Briefing to the Incoming Minister

Section 3 - Key Decisions Pending

Key Decisions Pending

This section outlines key decisions that are expected to require the attention of the Minister prior to the end of March 2009. It covers Parliamentary requirements, Cabinet report back requirements and key appointments. An overview of these key decisions pending have also been provided to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, for inclusion in the briefing to the Incoming Prime Minister.

Parliamentary Requirements

With the dissolution of Parliament on 3 October 2008, all business of the previous Parliament lapsed on that date. The new Parliament may reinstate any business of the previous Parliament at any time in the first parliamentary session. The decision to reinstate any business of the previous Parliament is likely to occur in the first few sitting weeks and it will be necessary to consider what items should be reinstated, including those items which lapsed within the Māori Affairs portfolio.

The table on the following pages lists items of business that lapsed on 3 October 2008 within the Māori Affairs portfolio. The table briefly notes the status of each item, its purpose, and provides the Ministry’s recommendation for next steps.

If these items are reinstated by Parliament, they will appear on the Order Paper at the same stage they were at when Parliament dissolved. If any of the Bills awaiting second reading are reinstated by the Parliament, when the order of the day for the particular Bill’s second reading is reached, it is possible for it to be referred back to a select committee for further consideration.3 If any of the above Bills are not reinstated, Standing Orders4 would allow a new Bill of similar substance to be introduced in 2009, should this be a preferred course of action for progressing the policy reforms that underpin the particular Bill.

3 Standing Order 71 refers.
4 Standing Order 265 refers.

Legislation and Other Parliamentary Requirements within Māori Affairs Portfolio Lapsed at the Dissolution of the 48th Parliament

Māori Trustee Amendment Bill

Awaiting second reading

Purpose

To amend the Māori Trustee Act 1953 to establish the Māori Trustee as a stand alone organisation and to provide that the Māori Trustee pays account holders what the Trustee receives from the investment of funds in the Common Fund, less a management fee.

Comment

One of two bills resulting from the Māori Affairs Committee’s division of the original Māori Trustee and Māori Development Amendment Bill introduced on 23 November 2007. The Māori Trustee Amendment Bill was reported back unanimously by the Māori Affairs Committee on 4 September 2000 with the recommendation that the Bill be passed in that parliamentary term. The Bill did not receive its 2nd reading prior to the dissolution of Parliament.

Recommendation

Te Puni Kōkiri recommends that this Bill be included as soon as possible on the Reinstatement of Business motion.

Māori Trustee and Māori Development Amendment Bill

Awaiting second reading

Purpose

To amend the Māori Trustee Act 1953 to establish a new statutory corporation, Māori Business Aotearoa New Zealand (MBANZ) to further Māori economic development. This Bill includes the transfer of $35 million from the Māori Trustee’s General Purposes Fund to the MBANZ Fund.

Comment

This is the second bill resulting from the division of the original Māori Trustee and Māori Development Amendment Bill. The Māori Affairs Committee’s report back on 4 September 2008 indicated that the Committee had not been able to reach agreement on whether this Bill should proceed. There is wide support for the concept of the MBANZ as an independent entity to support Māori economic development. However, there are two key reservations that have been expressed: firstly, that the transfer of the $35 million should not be legislated for; and secondly, that the establishment fund may be insufficient to optimally position the new entity. It should be noted that $40 million Government contribution to the MBANZ Fund is contingent on the passage of the Bill.

Recommendation

Te Puni Kōkiri recommends an early discussion on the Incoming Minister’s views with respect to, and options for progressing, this Bill.

Waka umanga (Māori Corporations) Bill

Awaiting second reading

Purpose

To provide for the establishment of new legal entities by tribal groups or Māori associations, which may be structured to meet the organisational needs of those groups that manage communal assets.

Comment

The Bill was reported back on 8 September 2008 with the majority of the Māori Affairs Committee recommending that it be passed with amendments. Should the Bill be reinstated, the Minister will need to promote some administrative amendments to the Bill at the Committee of the Whole House stage that were not actioned during the select committee process.

Recommendation

Te Puni Kōkiri recommends that this Bill be included as soon as possible on the Reinstatement of Business motion.

