David Clendon

Māori statutory board needs funding to work

by David Clendon

There have been some predictable howls of outrage about the operational funding approved for the Māori Statutory Board set up under the ‘Super City’ legislation rammed through Parliament by Rodney Hide last year.

Apparently the Auckland Transition Agency estimated a budget of $400,000 for the Board’s operation, which has in fact been set at a little over $2 million for the balance of this financial year and $3.4 million for the 2011 – 2012 year.

I’m pleased to see the Council doing its best to ensure that this Board has the money and resources it will need to fulfil its mandate under the Act.  There have been too many instances of similar entities being starved of adequate funds, and then criticised for ’failing’ in their assigned roles.

The Greens shared the view of the Royal Commission on Auckland governance, and the overwhelming majority of submitters to the Select Committee, that Māori representation should be ensured by dedicated seats on the Council.  Rodney Hide threatened to resign as Local Government Minister if that happened, but sadly his bluff was not called.

The functions assigned to the Board by the legislation oblige it to identify and prioritise issues of significance to mana whenua and mataawaka (Māori who live in Auckland but are not mana whenua); to advice the Council on matters affecting Māori; and to work with Council on designing and implementing policies and processes to fulfil the Council’s responsibilities to mana whenua and matawaaka groups.

That’s a broad and deep role, and not one that could be achieved in any meaningful way on a shoestring.  People who are unhappy about the cost should talk to Rodney Hide and question his motives and actions in denying the preferred alternative of dedicated Māori seats, rather than criticising the Council for trying to get a good outcome despite the deeply flawed structure they have to work with.

Published in Environment & Resource Management by David Clendon on Wed, February 9th, 2011   

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