Keeping Wellington moving

The more I looked at the WCC proposals for the so called Golden Mile the nuttier the proposals seem.   The process has clearly been captured by those activists who enjoy participating in it.

The commercial sector, which pays proportionally more rates for properties of equal value, is typically less engaged with the WCC, and so we end up with business hostile proposals.   Doing nothing would be better than the three options proposed.   My formal submission is below.

Submission on “Golden Mile” concepts

August 7, 2020

The “Golden Mile” could benefit from some refinement, but the WCC must take extreme care to avoid imposing unnecessary costs or otherwise damaging the commercial sector with well intentioned policies that reduce activity and the current level of vibrancy.

A beautiful “Golden Mile” with greatly diminished commercial activity, is a formula for a sad “Mile” with empty shops and space inhabited by anti-social people not usefully employed.  The old Manners Mall is a salutary lesson in this regard and must be avoided.

I reject all three options proposed because they are too extreme.   The WCC was seriously negligent in not offering the status quo as one option, because it is clearly legitimate.

Commercial realities 

The business sector pays substantially more in rates for properties of equivalent value than residential owners, and its view should be weighted by its proportional contribution to rating revenue.

While COVID will ultimately pass, it and the ongoing impact of seismic issues, will negatively impact the CBD for up to a decade.  This is not a time for additional major capital spending.  We already have stormwater issues, civic square seismic costs, and important priorities, such as road access to the airport and eastern suburbs for both cars and commercial vehicles.

The retail sector also faces the prospect of more online shopping and the ongoing competition from shopping centres in the Hutt and Porirua.  What the CBD needs is parking for those who wish to shop in the City and for whom public transport is not the best option.  The Kaikoura quake took out car park buildings which ideally would be replaced, but not by the WCC.

Models for Wellington

Many planners like to reference the dense cities of Europe and others where zero traffic streets have been created and argue Wellington should follow suit.  Two realities are relevant to this discussion.

First, densely populated cities offshore were largely built of very durable materials prior to the car.  This does not apply to our cities which were mostly built after the arrival of the car and are consequently more dispersed.

Second, Wellington has just 200,000 people, with a daily workforce arriving from neighbouring cities, some of whom also shop here on the weekends.  This is a very modest population compared with say Copenhagen City (pop 800,000) and the recently referenced San Francisco area, pop of 890,000, and the San Francisco-Bay Area 7.7 million.

The “Mile” (actually much longer) is a long street for retail shopping and we must be realistic with our expectations.  Townsville Queensland is an object lesson in CBD planning gone wrong.   It has a population of around 200,000 and some strong suburban shopping centres.   In 1979 it made Flinders Street (its CBD main street) into a mall without cars and the CBD went down-hill not long afterwards.  Cars are now allowed back.  I have visited Townsville’s Flinders Mall most years since 1993 and have noticed the damage that was done and the costs of rectifying it.  While one can argue about which cities are relevant to Wellington, I believe Townsville is more appropriate than San Francisco and Copenhagen, both of which I have visited.  See the very readable article from the ArchitectureAU  https://architectureau.com/articles/flinders-street-revitalization/

Traffic in the Golden Mile

I reject all three options proposed by the WCC on the grounds they are extreme, too costly and will create more problems than they will solve.  Delivery vehicles, taxis, Ubers and individual drivers, need to be able to access the “Mile” from the side streets to avoid having to turn around in them thereby creating costs and congestion.

The proposals look like they are driven by dreamers, biking advocates and the anti-car brigade, who don’t understand how fragile is the Wellington economy and even how it actually works.

Recommendation:   The WCC actually visit at least as many of the business owners on the “Mile” and get their assessment of what problems may exist, and what they want done, if anything.

I suspect many of these people don’t engage with the WCC because they either don’t think it will make any difference, or they are so busy trying to simply survive they don’t have the time or skill to make submissions.   The submission process suits activists but not people in business.

Recommendation:  That the WCC remove all 99 car parks on the Golden Mile and replace them with a mix of: 10 minute stopping zones, loading zones, seats, trees and bike racks.

With just 200,000 people footpaths don’t need to be made wider because people like to be in busy streets and shop owners want them to see what they have in their windows.  The removal of the long term parks along with the new slower speed limits, which are too slow, would reduce private vehicle traffic at very modest cost.

I would be very happy to meet with the WCC on this very important matter.

