprise – thinking how maori have cashed in on their spirituality in the past, I'm reminded of the Waikato motorway taniwhai; Contact Energy paying Ngai Tahu $1.6m for the suspension of spiritual values for 35 years' river use; Ngati Wai's Pakiri sand-dredging royalties deal...
So how exactly does their world view differ from others'? It doesn't.
Look in the mirror. A buck is a buck. Let's just call a spade a spade.
[…with tug-of-forelock to Hon.Alf Grumble]

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