Wednesday, September 05, 2012

So much for "good faith"

In its response to the Waitangi Tribunal's report on water and asset sales, the government has repeatedly claimed that it will act in good faith in its negotiations with iwi. The reality, however, is a little different:

Prime Minister John key says the Government will not attend a hui called by the Maori King over water rights because it rejects calls for a national water settlement.

Key also made it clear none of his MPs should attend the hui because that would cause confusion about them representing the Crown.


"The Government does not believe there should be a national hui; does not believe there should be a national settlement and it probably would not recognise all of the rights and interests that some Maori groups believe they have," Key said.

Refusing to meet with the other party is not good faith. Saying that they should not meet to discuss their collective negotiating position is not good faith. Ruling out a national settlement from the outset is not good faith. And saying that you will not recognise some rights and interests before negotiations have even begun is not good faith. All of this undercuts the negotiations, and makes it seem like they are simply a sham. And that is simply not how a proper Treaty partner should behave.