Barrie Saunders

1/25 Tennyson Street, Te Aro, Wellington.   barrie.s@actrix.co.nz     021 449 469 

Note:  Barrie Saunders has lived in Wellington for nearly 50 years including 22 years in Tennyson Street, Te Aro.   He has also lived in Melbourne, London and New York and travelled extensively in North America, Australia, Europe and South America. 

He was President of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce for three years – 2000-2002, and  was a Government Relations Consultant for 25 years until 2015 – Saunders Unsworth

 

 

NBR – a 50th reunion for those involved 1970-1990

First notice

National Business Review (NBR) will be 50 on August 26, this year.   The founders and those involved in its first 20 years are having a celebration.   We invite anyone who worked at, or wrote for the paper, to come to the luncheon on Saturday October 31, commencing at 12 Noon.

The luncheon will be at Fratelli, an Italian restaurant in 15 Blair Street Wellington, they very building Fourth Estate Holdings owned for a period.   Hugh Rennie QC is writing a memoir on those years which will be launched at the luncheon.  It is going to be a great read.

The indicative cost for the three course luncheon is $90 which some beverages with a cash bar.   Anyone who wants to come should email me at:  barrie.s@actrix.co.nz

Numbers are limited to 60 so it will pay to register your interest early.

Wellington’s Golden Mile – a low cost fix

The Wellington City Council (WCC), never short of ways of spending ratepayers’ money, wants to improve the Golden Mile, with one option banning all private cars.

There is no shortage of people who don’t like private cars and don’t care much for business either, who will cheerfully go along with this thinking.  Some fantasise about Wellington having European shopping streets with only foot traffic.  Get real, we have just 200,000 people in the city with commuter workers adding to lunch time shopping.  There are other places to shop and of course increasingly online.

Wellingtonians need a serious reality check.   The private sector is struggling with much higher rates than residents for equivalent value properties, high costs and infrastructure weaknesses, including road access to the airport and Eastern Suburbs, to say nothing of stormwater failures.

On top of this we have a seismically challenged Civic Square including a library which might “require” $200 million to strengthen or rebuild, on top of the Town Hall which is costing at least $100 million.  And then there is the Convention Centre underway at a cost of around $160 million.  And don’t forget the Council is considering $30 million to re-work Frank Kitts park.

Some apartment owners are struggling under seismic requirements as are commercial property owners including the Amora Hotel.  At times I wonder whether our Council is not in a fantasy land where some fairy godmother is just going to magic up the money for everyone.

The unusual geography of the city inevitably makes moving across the city rather challenging.   As a long time Te Aro resident, I am familiar with the way traffic flows as well as foot traffic across the city.  I don’t believe the WCC has proved there is a big problem requiring tens of millions.

The big transport issue for commerce and residents is a second tunnel and much better road access to the Eastern Suburbs and airport.   That should be the priority.

While it would be desirable to the reduce the private traffic flow down the Golden Mile, it is critical the benefits of this outweigh the costs.   None of the proposals in my view achieve this.

The low cost effective option is to eliminate all 99 private car parks on the Mile from Courtenay Place to Lambton Quay.  Use that freed up space for a mix of wider footpaths, bike racks, seats and trees.

 

A readable and rational report on POAL

Revised July 17 in the light of feedback 

The most interesting thing about the Ministry of Transport commissioned Sapere report on the future of POAL’s freight operations, is that compared with the status quo, all options will add costs to the economy.

However Sapere’s terms of reference required it to assume POAL’s freight operations would have to move sometime, so the question was when does this have to happen and where is best?

Surprisingly a new port at Manukau is assessed as the least expensive producing net benefits of -$1,982 million net present value and the Firth of Thames the most expensive at -$7,294 million.  Moving the entire freight operation to Northport (half owned by Port of Tauranga – POT), was estimated to be a net -$6,252 million, POT, a net -$3,703 million and a shared Northport – POT, a net -$6,847 million.

Sapere helpfully provides an explanation as to why its conclusions materially differed from the Wayne Brown led Working Group.  A key point is they took a 60 year perspective rather than Brown’s 30 year.   (See page 15 of the executive summary – Sapere “Analysis of the Upper North island Supply Chain Strategy Working Group Options for moving freight from the Ports of Auckland”.

The good news for the Auckland City Council and the Government, is the decision does not have to be made in a rush.  Sapere thinks we have 10-15 years to make the decision.  Provided it can get the necessary consents, the container terminal may have sufficient capacity for around 30 years.  After that a substantial amount of reclamation will be necessary.

