Topic: Politics

Public input sought to shape Crown-Māori relations

By Talisa Kupenga

Minister of Crown-Maori Relations Kelvin Davis wants to improve how Government works with Maori and is hitting the road to find out how. But the National Party is skeptical calling it a backwards step and that the government should already know what Māori want.

The Minister says the Crown-Māori relationship needs work.

"The key focus is to come together to understand how we can strengthen the Crown-Māori relationship between Māori groups, families, tribes and sub tribes."

But with all 7 Maori seats sitting with the Labour party, National says they should know better.

Treaty Settlements spokesman Nuk Korako says "You'd think with their Māori representation this is something the Labour Party should already have answers on and they should already be able to show some leadership in this already."

Davis says "I think that's ignorant to think that we know what all Māori want."

Last week Minister Shane Jones visited the regions, announcing millions of dollars of funding to places like Minginui. But Davis says this isn't about handouts.

Davis says "We aren't going out there to dictate what the Crown-Māori relationship will look like. We want Māori to tell us what it is they want so we can facilitate strengthening that relationship."

Davis and his officials will travel to around 14 communities including Kaitaia, Auckland, Gisborne and Whanganui. He was unable to tell Te Kaea exactly how much the roadshow would cost.

"I don't know exactly, but it is being paid for by the Ministry of Justice."

Korako says "I think it's quite scary that Māori now have to go through the Ministry of Justice to get any kind of buy-in from this particular Government."

The meetings begin next month and expect to be finished before June.