Te Whanau a Apanui have found an unlikely ally:
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing Te Whanau a Apanaui's protest against oil exploration off the East Coast.
Mr Peters says New Zealanders have no confidence the government has properly weighted the environmental and social risks.
“The key issue is, have we been asked or consulted on this issue and the answer is no. It just went ahead like what Gerry Brownlee tried to do on the national parks, when they got rolled. That’s what they tried to do,” he says.
Mr Peters says the royalty rates are so low that that New Zealanders stand to make very little if Petrobras does discover oil.
Prima facie, Winston is an unlikely source of support. However, this issue touches our nationalist sentiment, naturally it is core New Zealand First policy.
I wonder when the Maori Party will follow suit. No time soon judging by this comment From Tariana Turia:
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it's up to individual iwi whether they want to oppose mining and oil exploration.
Of course it is. But when iwi chose to oppose, and oppose vehemently, then the Maori Party should support iwi.
“Those who don’t want to have either oil exploration or sand mining, that’s their business. We’re not in Parliament to speak for the hapu and iwi. That’s their job to uphold their rangatiratanga and that’s what they’ve chose to do and that’s their right,” Mrs Turia says.
This is an odd comment. Let’s think back to the ETS. The Maori Party were speaking/acting on behalf of iwi (at their request apparently). The Maori Party acted as a medium between government and the self proclaimed iwi leaders. The same thing happened with regard to mining Maori land. However, different rules seem to apply to Te Whanau a Apanui. The Maori Party has refused to back Te Whanau a Apanui.
Te Whanau a Apanui cannot uphold their rangatiratanga against the might of the New Zealand state. No iwi can, has or ever will. The Maori Party, as the strongest Maori political entity, is obligated to act in the best interests of Te Whanau a Apanui. A failure to act, or a remission of responsibility, is a cop out.
The Maori Party claim to act on behalf of Maori. Maori, as in the collective. The party quite often speaks of iwi katoa. It is now becoming apparent that this was just fanciful rhetoric. If faced with a choice between political expediency and principle, the Maori Party will side with expediency.
Sad. That is the only way to describe the Maori Party’s position on this issue. Sad.