Both the Manukau Harbour and Firth of Thames sites have not yet been rigorously investigated in sufficient depth, to be confident that the indicative costs will prove to be realistic.  The Firth of Thames is favoured by the lines, but is very expensive.   A POAL there would be real competitor for POT.

It is clear from Sapere that neither option could likely be consented under the RMA and thus would require special legislation.  This flows from the Supreme Court decision regarding King Salmon (2014) and how the New Zealand Coastal Policy statement affects RMA applications in the coastal marine area.  Special legislation would be more than challenging for any Government, unless by some miracle commercial, environmental and Maori interests were supportive.  Probably when pigs start flying.

Interestingly Sapere rejected the argument that Manukau would not work because of its harbour and the dredging that would be required.   They took expert advice which did not agree with this widely held view.  Most ports require some maintenance dredging.

Sapere also rejected the claim moving the freight operations out of the current site would materially improve Auckland transport problems, because the new activity on the port land would generate its own traffic and the diverted freight would mostly enter the city through other routes.

And they rejected the claim made by the Wayne Brown report that by using the land for other activities Auckland City would be better off financially.

The politics of POAL’s future are extraordinarily complex.  NZ First desperately wants to be seen as a great advocate for Northland to win a seat, while many in the affluent suburbs of Auckland would like to see the port relocated, and presumably not replaced by high rise office blocks or apartments.

The National Party has not said much.   A majority of its supporters in Auckland want the port moved, but they have not yet seen a definitive cost.   Given POAL is owned solely by Auckland City, the rational response should to say go and lobby Phil Goff and co if you want a change.  The Government should not trample on the City’s property rights.

The Labour Party and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, have many major transport projects underway. The last thing they need is an extra, very complex and expensive freight transport project to deal with.  Auckland City is not able to fund an entirely new port anytime soon.  In that respect Sapere has done them a favour by kicking decision time down the road.

The option not considered is that POAL remains on most of its current site indefinitely, and the marketplace takes care of the freight growth by greater efficiency at POAL, and more freight going through POT and Northport.  POT is convinced it has a lot room to increase its throughput, that was not recognised by either the Wayne Brown report or Sapere.

Personally I don’t care whether POAL remains on its present site, moved to Manukau or the Firth of Thames, or some deal is done with POT and or Northport.

But having removed the central planner with the Port Companies Act 1988 and established the ports as commercial businesses, I am opposed to any taxpayer money going into any port.   Port investment is for the shareholders, which is mostly local authorities, with a few such as POT, having significant private shareholding.

However as owner of KiwiRail and the roads, the Government has a key role in determining how ports will be linked into the transport network.  Hopefully the Government will take its time on working through these complex issues, and not be influenced by one political party’s needs, or those in the leafy suburbs who want the container cranes out of their sight.

I chaired the 14 member Port CEO Group from 2002-2015.   http://www.barriesaunders.wordpress.com

Government and the media

The collapse of Bauer, combined with the precarious state of NZME, Stuff and Media Works’ TV3, indicates we all need to think about the future role of private media and its role in maintaining our democratic system.

There are some quick steps the Government could take to help existing media survive the next few years.  First, it would be helpful if it simply accepted its COVID policy which included decreeing magazines are not essential, was an element in the Bauer decision.

Second, it could carefully review the way it advertises, and wherever cost efficient, favour local media, over digital outlets such as Facebook which don’t provide quality journalism.   Third, it should look carefully at the way it buys New Zealand digital content providers such as BusinessDesk, the Spinoff and Newsroom, to make sure they are purchasing at the right level, given internal departmental distribution.  I have heard this is not always the case.

A merger of NZME (Herald) and Stuff would make a lot of sense, and the Commerce Minister Kris Fafoi should be looking at a way of allowing this to happen, without the need for the Kiwi share concept recently floated.   Journalists’ jobs will be lost but not 100%.   The Herald has a paywall and that might need to be extended to media in a combined group.  The merger proposition has been turned down by the Commerce Commission largely on media diversity grounds, which to me looked doubtful at the time, and now look absurd.  Time to act Kris and lets not have a repeat of Bauer.

For the longer term it should immediately convene a working group including media to explore all the options.

if advertising is to continue declining the only options are state support and subscriptions.   Through NZ On Air the state has already gone beyond radio and TV into other areas which I think is unfortunate.  Why encourage daily papers into video where they lack a comparative advantage?  This NZ On Air initiative is fragmenting media and ultimately weakening existing outlets.  It should stick to its original brief and stop spreading its support marmite thin.