Whakarewarewa and Roto-a-Tamaheke Vesting Bill

Referred to Māori Affairs Committee

Purpose

To effect the vesting of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Springs Reserve and the Arikikapakapa Reserve, from the Crown, to Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa Trust, and on to a joint trust representing Ngāti Whakaue and Tuhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao.

Comment

The Bill received its 1st reading on 23 September 2008, and has been referred to the Māori Affairs Committee. Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao and the Te Pūmautanga trustees (on behalf of the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi/Hapū) entered into a deed with the Crown, dated 5 August 2008, providing for the transfer of the Whakarewarewa Valley Land and the Roto-a-Tamaheke Reserve. This Bill effects that transfer. It is required to give effect to provisions in the parent legislation from which it stemmed, the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapū Claims Settlement Act. This Bill should optimally be enacted prior to the settlement date for the Affiliate Te Arawa Iwi and Hapū to enable a seamless vesting process for these lands.

Recommendation

Te Puni Kōkiri recommends that this Bill be included as soon as possible on the Reinstatement of Business motion.

Petition of Hariata Baker 2005/150

The Māori Affairs Committee reported on the petition on 18 August 2008 and recommended that the Government promote a Māori Purposes Bill to amend current legislation affecting the will of Pukepuke Tangiora.

Government is required to respond to recommendations in select committee reports on petitions within 90 days. If the new Parliament reinstates the petition as an item of business the 90 day period starts again from the point at which it stopped. At 3 October, 46 days of the 90 day response time had lasped. The proposed Government response will be ready for consideration by Cabinet prior to the end of the 2008 calendar year.

Treaty of Waitangi Settlement Legislation

Port Nicholson Block (Taranaki Whānui ki Te upoko o Te Ika) Claims Settlement Bill

Referred to the Māori Affairs Committee

Purpose

To give effect to the deed of settlement in which the Crown and Taranaki Whānui ki Te upoko o Te Ika agree to a final settlement of historical claims.

Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Claims (Waikato River) Settlement Bill

Referred to the Māori Affairs Committee

Purpose

To give effect to the Deed of Settlement and Kingitanga Accord between the Crown and Waikato-Tainui

Foreshore and Seabed Settlement Legislation

Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill

Awaiting first reading

Purpose

To give effect to the Deed of Agreement between ngā hapū o Ngāti Porou and the Crown with respect to Foreshore and Seabed.

Other Legislation Related to the Māori Affairs Portfolio

Settlement legislation before Parliament at the time of dissolution is listed on the preceed-ing pages for your information. These Bills are relevant to the Māori Affairs portfolio, and have been supported by the Minister of Māori Affairs and Te Puni Kōkiri, but are the principal responsibility of the Minister in Charge of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. Decisions on reinstatement of these Bills will be led by the responsible Minister.

There is a wide range of other legislation at various Parliamentary stages that will similarly require decisions regarding reinstatement, which will be led by the Ministers with principal responsibility for those Bills. The Ministry will furnish advice on these Bills as required.

Cabinet Requirements

There are a small number of matters which have Cabinet reporting requirements prior to the end of March 2009. These are listed in the table on the next page.

Appointments

The Minister of Māori Affairs is responsible for a number of appointments on behalf of Government. There are a two key appoint-ments that the Ministry recommends are progressed as quickly as possible, and a number of other vacancies which are less urgent to progress.

As a consequence of the appointment of the Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court to the High Court in September 2008, there are now vacancies in the offices of the Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court and Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal. Both of these positions are currently filled in an acting capacity by the Deputy Chief Judge and the Deputy Chairperson respectively. A separate briefing will be provided on the process for filling these positions.

Other vacancies which require the early attention of the Incoming Minister are two vacancies on the Board of Te Māngai Pāho, and one vacancy on the Poutama Trust.

A full list of appointments for which the Minister of Māori Affairs is responsible is provided in the next section.

Cabinet Requirements Prior to the end of March 2009

Information has been withheld under section 9(2)(f)(iv) to maintain constitutional conventions as decisions have yet to be taken by Ministers.

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