Treaty settlements won?t make Maori rich

Don Brash

Hobson?s Pledge spokesman
Don Brash

Most Maori New Zealanders will never become economically prosperous through Treaty settlements.

A total of $5-billion in financial redress invested at 5 percent would increase the annual income of each Maori New Zealander, of which there are 750,000, by the grand total of just $333.

Waiting around for that manna from heaven would be a tragic mistake,?

But for far too many Maori the Treaty settlements have delivered little or nothing ? just walk down the main street of Huntly to see what I mean, despite the very substantial settlements which Tainui has received.

To the extent that Maori New Zealanders have been lulled into the false notion that their prosperity will be assured once the Treaty settlement has been made, the long-drawn-out settlement process has almost certainly done lasting damage to the economic well-being of Maori.

That was one of the two reasons why, when I was National Party leader last decade, I committed the next National Party Government to a policy involving one further year to lodge a grievance and a maximum of five further years to resolve all outstanding grievances.

The other reason why I wanted to put a finite deadline on the settlement process was because I knew that the longer the process dragged on, the more impatient the Pakeha community would become, wrongly believing that a high proportion of all tax revenue would be devoted to compensation.

ositive discrimination, originally intended to lift the incomes of Maori New Zealanders, which on average lagged behind those of other New Zealanders, ruins motivation.

What on earth could be more demotivating than to be told, again and again and again, that your poor education, your poor housing, your low income or inability to get a job is not your responsibility at all ? it?s the fault of a grossly unfair system arising from injustices done to some of your great-grandparents by some of your other great-grandparents? 

?A great many New Zealanders reject any notion that the Treaty of Waitangi created a ?partnership? between Maori and the Crown, a partnership which has been described as absurd by politicians as different as David Lange and Winston Peters. 

Yet this is the interpretation which is more and more taken as the foundation of Government policy.