 

 

 

 

 

Use TVNZ to educate and entertain kids

Day one of the 28 day home detention has been a challenge for us retired folks, but will it be like for parents of energetic school age children, particularly those without fast broadband and or devices that can be used for educational purposes?

One obvious answer is for the Government to cut a deal with TVNZ to use some of its four channels for pre-school and primary teaching.   The Government (i.e. taxpayers) will be paying its teachers for the entire period of the lockdown so why not get them to teach children at all the different levels?

As day time TV is not very profitable it should be easy to reach an agreement with TVNZ, with the main challenge teachers being able to adapt to this medium at high speed.  For its part TVNZ should also consider using these unique times to run educational type programmes at times not required for formal education.

Level four shutdown a bit pointless without testing all arrivals

There is far too much anecdotal evidence that our current border controls are weak, and unless fixed immediately, will partial make a nonsense of the level four shutdown starting Wednesday night March 25.

Its a mystery to me why the Government has been so slow on testing arrivals whether Kiwi or not.  Tracking tourists has clearly been pathetic but at least that risk source is now closed off.  But inward bound Kiwis are just as likely to carry the virus as anyone else coming in.

What about testing every single person who enters the country and imposing tough tracking requirements on each one of them, with random follow up checks?

MMP requires tougher political donation laws

The notion that money can be used to buy policies via donations to a political party, is repugnant to anyone who supports a quality democracy.   I believe there is too much anecdotal information around to dismiss the concerns held by several commentators.

What has not been discussed is the role the MMP system plays in the way monied interests view political parties.   Under MMP smaller political parties don’t expect to get 35% plus of voters and thus target their campaigns around a few issues.  These few issues attract not just voters but money which supports them.

As major parties Labour and National have to appeal to broader constituencies and thus cannot indulge too many narrow special interests.  When negotiating with smaller parties, Labour and National have to make policy concessions, much as that might grate with their supporters.   Thus we have a situation where MMP provides the opportunity for those with money to influence specific policies.

We have laws relating to political donations and the fact some behaviour has resulted in prosecutions and also SFO investigations, show the system does work.   Could it be better?  I think so but don’t support the notion we have a Royal Commission as proposed by Bryce Edwards.  Royal Commissions are expensive long winded exercises which sometimes produce reports that don’t get acted on.

The USA has heaps of laws in this area, but their system allows people to effectively buy policies.  The challenge with any new law is to prevent policy buying, without creating undue compliance costs or simply change the way the policy buying works.

My proposition is two fold.   First, require political parties to disclose the names of all donations above $1000 or $15,000pa.   Second, require all donors to be on the electoral roll.  This would mean no corporate, union, foundation or any other organisations, donating to political parties.

By reducing the donation disclosure level to $1000, donors will be part of a much larger group and thus hopefully less shy about being disclosed.   Also the $1000 limit, combined with the requirement they be on the Electoral Roll, will make it extremely difficult for donors to get around the $15,000 current disclosure level.

The two proposals will require some consequential review of legislation applying to  others, to ensure they were not used to get around the requirements for political parties.

New Zealand has a great reputation for transparency and non corrupt politics.   My proposals would reduce reputational risks and enhance our democratic institutions.

 

 

 

TVNZ-RNZ merger another broadcasting train wreck?

Updated February 14 

The RNZ Concert programme train wreck is but a prelude to what is likely if the proposed RNZ-TVNZ merger goes ahead.

The Government has asked PWC to flesh out a plan that doesn’t stack up.  But we can be 100% confident that PWC will find the proposed merger is viable when they report to the Government mid 2020.  Consultants rarely produce reports the customer don’t like, and unlike the private sector, this one will be taxpayer underwritten, and we know what that means.

While in a small democracy and economy, I accept there is a case for a publicly owned broadcaster, it should exist alongside a thriving private media, which at present is in deep trouble as foreign digital media hoovers up most of the digital advertising, without providing any real NZ content.

RNZ is taxpayer funded directly through NZ On Air, with the Minister setting the amount.  It is thus viable for so long as the taxpayers are willing to fund it.  TVNZ is mostly dependent on a shrinking advertising base, but is indirectly funded through the contestable NZ On Air money, provided to producers for programmes shown on TVNZ.   TV3 also has programmes supported by NZ On Air, but is losing money, while Prime is supported by pay TV operator Sky, which itself is struggling.

