Sep 8, 2011

Flavell swings behind Tuhoe

The Maori Party are coming down strong on the, for want of a better term, Urewera issue. From RNZ:

The Maori MP for Bay of Plenty is talking to the Tuhoe tribe about taking a new claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, arguing the police 2007 raids in Ruatoki breached the Treaty of Waitangi.

The member for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, says the Crown should be answerable, particularly for the way people were innocently caught up in the actions - and for those who've now had charges against them dropped.

The Maori Party MP says his caucus and Tuhoe are looking for more than an apology.
He says he and his colleagues have talked about compensation, given some people have had to bear the brunt of criticism and the stigma associated with the raids.

Mr Flavell says the issue is so big his party is looking into asking for a commission of inquiry of some kind.

At the conclusion of this saga a commission of inquiry will be mandatory – whether the remaining defendants are found guilty or not. I think the option of civil suits is closed in this instance, I certainly don’t say that with certainty though. Te Ururoa has highlighted two options for some kind of relief/accountability (a commission of inquiry and the Waitangi Tribunal) and other options exist as well including the Independent Police Conduct Authority. On another note it amazes me that Helen Clark, Michael Cullen and the then Police Minister (Annette King I think it was) have managed to escape criticism for their role in approving the raids and subsequent legal battle. Surely the buck stops at the top, and this went straight to the Prime Ministers Office.

I expect to see Hone Harawira dive all over this issue. Tuhoe is one of Maoridom’s staunchest Iwi, if not the staunchest, and is Mana’s for the taking. However, if Hone remains quiet and leaves the issue to Te Ururoa Tuhoe may not tag along with Mana so willing. Tuhoe people have long memories. This is where Mana needs someone like Annette Sykes and her skills as a lawyer and as a wahine toa.

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