20 Feb 2014

MP reports racism over Treaty package

8:45 pm on 20 February 2014

A politician says he's saddened to still encounter racism from New Zealanders who're totally opposed to Treaty settlements.

Rino Tirikatene.

Rino Tirikatene. Photo: LABOUR PARTY

Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene made the comments during the second reading of a bill to put Crown compensation packages into law.

The legislation is for eight tribes: Ngati Toa Rangatira, Te Atiawa, Ngati Apa, Rangitane o Wairau, Ngati Kuia, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Koata, and Ngati Tama.

A stubborn band of fog in Wellington prevented some MPs from touching down at the capital's airport to make their speeches.

But those who did make it had plenty to say in support of putting settlement packages into law.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says the legislation is a chance for the tribes to start afresh.

He says as a consequence of colonialism, it's unfortunate that Te Reo is not widely spoken in Te Tau Ihu and younger generations don't have the connection to the whenua that their ancestors had.

Mr Finlayson also says Maori do not have the representation in decision-making for their region that they should.

The MP for the Maori electorate of Te Tai Tonga, Rino Tirikatene, spoke of the mamae - or hurt - felt by some European settlers who've complained they're losing land to iwi.

He also told the House he's read submissions from people against Treaty settlements.

Mr Tirikatene says racist accusations have been made, in particular asserting that certain rangatira (chiefs) murdered both Pakeha and Maori.

He says their thinking is clearly wrong, but it's a sad indictment that there are still intractable parts of society who believe Maori deserve nothing from the Crown.

For the third and final reading, the proposed Treaty legislation will split into four bills.

There were also second readings for two other Treaty bills, for Raukawa and Maungaharuru-Tangitu Hapu.