It is important to remember that apart from news and current affairs, the future of TV/video is streaming.   TVNZ On Demand is going brilliantly and I note Sky’s streaming is also doing well.  People who support public broadcasting should forget about selling say TV2 and making the commercial TV1 into a so called public channel.  Its about content on demand not channel numbers.  Netflix doesn’t have a channel.

There are two viable options for TVNZ – one incremental and the other radical and very expensive.    

Incremental

First, change the Broadcasting Act 1989 to provide for the Minister to direct NZ On Air to bulk fund TVNZ along the lines already done for RNZ.   A one word (“TVNZ”) addition to section 44 (1A), would allow the Minister to direct NZ On Air to directly fund TVNZ, as it does with RNZ.   There is no need to introduce a Charter for TVNZ because the existing legislation gives NZ On Air sufficient power to influence the usage of its (i.e. the taxpayers) money.

Next, remove TVNZ from the contestable funding allocated to other media.  Finally the Government will need to set the quantum of NZ On Air money allocated directly to TVNZ and also the contestable fund.  It’s likely an increase in the current total will be required.

The incremental option is my first preference because it will cause zero disruption to TVNZ, RNZ and private media, and can be done very quickly.

Radical options 

Either merge TVNZ and RNZ into one non-commercial taxpayer funded broadcasting operation, or simply make TVNZ non-commercial.

  1. Funding a non-commercial three channel TVNZ would be extremely expensive (maybe $250 million pa).All programmes would be available on TVNZ On Demand, which is very successful and is the pathway to the future for NZ content.
  2. The private sector might survive if TVNZ is non-commercial, even if all taxpayer funding of private TV/video outlets was ended, the logical consequence of making TVNZ non-commercial.

The Government proposal

The Government proposal is for RNZ and TVNZ to be merged and to be funded by tax revenue and commercial sources, but non-commercial RNZ will stay that way.

Under this proposal NZ On Air will continue with a contestable fund for the private sector and be the route through which RNZ would continue to be funded.  TVNZ itself would also be funded through NZ On Air, but it is not clear whether this would be directly or through the contestable fund in competition with the private sector.

This proposal is a potential train wreck and should be abandoned.

  1. The synergies between radio and television operations are much less than many outsiders assume.I have worked for public broadcasters in NZ, Australia and the UK and in all cases staff were substantially employed for either radio or TV, but not both.  Even in news and current affairs this was the case with operations often several kilometers apart.  Today we have some news and current affairs simulcasts in broadcasting, but am not aware of this happening with drama or light entertainment.
  2. As noted in the Cabinet paper, the cultures of TVNZ and RNZ are seriously different.Putting them together would be seriously challenging, and if TVNZ remained substantially commercial, virtually impossible to achieve successfully.  If TV and radio staff were kept in separate compartments the few synergies possible, would not be achieved anyway, so why do it?
  3. Mergers in any industry tend to cost more than anticipated and achieve less.In the case of the public sector the problems are greater because of the processes involved.  Disestablishing TVNZ and RNZ and creating a new “NZBC” would mean hundreds of technical redundancies, IT costs etc, to say nothing of the disruption of doing this over three years as envisaged in the Cabinet paper.
  4. Media diversity would be diminished if RNZ and TVNZ were to be merged.Given the way the private media is struggling the thought of an integrated state media operation dominating the news scene is scary.  It would be a dangerous concentration of power.  Statements that editorial independence (from the Government and Directors) would be enshrined are good, but wouldn’t stop a committed integrated media operation from running its campaign say against or for, a political leader.
  5. Minister Kris Faafoi is seriously naïve in believing the new merged entity would be nimbler than RNZ and TVNZ. Larger enterprises by nature are less nimble than smaller ones.  I see TV3 as more nimble than TVNZ, because it is smaller and leaner.  It has taken more risks as shown by its success with NZ comedy.

Broadcasting policy should be a cross party matter with widespread public support.  We will all lose if the media itself becomes an election issue.  Kris, it’s time to press the reset button.  Learn from the Concert programme disaster.

Declaration:  In the 1970s I worked for the NZBC, ABC, UPITN, NBR and the BBC, was a director of TVNZ 2011-2017, and listen over the internet to the ABC, BBC and other public radio.

Mike Moore

Mike Moore leaves positive and enduring legacy for all Kiwis.    A self educated guy, whose mind could dart all over the place, was up to about 1980 seen as traditional ambitious Labour politician.

My view of Mike changed abruptly when I ran into him at Parliament one day, while PR Manager for the NZ Manufacturers Federation, and we spoke about the then negotiations for a free trade agreement with Australia, now known as CER.

