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Friday, April 20, 2007

The "National Question" 26 The Maori Economic Plan

Joe Te Pania's "Maori Economic Plan", surfaced shortly after Labour's 1984 Election victory, with the taxpayer funded Maori Economic Development Summit held in October that year.

At least two members of the conference steering committee, (Jackson Smith and Pat Shepherd) were Socialist Unity Party members.

Others included well known radical Syd Jackson, Georgina Kirby of the Maori Women's Welfare League and the late Bob Mahuta, of the Tainui Trust Board.

The Conference, held at Parliament Buildings, attracted 194 delegates, was a who's who of Maori radicals, nationalists and Marxist-Leninists.

Several old Nga Tamatoa hands attended, including Donna Awatere and Ripeka Evans, Liz Marsden and John Tahu.

Pat Hohepa and Tipene O'Regan were there, as were several Maori unionists, ex Communist Paul Potiki, several Workers Communist League associates and a host of SUP connected activists.

Ostensibly the conference was organised to construct a programme for Maori economic development.The outcome however was not the programme for reduced government controls, lower taxes and increased individual initiative, that Maoridom desperately needed.

As Jackson Smith wrote in a Tribune article entitled "Summit Says Retain Taha Maori" , "What emerged very strongly was a continuing attraction to collective work; collective decision-making; collective enterprises. . . In a world where capitalism destroys rather than retains traditional and cultural values, the retention of taha Maori is a major concern."

In other words, Maoridom's self appointed leaders wanted no part of free markets and individual enterprise. Jackson Smith's "Maori primitive communism" was to be the blueprint for the Maori economic renaissance.

No wonder we're still waiting for it.

The Summit marked the beginning of an accelerating transfer of taxpayers money into Maori hands. A series of Maori Access schemes were born which saw huge sums channelled to radical and gang sponsored "work schemes"

Jackson Smith, coincidentally, became chairman of Maori Access in Wellington.

Another result of the Summit was the Maori Economic Development Commission, set up in December 1984 by the Labour Cabinet.

Ripeka Evans played a key role and was appointed as a consultant and executive officer to the Commission. Evans worked on two major projects: a study of the impact of "negative funding" on Maori people and a report on broadcasting.

Flowing on from this, in late 1985 Evans accepted a position as consultant and executive to the Mana employment-enterprise development project team set up by the Maori Affairs Department

In 1985/86 This project team extracted $13,500,000 from the Labour Department and dispatched it to 22 tribal and regional authorities for schemes allegedly designed to create Maori employment. Another $14,000,000 was wasted later.

Around the country the pattern was the same. Maori business was to be a tribal, collectivist enterprise, designed not to boost individual wealth, but to build tribally based economies and increase Maori political clout.

Ngai Tahu Trust Board leader Tipene O'Regan put it bluntly on the TVNZ programme "Faithfully Yours" of, 6th of December 1988.

"We are committed, tribally, to the communal and tribal ownership of resources. Its the thing the pakeha used to call the beastly communism of the Maori - We're pretty keen on it."

To overturn an existing social order you need a strong economic and political base.
Marxist-Leninist support for Maori tribal development is about building up a Maori "Nation State" within New Zealand's borders. A "Nation State" capable of challenging established power at all levels and winning substantial concessions from the government.

As Jackson Smith told the SUP national conference of 1985;

"It could well be that the development of a Maori Nation which was not achieved through a united resistance to invasion by a recognisable enemy (the British Army) could be accomplished by a Maori Unity developed as a result of fight-back against deprivation and indifference. This attempt to unify Maori people is a most important prerequisite of Maori self-determination".


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