Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Submission on Volcanic cones Bill

Readers might be aware that Parliament is currently considering the 'Nga Mana Whenua o Tamkai Makaurau Collective Redress Bill'. The purpose of the Bill is to transfer the bulk of Auckland's volcanic cones to iwi and to set up a co-governance structure between iwi and Auckland Council. Full public access to the cones is retained.

We are basically supportive of the settlement. Our cones, particularly in Puketapapa/Mt Roskill have been terribly neglected under sole Council stewardship and we are hopeful that working together with iwi there will be impetus to undertake much needed restoration.

The main concern that we have is that local communities and Local Boards don't get much of a look in under the proposed structure and legislation. We have raised this repeatedly within Auckland Council, but have not received much of a hearing. To try and advance these points we have therefore submitted to the Parliamentary committee considering the Bill. Our main proposals are:

  • Guarantee Local Board representation on the Maunga Authority that will govern the cones.
  • Require the Maunga Authority to establish localised consultation structures
  • Allow groups and people to submit views directly to the Maunga Authority
The full submission is below...

12 September 2013

Submission to the Maori Affairs Select Committee:
Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau Collective Redress Bill

Submitter                           Michael Wood, Puketapapa Local Board Member
Organisation                      Roskill Community Voice
Contact Details                 80 Albrecht Ave, Mt Roskill South, Auckland 1041
                                                09 620 9257 or 022 659 6360
1.       I wish to appear before the committee to present my submission, assuming that the committee will conduct hearings in Tamaki Makaurau.

2.       Roskill Community Voice is a community based organisation and political grouping based in the Mt Roskill area. We are supported by Labour, Greens, and community-based independents. We are currently represented on the Puketapapa Local Board by Julie Fairey and Michael Wood.

3.       The Bill is of major interest to the Mt Roskill community. Two maunga from the Mt Roskill area are included in the Bill; Puketapapa/Pukewiwi (Mt Roskill), and Te Tatua-a-Riukiuta (Big King). Both are extremely important in terms of local community identity and recreation, but they have also both been terribly abused over the years.

4.       We broadly support the Bill in its current form. It is appropriate that iwi’s cultural and historic connection to the maunga is recognised through co-governance. We also believe that co-governance could provide the impetus to undertake much need restoration work on our badly degraded maunga. 

5.       Both as a matter of good governance, and to ensure that there is widespread community support for co-governance we believe that there should be provisions in the Bill to ensure that community engagement and transparency are embedded in the operation of the Maunga Authority. This could be achieved through some fairly minor changes to the Bill.

6.       In the first instance we believe that it is important to ensure that there is representation from local communities on the Maunga Authority. If the Authority is perceived to be distant from local communities vis-à-vis its membership this is likely to create community concern. It would also result in important local considerations not being clearly heard in the decision making process. The Auckland Council’s structure includes Local Boards, which are broadly empowered to represent local community interests. We believe that a simple way of ensuring a local voice on the Manuga Authority would be for the legislation to require that at least half of Auckland Council’s membership of the Maunga Authority be made up of Local Board members from Local Board areas that include maunga overseen by the Maunga Authority. Proposed wording follows:
106 Membership
·         (1) The Maunga Authority comprises—
·         (a) 2 members appointed by the Marutūāhu rōpū entity; and
·         (b) 2 members appointed by the Ngāti Whātua rōpū entity; and
·         (c) 2 members appointed by the Waiohua Tāmaki rōpū entity; and
·         (d) 6 members appointed by the Auckland Council, no less than three of whom must be members of Local Boards from Local Board areas that include maunga under the jurisdiction of the Maunga Authority; and
7.       We believe that the role of the Maunga Authority will be large and complex. It will be dealing with policy issues at a high level, and will find it difficult to engage directly around site-specific issues. We also believe that the credibility of the Manuga Authority will be enhanced by strong mechanisms that enable it to connect with local communities. At this stage however, the Bill provides no such direction or framework.

8.       In response to the issues raised in (7) we propose the insertion of a new section in Schedule 4, after the current section 9. Proposed text follows:
10) Local Engagement and Consultation
(1) The Maunga Authority will ensure that local communities are consulted with prior to the development of plans or initiatives relating to specific maunga.
(2) The Maunga Authority will establish a process to enable groups and individuals with an interest in the business of the Authority and maunga-related issues, to make direct representations to the Authority of their own volition.
(3) The Maunga Authority will establish localised structures that enable it to engage with local communities about issues relating to specific maunga. These structures will be on the basis of Local Board boundaries and must include Local Board representation.
9.       In conclusion, we are supportive of the main objectives and structures of the Bill. Its main area of deficiency relates to a lack of provisions that will ensure engagement with local communities. It is important to include such measures in order that the legitimate interests of local communities receive a hearing in relation to local maunga, and also to ensure wide-spread community acceptance of co-governance.

Specifically, we propose that Local Board representation on the Maunga Authority be enshrined, and that it be a statutory requirement that the Maunga Authority engage with local communities. Specific and simple measures are proposed to achieve this.

10.   We thank the committee for the opportunity to submit and for considering the issues we have raised.