Mike said to me he was off to the Labour Party caucus to convince them they should support CER and not oppose it as they had done with the very limited NAFTA in 1965.  Mike said we shouldn’t make the same mistake twice.  Jim Anderton, a strong opponent of CER in the LP caucus called me twice at the Manufacturers Federation looking for material he could use against Mike so I knew he had a big battle.

He continued his support for fair and free trade in the decades following, and has to be given substantial credit for the overall modernisation of Labour Party thinking and the achievements of the Lange Douglas Government.   While that Government’s many positive achievements are not owned much by Labour leaders since, they have inherited economies greatly strengthened by Mike’s legacy.

Declaration:  I was Labour leader Bill Rowling’s press secretary from 1976-1978 and PR Manager at the NZ Manufacturers Federation 1979-83.

 

Celebrating Waitangi Day

Next Thursday we have a public holiday to “celebrate” 180 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.  Unlike the USA which every July 4 celebrates the Declaration of Independence without reservation, Kiwis have mixed feelings about the meaning of our national day.

Some Maori believe they still haven’t got justice.  Many non-Maori feel threatened by Maori claims for what is seen as “extra rights”.  They are not prepared to say what they think because they fear being demonised like the Hobson Pledge group, which quite rightly is concerned about undermining the integrity of our democratic fabric.

This is a pity because it was a remarkable event – a powerful colonial power elects to negotiate a treaty with the chiefs of the indigenous population, instead of simply declaring it a colony and establishing direct rule.   This contrasts with Australia where the indigenous Aboriginals were treated as virtually irrelevant.

The extraordinary failure of our education system to teach New Zealand history for at least 50 years, is the major reason why so many are often confused and bewildered.  Hopefully this will be in part remedied by Government plans for all schools to teach NZ history.

However I expect this process will be controversial in itself as there are many histories.   I don’t have much confidence the Ministry of Education will produce a balanced history curriculum, but that is not a good enough reason to continue mass ignorance of the population.   It will be a bumpy process, but it is a journey that must be made.

In the meantime it would be great if everyone feels they can participate in public discussion without the fear of being slagged off in the media, particularly social media.   My own thinking has evolved over the last 40 years, but below is a note I wrote 15 years ago, which I stand by today.   Considered responses invited.

“The essential elements of the Treaty (Property rights, citizenship and sovereignty) should be honored because that is the right thing to do.  However the Treaty should not be seen as blueprint for government policy for the following reasons:

  1. The documents are not robust enough. The various versions contain significant differences which means there was no true meeting of minds and explains why there has been so much debate about its meaning.  It is a moot point whether all Maori signatories understood fully the term “government” in the sense of sovereignty.  (See the English translation of Article One of the Maori version.)  It should be noted also that some Maori chiefs signed the English version and some did not sign at all.
  2. Society has changed in ways that make some aspects of Article two less relevant today. Maori Chiefs do not have anything remotely resembling the role and authority they had over members of the tribes in 1840.  Maori and “Pakeha” (i.e. everyone who is not Maori) are increasingly intermingled racially and culturally.  While many Maori and non-Maori Kiwis will identify themselves as one or the other, many also see themselves on a continuum – somewhere between “Maori” and “Pakeha” or non-Maori.
  3. New Zealand has become a democracy with all that implies in terms of individuals being equal in the eyes of the law but also the importance of respecting the views of minorities and protecting their rights. Trying to build a society on the basis of an imperfectly drafted minimalist treaty would be like governing on the basis of the Old Testament, the Koran or the original version of the American Constitution, which did not give the vote to women or Afro-American slaves.

The Government should

  1. Complete as soon as is practicable the historic Treaty claim process.
  2. Ensure that all New Zealanders are treated equally in the eyes of the law but that the interests of Maori and other minorities are also protected.  The partnership concept is a creation of the Court of Appeal and the Treaty Industry.  It is not mentioned in the Treaty and is not consistent with democratic principles.
  3. Actively assist those less advantaged.  In achieving this goal the government may use non-government agencies, including Maori agencies, to deliver education, health and social welfare services.
  4. Recognize and help nurture Maori culture and language because it is the indigenous culture of New Zealand, not just because of the Treaty.
  5. Protect property rights.  However it should also be accepted that from time to time the Government has considered it necessary to qualify or remove these rights in the national interest, as evidenced by the Public Works Act, mining legislation and the RMA.   An issue to be addressed in each case is whether compensation to the affected party is appropriate.”